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Record number of fans welcome Blues back home

NAS PENSACOLA  --  A record crowd of nearly 26,000 people turned out to see the Blue Angels fly today.
The Flight Demonstration Team held their first public practice of 2014 aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola this morning.

The last year has been a dark time for Blue Angels fans.
But today here at the base they finally got what they wanted.
It was only a practice, but the Blues put on a great show complete with death-defying near misses and fly-bys that had a lot off people oohing and ahhing.
Katie Kennedy,  Eight Years-Old: "It was awesome!"
Fans of all ages could barely contain their excitement.
Dawson Kennedy, 12 years-old "My favorite part was the passes, when they would pass next to each other."

Dana Kennedy, Blue Angels Fan: "It was great, always great. This is our second time to come see 'em."

Of course, the Blues' schedule was cut back dramatically last year because of automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
Locally that forced the cancellation of both their July air show at Pensacola Beach and their homecoming show in November.

Dana Kennedy, Blue Angels Fan:  "We were really sad that they had grounded them because it's such a fascinating show."

"It was pretty great because last year because they weren't able to come, I was kinda bummed. And I was really excited they were able to come this year."

The Blues have a full schedule of practices and shows ahead of them this year.

They're set to perform at the beach in July and do their homecoming show here at the base in November.

The next practice, which will be open to the public, will be held here next Tuesday.