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U.S. Navy's Blue Angels to return for first civilian air show in Brunswick

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U.S. Navy's Blue Angels to return for first civilian air show in Brunswick

BRUNSWICK — The U.S. Navy may be gone, but the Blue Angels and other airborne acrobats are coming back for Brunswick Landing's first civilian air show Aug. 26-28.

"It's the same airshow people have come to know and love," said Marty McMahon, aviation services manager for the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which oversees economic development at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

But there is one key difference: admission to this year's Great State of Maine Air Show won't be free.

In the past, the Navy sponsored the show, which was considered an open house and promotional event for the military. But now, MRRA is footing the bill and asking attendees to buy tickets.

Admission to the Saturday and Sunday sessions is $15 in advance or $20 at the gate for adults, and $10 in advance/$15 at the gate for children 12 and under and seniors. Friday-night tickets are $5 less expensive.

McMahon said he surveyed every airshow in the country with a military jet display to get a sense of ticket prices, and set Brunswick's prices well below average.

"We really tried our hardest to keep our ticket prices just as low as possible," he said. "We want to keep it as a family event and make sure that families can afford to come."

McMahon also promised there will be reasonably priced food and drinks.

"We probably took a hit on our overall revenue, but in order to keep it a family event and keep prices down, we wanted a lower cost to the consumer concessionaire," he explained.

Other than the ticket price, the Friday night events are also different than in years past.

On Friday, the Army's Golden Knight parachute team will skydive against a backdrop of fireworks. Other night performers include Julie Clark, who also flies among the fireworks, and Elton Wells' Starjammer, which is equipped with LED lights, smoke and massive on-board loudspeakers.

On Saturday and Sunday, gates open at 8 a.m. and the shows begins at 10 a.m. with another jump by the Golden Knights. Over the course of the day, various military aircraft will take to the skies, as will stunt fliers like the Geico Skytypers, who etch messages in the sky with their contrails.

The Navy's Blue Angels, who fly and do stunts in tight formation just under the speed of sound, will headline the Saturday and Sunday shows.

While many of the performers are the same as in years past, the events on the ground are different now that the former Navy base is a civilian airport. MRRA is hosting a Business Aviation Expo to showcase the Brunswick Executive Airport and aviation in Maine.

In between performances, spectators will be able to check out a flight simulator and several parked military and civilian aircraft.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.