PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Every year, rain or shine, thousands flock to get a glimpse of the Blue Angels soaring through the sky.
Some civilians even have the chance to ride with a pilot to test the maneuvers themselves.
New budget cuts throughout the military threaten to ground the planes for 2013, including the Pensacola Beach show on July 13. That loss could hit the Gulf Coast hard.
Buck Lee, executive director with the Santa Rosa Island Authority hopes to make sure it doesn't go anywhere.
"It's a huge loss to our businesses out here. We have people from all over, including Mobile, Greenville and Montgomery; plus, the locals that drive in and spend multiple nights. it's the biggest weekend on Pensacola Beach," said Lee.
He says the group, which already pays $6,000 for jet fuel during the beach show, is working to raise money.
"Let's say the air show costs $150,000, the Santa Rosa Island Authority may come up with all of it or some of it. We may go get sponsors to do it. The businesses around our area would want their names associated with the Blue Angels and to make sure they have this go on for our community," Lee said.
Lee says he's writing letters to military officials this week asking if they could pay for the jets to practice over Pensacola Beach.
Officials have also considered scheduling civilian air shows in place of the Blue Angels show.
Locals say they've seen firsthand what the Blues do for the area. They say while the economy would be affected, the local morale would take a hit as well.
Paul Horn was in the Army's parachute team, the Golden Knights. He parachuted out of the Blue Angels opening act, Fat Albert.
"They are inspirational. It's a recruiting tool to encourage men and women to join the services and have higher goals," said Horn.
Lee says the Blue Angels are very important to people in the area.
"I have people my age and people younger, when the Blues fly over you get chill bumps. That's the way it's supposed to be if you're a true believer in the United States of America," Lee said.
The trial for Giuseppe Pino LoPorto continues today in Baldwin County. LoPorto, now 80-years-old, faces several sex abuse charges against a child dating back to the early 90s.
FOX10 News has learned William "Eddie" Patrick, captain of Mobile's First police precinct, has been demoted following an internal investigation.
Pastor of Lifeway Community Church Mike McPherson says thieves stole presents that would have been given to needy children.
A man who bought a bicycle three weeks ago finds out it was originally stolen, according to the original owner who reported it missing in October.
If you were in the Foley area Thursday, you may have seen a helicopter, police and K-9 units. That’s because a store in Foley was robbed this morning at gunpoint. Eventually, the search was called off. The suspect is still on the loose.
Skies are mostly clear and the breezy north wind is very noticeable this evening. Daytime highs were only in the mid 50’s today. We are expecting a light freeze tonight along and north of I-10. Lows will be near 32 degrees in Mobile. Upper 20’s are possible well inland.