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A major outdoor event is flying into Buffalo next month.
The famed U.S. Navy Blue Angels will celebrate their 75th anniversary, along with many other military and civilian aircraft hitting the skies right over Lake Erie as part of the Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront Air Show at the Outer Harbor.
"The thought of bringing it down here to Buffalo really excited myself and my planning team, because we know the backdrop here is incredible," said Ben Canetti, a pilot and the air show's director.
The air show was supposed to be held at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base as the Thunder of Niagara, but was initially canceled because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. With space available along the Outer Harbor for social distancing, the event is back on at its new location June 19-20.
"The biggest task for us was to give a plan that would be safe and adhere to COVID protocols, so the fact that New York State and the county signed off on it, I think we did a pretty darn good job," Canetti said.
There will be two types of tickets. Reserved VIP seating in blocks of two or four right along the water's edge start at $139. There's also a drive-in ticket option where you can pull-up with your vehicle and watch next to it starting at $149. Tickets go on sale Friday online. A limited number will be available for the two-day event to allow for social distancing. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park's "Save the Sullivans" effort.
It's the first large-scale event like this at the waterfront since the pandemic began — and a possible sign of things to come.
"Not to put the pressure on us, but if we do this successfully we should be somewhat of a benchmark for other events in Western New York," Canetti said.