An open ramp event at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station took place on Friday night, ahead of the National Cherry Festival.
Thousands came out to get an up close look at the aircraft here for the much anticipated air shows this weekend.
They also got to mingle with crew members.
9&10’s Whitney Amann was on the ground to see what’s going to soon soar above the bay.
“They’ve been so engaging so they’ve been really wonderful,” said Michelle Murphy.
You can see and hear them in the sky but tonight people at the U.S. Coast Guard Station got a chance to meet crews and see the aircraft up close.
“It’s been wonderful to actually get close to the airplanes and the pilots and to thank them, the Coast Guard, for all that they do for Traverse City,” said Michelle.
“It’s so neat to just say thank you and see them up close and personal and put the faces with the machines is really neat,” said Mark Murphy.
People mingled with crew members from the Air Force Thunderbirds, Navy, Canadian Armed Forces and many others.
These visitors came from all over, including Colorado.
“I think the Thunderbirds, I kind of liked checking out them jets, they look like a good bunch of guys, they’re all signing autographs, good for the kids,” said Ricky Belvin.
“Oh my gosh it was incredible, especially for our son who just loves it, so it was really cool to see it close in person and how big it is and its extraordinary,” said Amber Belvin.
“Big,” said Beau Belvin.
“Cool and big and confusing,” said Hannah Belvin.
Others reminisced, including Harvey Hanna who was a pilot in the Navy for 20 years.
“It was a great experience, the hardest part about serving is obviously being deployed away from your family but being in a squadron is like brotherhood or like your own built in family and that’s one of the main things that I miss,” said Harvey.
The Royal Canadian Air Force was also there and they will fly this weekend in the air show as well.
“This is our first time in Traverse City, I’ve been to the states before traveling through a little bit but so far it’s been excellent and we can’t wait to explore the town tonight and tomorrow night,” said Robert Teremchuck, a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force.