To officials at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, this weekend's 2011 Beaufort Air Show is about more than just putting on a good show.
Beginning Saturday, the air station will throw open its gates and welcome more than 100,000 spectators from all over the state and the region to Fightertown for the air show, which the base stages every other year.
For the air station, the event is a chance to give residents a biennial look at what happens behind its gates, said Lt. Sharon Hyland, air station spokeswoman.
"It's really a chance to showcase aviation in general," Hyland said. "People say, 'What goes on at the air station?' This is our chance to show the community and America what we do."
The air show is free and open to the public, and will again be headlined by the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels.
The event also will feature performances by several other aerial acts and demonstration teams. Several static displays will be parked along the air station's flightline including an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, according to organizers.
In 2009, the event -- which also featured the Blue Angels -- drew more than 170,000 people to the base over two days, according to air station officials.
For months, event organizers have used traditional media and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to trumpet the upcoming event, and say they anticipate the largest crowd in the event's history.
Hyland said the base takes great pride in welcoming air show spectators from all over, and added that base officials hope the event will serve as a sign of gratitude to the local community for its year-round support.
"It's an honor to host people that come to the air show from all over the world," Hyland said. "I would imagine this entire event as a way to say 'Thank you.' We want to make sure that we put on a good show."