The Atlantic City Airshow - Thunder Over the Boardwalk - may be on its way to a record-setting day.

With perfect weather, attendance has a chance to surpass the record of 750,000 people of 2009, particularly because Tuesday's practice run was rained out, forcing airshow enthusiasts to all come today.

Crowds thronged to the center of town, and prime beach real estate disappeared early. Those who wanted to be in the center of town where they could hear the radio broadcast and color by the official airshow announcers decided to camp on ramps leading to the beaches, some with umbrellas to help shield the hot sun. Beach spots were easier to find north of Bally's Atlantic City and south of the Tropicana Casino and Resort.

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Hundreds of boats lined the ocean a few hundred yards from the beach along the whole island, stretching into Brigantine and Ventnor. On the Boardwalk, thousands of people stood along rails, and parts of the Boardwalk were so crowded, it looked like people were walking shoulder to shoulder.

Thousands of people took advantage of the ocean, with adults jumping in occasionally to cool down from the hot sun, while children bodysurfed while watching a Marine-driven V-22 helicopter hover above them.

The crowds may be tightly packed in on the beach from Bally's to the Hilton, but 80-year-old Ann Deverin of Little Egg Harbor Township knew how to avoid that hassle.

She has come to the show every year and always stakes out the same prime viewing spot - under the overhang to Caesars at Missouri Avenue.

"It's my spot. I found it the first year I came here, and I knew this was it. I have a great view. I can move around, and I can see the screen," Deverin said, pointing to the display on The Pier magnifying the aircrafts.

Usually Deverin comes to the show alone, but this year she has company - her 54-year-old son, Matthew Deverin, of Howell, Monmouth County.

"It's fantastic," he said. "It's my first time here. It's really enlightening."

Officials said the day was going smoothly and the airshow schedule was running on time with no major problems.

Atlantic City Police Department Sgt. Monica McMenamin said there were initially a few reports of missing persons on the Boardwalk, but as of noon, all parties had been reunited.

With clear skies and temperatures hovering in the mid-80s, McMenamin said the show could be on its way to surpassing the 2009 crowd record. She said no crowd counts are available yet because people are still coming into the city, but one should be available by the end of the day.

Parking lots, some charging as much as $40, were packed early, particularly the casino lots and the private ones near Boardwalk Hall.

Early airshow favorites includes the Geico Skytypers, the Heavy Metal Jet Team and Jim Beasley Jr.'s World War II-era Spitfire demonstration.


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