NEW ORLEANS - Beneath gray skies, crews took down tents and put away chairs. Up to 100,000 people were expected to fill Pontchartrain Park this weekend for the excitement of the Blue Angels air show. But rain and gusty winds forced officials to cancel after a year of preparation.
The biggest concern was that choppy waters would have made it difficult for the Coast Guard to stabilize markers in Lake Pontchartain for the air show. The waves breaking over the sea wall also posed a hazard to spectators.
"It's unfortunate, our team is disappointed, but bicentennial continues," NOLA Navy Week Host Committee Chairman Mark Romig said.
But even though the air show was canceled, there's was still more people could do during NOLA Navy Week.
Thousands of people toured the USS WASP, an amphibious assault ship, Saturday afternoon. It's one of eight ships moored along the riverfront as part of NOLA Navy Week. All of them are open for free tours. Some people, like Christina Leonard, came aboard after driving in for the air show.
"It was a big disappointment that it was canceled, we was really looking forward to it," Leonard said.
Ships like the USS WASP gave kids an opportunity to handle some heavy artillery, and give civilians a chance to see what the Navy and Marines are all about.
"We originally tried to see the Blue Angels, but since it was canceled we're trying to see as many of the ships as we can, so we're enjoying it, being on the ship, getting to be on an aircraft carrier's really cool," said Bobby Kelly.
Officials said even though the Blue Angels were forced to cancel their show this weekend, fans can expect to see them over the lake in the future.
"If I had to make a bet on this, I would say the Blue Angels will definitely be back in the future...as a great venue to do it," Romig said.
Navy officials said more than 50,000 people visited the ships in the first four days of Navy Week.
They will be open from noon to 5 tomorrow.