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.