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. Ryan

    It's amazing that some of the posters here do no see the irony of all this... Sure, BP's recklessness caused the oil spill, but it's the demands the public put on the oil industry that drove them to make such careless & hasty decisions.

    July 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick

      What is truly amazing Ryan is an idiot like you can use a computer!

      July 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Wow, way to go Dick. You're a real winner there.

      July 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      listen to yourself. Wow, you are parroting the dumbest retort heard during this awful disaster.

      July 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steven

    Attention- All communist, socialist and most liberals. 2 bullets to the chest, one to the head.
    Freedom baby. Your old ideaologies are all dead, you just need to die with them.:)

    July 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Now that is funny... I hope you don't have any Canadian friends. If you do, then you might want to invest in a bullet proof vest and a kevlar helmet.

      July 11, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ken in NC

    It's so sad to see so many haters at a time when we should be uniting as a nation and a people to fight this problem. The Blue Angels are the presence that has protected so many of our service people. I don't think you will find one of them that will tell you they regretted having one of them to fly over and send the enemy on to his appointed meeting with his 72 virgins. These Air Force Officers are our representatives and they deserve our support and respect. I remember how troops were treated after returning from Viet Nam and it was so horrible. Please do not start this again to the people that insure our ability to have a safe nights sleep. These people would give their lives for us to remain safe. Even if you cannot support them please give them the respect they so richly deserve.

    July 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Ken, I have no problem with giving Blue Angels the respect they deserve, although they train for show only not for the combat. All I am saying is that in times like this, we can't afford silly air shows. We and BP should be directing all combined resources to stop this disaster, not to spend it on silliness. This oil spill will cause way more economic destruction to this country and the world than twenty 9/11s. It's time to wake up, stop this talk about supporting our troops...it's time for the US troops to come back from all around the world and start working here to protect us from the biggest catastrophe ever known to human race. Forget terrorists, the enemy is the oil in the gulf.

      July 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      No one is attacking the people flying the planes, just the reasons why they are being flown. Most of the people arguing against this on here aren't even disregarding the military as important in any way, just the wasteful use of oil that has been portrayed by them. Especially after something like the Gulf Coast receiving the worst oil slick in our nation's history. That just doesn't make much sense! We don't need our military to be flexing their arms in front of us anymore (as some other posters here continue to argue). I have two cousins and a handful of friends in the armed forces, I would never think of disrespecting either them or a complete stranger that is enlisted. But again, that's not the argument at hand here.

      July 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anni

      Ken, I think everyone loves and supports the Blue Angels. However, this was an opportunity to lead and demonstrate what we are learning and our serious commitment to alternative energies. Perhaps it would have been better to have the Blue Angels on the ground with a sign stating how much fuel was saved by NOT flying in the air show. We already know they are the kings of cool, now be even cooler by staying on the ground and showing support for energy independence.

      July 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick

      The Blue Angels are Navy Aviators.

      July 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken in NC

      Peter,, Ryan and Anni, you all have very valid points. Thanks and Dick I stand corrected on the Navy Aviators. I guess I spent to much time in the sun today. I can tell you this Dick, when an air craft flys over head and dispatches your enemy it makes no difference id they are Marine, Air Force, Air Force or Granny Barn Stormers. You are one thankful bunch of guys.

      July 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Liz

    Just to clarify, this show was not put on to make people happy because of the oil spill. This has been a yearly event for many years. It pulls in thousands of people/tourists from around the US/World for a week solid. These shows are a staple to the local economy. I'm not going to make any political judgements...just telling it like it is.

    July 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      It's also a good demonstration on American's reluctancy to change when being supplied with countless reasons to do so...

      July 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Dave

      First, ther eis no such word as "reluctancy." It's "reluctance." Second, there are more reasons to keep the Blue Angels flying than there are to make them quit: they are an excellent recruitment tool for the Navy, without which America would face many more terrorist attacks and threats; they are trained combat pilots who would be flying anyway, to keep their skills up, so why not have them do PR while they are in the air anyway; they are based at Pensacola NAS, which is a considerable source of pride (and income) to the area; and last, it's an amazing thing to watch. Tell ya what: try to shut down NASCAR. Those cars must use at least as much gas as the Blues do. Then remove all of the money spent on advertising, NASCAR merchandise, and ticket sales from the economy. Oh, and let's not forget the thousands that work at the racetracks, sports networks, and magazines. They're out of a job.

      I can think of only one reason to shut down the Blue Angels, and about fifty reasons to keep them. I think you're on the fuzzy end of the lollipop on this one.

      July 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anni

      @ Dave – I don't believe anyone thinks "shutting down" the Blue Angles is a good idea, nor has anyone suggested it.

      July 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Dave

      @Anni: This is a quote from "stopstopstop," above:

      "Blue Angels fighter jets = gas hogs and war mongers. It's the perfect image of the depravity of the human race: Bumbed out by the massive oil spill they seek the thrill of watching war jets suck up more oil than hundreds of cars and trucks ever could. Calling them angels is like christening a warship The Body of Christ (and they tried that once). It's all quite nauseating."

      Sounds like the person who wrote this thinks the Blue Angels aren't such a great idea.

      July 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dick

    World cup update, Spain just scored!

    July 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dick

    LET THE SANGRIA FLOW, SPAIN HAS WON THE WORLD CUP!!!!

    July 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken in NC

    Spain got the WORLD CUP but I got the wine and the women and I ain't giving up either hehehe.

    July 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good

      Good for you. Stick the bottle up your a55 and make the women laugh.

      July 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Guest

    agreed, it's the wrong venue to feel good about the Oil Spill. Jets (military = wars for oil) powered by jet fuel (oil based product).

    Now, if they were solar or hydrogen powered craft, or better, anti-gravity, now that might make me feel better.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lalaena

    I saw the Blue Angels practice on Thursday. I've never been to an air show, and never really had the desire to see one. But for me, it was nothing short of spectacular. People who want to call it a trashy show can have their opinions, but the skill that it takes to accomplish their aerial stunts is pretty impressive. You see these planes come out of nowhere and you feel pretty good about our armed forces, about what they're bringing to the table in wars and conflicts. And as far as bringing people to Pensacola, it should be noted that while the media reports that oil and tar have ruined the beaches there, the beaches were open and clean that weekend. Yes, there are bad days. But there are good days, too, and the economy along the Gulf Coast needs people to remember that.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Disgruntled

    So the argument is the Blue Angels is a waste of time and resources. Okay, I can see the validity in that argument. However it's apparent this nation needs something to boost the morale and raise spirits. Since the Blue Angles are based out of Pensacola, it makes sense that they performed to help do exactly that for their local Gulf Coast inhabitants; regardless if it was scheduled or not. Can we just stop using fossil fuels overnight? No we can't. But for now we must depend on what we have available. And I guarantee it helped remind the folks in the Gulf that you can look up in the sky and be amazed and children can be inspired to do great things. Additionally, as was mentioned previously, to provide a great sense of patriotism knowing that our military has the capabilities to keep us safe; as well as the humanity to keep our spirits alive.

    On the other hand, in response to the monster truck show in the sky; what would be a suitable alternative that would provide similiar results and have the same effect on the populous? Have the communities walk to a local field and watch cows munch on gas? I am not saying that the arguments are not valid; but instead of taking a one-sided approach and complaining; come up with a suitable alternative that would provide the same results.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I for one did not see this show so my spirits were not raised. They actually were lowered after I saw this story. Yes maybe it raised some spirits in florida, but like everyone else that has been complaining, it is about this story and it's notion that we should forget about this crisis. Especially with another extreme. I just felt this story was in bad taste and could have been reported differently. If it had no mention or correlation to the oil spill there probably wouldn't be any comments on this story!!!

      But in answer to your call to provide a better solution than the Blue Angels: Send out everyone in the National Gaurd that is still based in the U.S.to help with the clean up. That would raise my spirits!! While also showing our military strength and organization to cope with and solve a problem staring us in the face!

      July 11, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Guest

    what are you talking about? People who don't care for militaristic displays of power (very popular in China and Russia – both Communist countries) are communist and don't like freedom.

    Try thinking for yourself. You are just parroting what others have said.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jonchong

    Noticeable that cnn is trilled for people to take their minds off of the real problems and probably trilled to see so many commenters talking negatively about a top notch flying team from our military because of their participation of taking attention away from something that actually needs constant attention.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. EWR

    INTERESTING TO NOTE ALL THE TALK OF FUEL HERE. AS A LOCAL RESIDENT I WITNESSED THE AUTO TREK TO THE BEACH..THOUSANDS OF CARS IN VIRTUAL GRIDLOCK ACROSS THE BRIDGE FROM PENSACOLA THRU GULF BREEZE AND ACROSS ANOTHER BRIDGE TO THE BEACH WHERE THEN TOLL GATE KEPT GOING UP AND DOWN COLLECTING A BUCK FROM EACH CAR. THEN THE PEOPLE WERE FACED WITH NO WHERE TO PARK. LOTS OF PEOPLE WATCHED THE SHOW FROM THEIR CARS IN GRIDLOCK WHILE KEEPING THE A/C GOING IN THE CAR. WASTED FUEL???

    July 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hmmmm.

    'aviation aerobatics team' Nice editing, or were you trying to be redundant? Or is there an nautical aerobatics team somewhere?

    July 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      You mean you have never seen the dancing subs!!!!!

      July 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. brainbow

    Yes, because if ANYTHING the people need to forget about the oil spill. That annoying little thing. Brushing it away for the afternoon makes all our problems better 😀

    July 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
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