BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — One of the area’s most popular events will be returning to Bay County.

During the Bay County Chamber’s ‘First Friday’ meeting, Tyndall Air Force Base officials announced they are bringing back the ‘Gulf Coast Salute Air Show’ next year.

“The Gulf Coast Salute coming back to Bay County is a huge deal,” Bay County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Dan Rowe said. “It was a great air show prior to Hurricane Michael and then Tyndall had the eye of the storm come across it so it’s not in a position to be able to host an air show, but for the beach to be able to partner with the Air Force on this Gulf Coast Salute is just huge.”

Tyndall Air Force Base last staged its annual thank you to the local community in 2017.

Colonel George Watkins said because of the construction, it seemed like the return of the air show was still a few years off.

“We almost shelved it and we said we’d have to wait a couple more years, but a couple of people on our team said, ‘Hey, let’s do something over on the beach,” Watkins said. “We reached out to Panama City Beach and they said, ‘Hey, we’re a tourism area. We’re used to handling big crowds of people. We would love to host the ground portion of their show. You guys bring the jets’ and so we booked the Thunderbirds. We’re going to bring the Jets, and they’re going to bring the people and so we’re excited for Bay County and we’re excited for the Air Force.”

The 2024 edition of the air show will be very different from years past.

Instead of taking place at the Air Force base, Tyndall will hold the air show over Panama City Beach.

The Russell-Fields Pier will be the center stage. It will allow thousands of spectators to spread out along the shoreline and watch the show.

The Thunderbirds may be the main attraction, but Tyndall will also be able to give residents a close-up look at the new F-35s that begin arriving in August.

“It’s not only to show off military equipment, but it’s really to give back to the community,” Watkins said. “The community loves seeing the planes. They love coming out for an air show and we wanted to have the chance to get back to the community.”

The Gulf Coast Salute is scheduled for May 4-5 of 2024, which will coincide with the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally.