July 11th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

For one Gulf Coast town, Angels cure oil blues

Angels flying around Pensacola Beach, Florida, this weekend helped the locals forget about the problems created by the oil that is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The Navy's aviation aerobatics team, the Blue Angels performed at their annual hometown air show.

Local resident James Woodson and his wife joined the large crowd that came to the beach to see the Blues perform. "With the crowds out here like this it kinda makes you forget about the oil for just this little time, " said Woodson adding, "We know it's a great problem but it kinda makes you forget about it for right now."

Forgetting about the oil spill is exactly what tourism officials hoped would happen. There were extra clean-up crews that worked throughout the night picking up tarballs that were washed on shore.

The extra effort paid off, even 9-year-old Bayleigh Critchfield noticed how white the sand looked. "I thought there was going to be like tons of oil because I thought they weren't going to do the air show but it's clean so far to me. And I believe they did a very good job cleaning it," she said.

Businesses in the area also cleaned up with revenues associated with the show, soaring to about $25 million, according to Ed Schroeder of the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. When the Blues fly in their backyard it is the biggest tourism weekend of the year for this Gulf Coast beach town, which saw a 25% decline in business the weekend before, July 4th.

"If they fly the people will be here," says Schroeder. Here the crowds came and those that did will tell you that the Angels, at least for the day, took away their oil blues.

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. GAM

    Americans are just a wee bit responsible for our own troubles, don't you think? It bothers me, after having lived abroad
    for 30 years, that you who live in the States aren't quite able to see the effect American actions have on the whole
    planet.GA

    July 12, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. JBIRD11

    Shame on all you tree huggers, this was an article about uplifting the spirits of some really struggling Americans.If these galiant pilots were not flying in this air show,they would be flying somewhere else,using this fuel keeping you free.The fuel they use is a small price to pay so you can get on here and spread your disease.If you want to rant and throw a tantrum about wasted fuel,START YOUR OWN BLOG, oh wait no one would click to read that, now would they?

    July 12, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brittany

    All of the negative comments show me that there is a lack of understanding here. I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. The Blue Angels are the pride of our city, they have help raise my sprits and the sprit of pensacolians on more thatn one occasion. So for people to comment and call it a "redneck sky rodeo" is beyond cruel. If this story rubs you the wrong way, why even waste your time to comment in the first place? I'm sure everyone has things that they like to do that lift their spirits and are the pride of their hometown and they would want somebody who has no clue what their talking about cutting it down. So lets just try to be respectful, ok?

    July 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
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