By Jim Tortolano
The second annual Breitling Huntington Beach Air Show started off cold and warmed up nicely. After Friday’s practice flights in the beach and pier area were scratched due to fog, the haze lifted Saturday and by Sunday the downtown area and three local beaches were packed with spectators peering skyward to see aerial acrobatics of the first order.
Breitling, a Swiss manufacturer of luxury watches, lent its name to the exhibition, featuring the Navy Blue Angels, the Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds and other airborne performers such as Breitling’s own aircraft.
But the event – which last year was viewed by crowds estimated from 250,000 to 560,000 people – didn’t begin or end in the air or on the sand. Several blocks of Main Street from Pacific Coast Highway north were closed off to automobile traffic, and the curbs were lined with displays, vehicles and booths related to aviation and the military.
Recruiters from the various military services were on had to pass out literature and answer questions, and operate attractions where spectators shot baskets or threw footballs for a chance to win a coffee mug or other prizes.
A report on the show – including an estimate of attendance – will be presented to the Huntington Beach City Council on Monday night. The show, while popular, had some problems in its inaugural run in 2016.
Show organizer Air Support LLC said it lost $395,000 last year as a combination of sponsor shortfall and costs charged by the city for public safety and public works assistance.
An increase in the cost of parking in city-owned lots was approved by the council – with the revenue going to the sponsor – and an increase in sponsorship fees by Breitling of $100,000 are in place this year to help close that gap.
Categories: Huntington Beach