BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — The Great State of Maine Air Show returned to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station with the Navy Blue Angels and other top flying acts on Saturday.
Organizers expect 40,000 to 50,000 spectators over two days to watch the Navy flight demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight and the U.S. Special Operations Command parachute team, along with a host of other military and civilian pilots.
The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is looking forward to showing off the facility, now known as Brunswick Landing and Brunswick Executive Airport.
It's been six years since the Navy base closed, and already there are 110 companies and 1,400 civilian employees on the property, said Steve Levesque, executive director.
"We are about double our projections as far as job creation," he said.
The event dovetails with efforts to create aeronautical jobs. The property is home to 11 aviation-related companies, including three that either make or overhaul aircraft, he said.
The air show remains a major undertaking.
Taxpayers picked up the tab and the Navy provided hundreds of sailors to run the event when the property was an active-duty Navy base. Back then, the event was free to the public. These days, the redevelopment authority hires a vendor to run the show, and there's paid admission.
The air shows go way back in Brunswick. The first air show featuring the Navy Blue Angels coincided with a visit to Maine by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.