Sea & Sky Jax - What a fabulous Florida autumn weekend! I knew it was going to be a significantly large event in Jax Beach, with preparations starting weeks in advance here on the First Coast. And with countless banners on every street corner, reminding us of the festivities any which way in town we looked. Then, as the event finally arrived, I realized, and made my own determination and educated guess, that this was the single biggest event I’ve been able to witness since moving here a few years back.
So many people came to The Beaches community to see all the sights that there was off-site parking, and lots of shuttles moving people all around. In fact, even the off-site parking and shuttle service reached their capacity on Saturday. Everyone had to see this event - and it was definitely worth the trek for those who came from far away.
I have never seen the local community or the beach itself this populated, and that includes on various 4th of July festivities. And Jax, Neptune, and Atlantic Beach sure know how to pull off a festive 4th! 1st Street is always closed off on Independence Day, with an unofficial/official bike parade, and various bounce houses, hoses and sprinklers running, coolers full of fun and cold drinks that everyone shares with their neighbors, and front yard parties, galore. And this weekend definitely made me think of the 4th in Jax.
It was the event of events here at the beach, and I’m extremely grateful to have had my very own front seat to all the action - never even having to get in the car once to witness all the excitement. Living in downtown Jax Beach offers many perks, and this was definitely one of the best. And while the show took place both on Saturday and Sunday - living right in the midst of it all offered me a unique perspective.
On Thursday and Friday of this past week, all the various styles of airplanes took many practice runs of the Sky portion of the show. And I must admit that this part of the entire experience was somewhat even more exciting to me than the actual show. I got to see it all, before all the massive crowds of people did… And not knowing what the practice schedule consisted of, I really had no idea what was coming next through the Sky.
Another individual who, for certain, had no idea what was going to happen next, was my dog - Madeline. To her, I think she must have thought that World War III had started and that the literal end of life on Earth had arrived in Jacksonville, Florida. She was absolutely and utterly terrified, and I made the smart decision of keeping her home and inside all weekend. I know we could have had a lost dog if I didn’t do just that.
And at times, the planes roaring through the air at lightning fast speed did sound like it was the end of the world. There were various moments that, due to the cloudy and overcast gray sky, the planes and the smoke they dispersed were camouflaged in to the atmosphere. Add to that, the strange sounds and echoes bouncing off all the buildings as the planes passed overhead, and all this equated to me not knowing where the planes were coming from at any given moment. It definitely was like missiles shooting through the sky. Yes, a war - of pure excitement and thrill - flying overhead.
A mix of some Florida afternoon rain, and then pops of Florida sun - the Blue Angels took to the skies about a half hour late for Saturday’s show. They flew through a massive rainbow shining above the Sea. It was breathtaking to witness, and my iPhone camera would not capture the scene at all, and what it did attempt to capture did not do the rainbow any justice whatsoever. The light and bright and delicate colors floating over the salty water were merely a mirage, and if you blinked, you might miss it.
I’ve never seen more rainbows in my life than I have in the few years I’ve lived here in the land of endless summer - the Sunshine State. And each one is as special as the next; but this rainbow was most stunning and breathtaking with the Blue Angels flying above and through it and coming right at me.
All of the excitement was absolutely and utterly fascinating to watch, and to see it all take place, at home. I could only imagine, myself not knowing too much about these fancy planes at all, what this event means to someone who is in the business, in the military, or flies for hobby etc. And all the little children running around in the sand with their souvenir toy model versions of the Blue Angels, with dreams of piloting these speculator machines when they grow up… young and old alike were equally fascinated by this most exciting of spectacles.
The only thing I know and understand about these planes for certain is that they are awesome. Pure and simple. The entire experience - of witnessing the massive beast of its engine roar, in all its power, flying overhead, in coordination, and so close together it appears from the ground that a mere piece of string could connect the planes quite easily. The dedication, teamwork, the best technology on the planet, all in coordination. All of that at its absolute best, on display for all to see. And it was a free show!
At one point, while my husband was out shooting these photos, he was interviewed by a Youtuber; I found this hilarious. If only we knew, as my hubby of course failed to inquire, which channel interviewed him, I could watch what he said to the internet vlog world about his personal experience with Sea & Sky Jax.
Sadly, Sea & Sky weekend is now over, and won’t be back in Jax Beach for a few more years. The location of this show rotates, and goes to NAS Jax as well.
And now that things are calming down in our household and returning to normal for Madeline and all her fellow dogs in town - she doesn’t quite know or realize that Halloween is next on the agenda this week. It’s a big and chaotic week indeed in the life and mind of a small and sensitive little pooch. But it was a most exciting weekend of weekends for us spectating humans… looking up to the Sky, and out toward the Sea - with our feet in the Sand. ~
[ *Editorial Note: All published photos of Sea & Sky Jax are provided by my hubby - Bryan Pieper of www.BEPREADY.com ]
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