The Blue Angels air show makes its triumphant return the week of May 24, 2021. USNA Photo.

Blue Angels Return to Annapolis: How & Where to Watch

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … no, it’s the return of the Navy Blue Angels air show to celebrate Naval Academy Commissioning Week—a beloved Annapolis tradition we lost in 2020 due to the pandemic.

A press release from the City of Annapolis warns that “city residents and visitors should expect heavy traffic, temporary road and bridge closures, parking limitations, maritime traffic restrictions and increased security in addition to COVID-19 pandemic precautions and restrictions” during the week of May 24.

Despite the minor inconveniences, locals, visitors, and boaters have come to look forward to the week leading up to the U.S. Naval Academy’s commissioning ceremony—especially the flight demonstration squad practicing and performing their hold-your-breath maneuvers.

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“There’s nothing like hearing the Blue Angels overhead in Annapolis,” Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Executive Director Kristen Pironis told Bay Bulletin. “We are delighted to welcome back the Blue Angels flight demonstration. It’s a much-anticipated tradition that brings residents and visitors together in a celebration and recognition of the naval service, the Academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen — especially the graduating class.” 

Of course, the Angels’ return takes on added significance this year.

“As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, this year’s event also stands as a sign of hope that summer and beyond will mark the return of many of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County’s favorite traditions and events,” said Pironis. “By following safety precautions and adhering to safety protocols these many months, our residents and businesses have helped pave the way for a robust season that welcomes visitors and demonstrates to all what a resilient people and community we are.”

With that, here’s what you need to know to watch the Blue Angels safely and soundly, as well as loudly, from land or sea this year – plus avoid as much traffic as possible.

WHEN TO WATCH

Tuesday, May 25: Arrival between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a flight demonstration at 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 26: Flight demonstration at 2:00 p.m.

Friday, May 28: Flyover during USNA commissioning ceremony.

WHERE TO WATCH

While the USNA Yard will remain closed to the public, popular spots include anywhere and everywhere close to the Severn River—homeowners’ yards and rooftops, the Maryland World War II Memorial overlooking the Route 450 Bridge, or the many dead end streets of downtown Annapolis and Eastport—and of course from the water itself.

WHAT’S CLOSED

Tuesday, May 25: Route 450 (Naval Academy) Bridge from 10:45 a.m. until approximately 3:45 p.m.

Wednesday, May 26: Naval Academy Bridge from approximately 1:45 p.m. until approximately 4 p.m.

ON-WATER RESTRICTIONS 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, anchoring or boating will not be allowed between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. from north of the flashing light at the south end of the Naval Academy’s seawall to Greenbury Point and south of a line marked by the Severn River bridge.

In addition, public safety boats will be on patrol to enforce exclusionary zones and the temporary channel.

COVID PRECAUTIONS

Annapolis remains under a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, although the outdoor mask mandate has been lifted, visitors and residents should be prepared to wear masks in the event that physical distance cannot be maintained, according to the press release. 

And please enjoy the show!

Steve Adams