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Airshow & Boater Information

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

The National Cherry Festival welcomes back the U.S. Navy Blue Angels July 2 & July 3, 2022! The airshow starts at 1pm with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels taking to the sky at approximately 3pm.

About the Blue Angels: In 1946, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public's interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. In the 1940's, we thrilled audiences with our precision combat maneuvers in the F6 Hellcat, the F8 Bearcat and the F9 Panther. During the 1950's, we refined our demonstration with aerobatic maneuvers in the F9 Cougar and F-11 Tiger and introduced the first six-plane delta formation, still flown to this day. By the end of the 1960's, we were flying the F-4 Phantom, the only two seat aircraft flown by the delta formation. In 1974, we transitioned to the A-4 Skyhawk, a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration. In 1986, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary by unveiling the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. In 2021, we transitioned to our current aircraft the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and celebrated our 75th anniversary.

In 1949, it became necessary for the Blue Angels to operate a support aircraft to move personnel and equipment between show sites. These support aircraft including the Douglas R4D Sky Train, the Curtiss R5C Commando, the Douglas R5D Skymaster, and the Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation. In 1970 the team received the Lockheed Martin C-130, affectionately known as "Fat Albert." In 2020, "Fat Albert" transitioned to its current platform, the C-130J Super Hercules.

*Photos Courtesy of Gary Ennis

National Cherry Festival Welcomes

US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City demonstrates search and rescue used on the Great Lakes. The National Cherry Festival is proud to be located in a Coast Guard City and is thankful for the support of the USCG.

Enjoy the FREE Airshow along the beaches of West Grand Traverse Bay or join us for one of our Foodie Events!

Thank you to our Air Show Sponsors!

Northern Michigan Toyota Dealers 2022
Cherry Capital Airport
NMC Aviation Division
Aces Marine & Salvage 2022
AV Flight
Sam's Club
WTCM GOLD AM 1310 - 2022
UpNorthLive 2022

Boater & Air Show Frequently Asked Questions


Safety is the primary concern of the National Cherry Festival, United States Coast Guard and the Grand Traverse Veterans Coalition. The U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes Marine Sector, in cooperation with the FAA, has issued a Marine Permit that authorizes restrictions on boating during these events. We will make every effort to minimize any inconvenience these restrictions may cause you.

Patrol vessels from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Grand Traverse County Sheriff Marine Patrol, Leelanau County Sheriff Marine Patrol, and Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol and Power Squadron will enforce restricted areas.
The time frame for these restrictions may change slightly from these published times. Please listen for all Notice to Mariners broadcasts from the U.S. Coast Guard on Channel 16.

We appreciate your cooperation and hope you enjoy these events from your boat.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires areas under an aerobatic box to be clear of all spectators. These restrictions protect the spectators and help eliminate distractions to the air show performers. The restricted area will be marked by orange and white buoys and will be patrolled. The patrol vessels will begin to move boaters out of the area beginning at approximately 11:30 am and we anticipate the area to be closed to all vessels from 12:30 p.m. until about 3:30 p.m. each day. This restriction includes transiting vessels. If you intend to move north or south of the restricted area you must be in position before 12:30 p.m. and will not be able to return until after 3:30 p.m. Please listen to Notice to Mariner broadcasts concerning the restrictions on channel 16.

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