By MICHELLE MERLIN
---- — TRAVERSE CITY--The U.S. Navy-trained Blue Angels will grace the sky over Traverse City at next summer's National Cherry Festival.
The U.S. Navy and Marine flight demonstration team performed at the festival every other year for the last 20 years. The exception was 2012, when they were booked for a War of 1812 commemoration.
The team will show off their flying precision on the festival’s kickoff weekend: July 5-6.
“When we see the jets in Traverse City, it’s an amazing spectacle to see that level of precision, especially among those protecting our country,” said Trevor Tkach, the executive director of the festival. “I think it’s a feeling on two levels: one is entertainment value and another is pride and respect for our military.”
Blue Angel performances typically boost festival attendance.
“We do know there’s certainly an increase in attendance on Blue Angel years to the degree that we see lots and lots of people on beaches and outside of festival grounds in addition to packed open space,” Susan Wilcox Olson, the Cherry Festival media and marketing manager, said.
Tkach was relieved to hear that the team would be available to fly during the festival after federal budget cuts grounded them earlier this year
The Blue Angels will perform at around 1 p.m. They will also fly in a practice show on July 4.