At a special event, prior to the Saturday/Sunday show, John Vanbiesbrouck, the goalie for the Florida Panther's ice-hockey team, was chosen as the lucky celebrity to fly with the Thunderbirds. He was briefed, suited up and off he went into the clouds. His family, hands covering their ears to tone down the thunderous roar of the engines, watched as he zoomed off into the sky. He was all smiles as he touched down, exhilarated from the excitement but delighted to be on firm ground again.
When it was "show time", the water skiiers did their water ballet, the hovercraft ran back and forth along the water's edge, the Sea-Doe's sprayed water on the swimmers along the beachfront, the underwater submarines went under and raced, the hang-gliders soared in front of the crowds, the motorized parachutes traveled all along the beach and the skies were filled with the thunderous roar of plane engines and an array of aircraft that, at times, seemed suspended in the air.
There was so much to see and enjoy. Though the crowds on the beach were thick with people, chairs, blankets and sun umbrellas, there was room for everyone on the three mile stretch of sand. Roads had been blocked off for comfortable pedestrian traffic. Food stands were everywhere, selling every imaginable kind of food. What we liked best was the full ear of corn, served with its husk still attached and the Crystal Springs Water online skaters rolling by spraying the warm spectators with refreshing cool water.
© 1997 Alese & Morton Pechter
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