Thunderbirds Headline Scaled-Back OC Air Show

The good news: Ocean City’s annual air show will go on in the skies over the beach and boardwalk this weekend, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bad news: the ticketed areas planned for prime viewing won’t be available, nor will the parachute landing zone on the beach or the loudspeaker that provides commentary to the crowd.

The OC Air Show was originally scheduled for June, then rescheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, August 15 and 16 . Among many adjustments, organizers came up with a novel plan for ticketed, reserved spaces on the beach called “Sand Boxes” available for at-risk or elderly guests, complete with umbrellas and chairs.

Just a week before the show was set to begin, local media reports that the air show’s ticketed events were found to violate state social-distancing regulations. So organizers have canceled all ticketed VIP experiences.

Instead, they’re encouraging everyone to sit back and watch the show from their own slice of Ocean City beachside, pointing out, “The stage for the air show is 10 miles wide and 1,000 feet high, so spread out!”

The air show is also doubling down on a “multi-camera sporting event-style broadcast” with narration so that people can see the action and hear the announcers from anywhere in Ocean City, or virtually from anywhere at all (AirDotShow Livestream). For a text feed version of the narration, beachgoers can follow @ocairshow on Twitter.

While the viewing options are more limited than they were shaping up to be a month ago, the show itself should be spectacular. In addition to the yearly highlight, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, three Air Force fighter jet demonstration teams will perform in one of the first air shows to ever feature the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lighting II and A-10 Thunderbolt II at the same event.

The OC Air Show reminds everyone that the Town of Ocean City requires everyone to wear a mask on the boardwalk, while masks are optional for those sitting on the beach, separated from others. The show will be selling masks and hand sanitizer.

-Meg Walburn Viviano