ATLANTIC CITY - It went off without a hitch: The Horizon Healthcare blimp cleared Boardwalk Hall after 10 a.m. today, kicking off the Atlantic City Airshow. And the Thunderbirds thundered it to a close at 3 p.m.

The start of the show was a sigh of relief for organizers and onlookers - after rain, wind and poor visibility yesterday limited practice and sparked concerns that the show might not happen.

But the eighth annual Thunder over the Boardwalk featured more than 80 aircraft during the next five hours. Some of the anticipated 750,000 spectators beat lifeguards to the beach, arriving before 8:30 a.m. to stake their spot on the sand to watch the eighth annual Thunder over the Boardwalk.

Low-hanging clouds had started to break to reveal blue sky when air boss David Schultz said just before 9 a.m. the show would go on as planned.

Rain and high winds prevented the U.S. Army Golden Knights, Brazilian Smoke Squadron and other performers from practicing yesterday.

The show ended with a roar over the shore by the USAF Thunderbirds.

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