Garcetti, military officials kick off LA Fleet Week during Cabrillo Beach news conference – Daily News

Los Angeles city and military dignitaries joined forces on the sands of Cabrillo Beach, in San Pedro, on Tuesday, May 24, to officially welcome the return of LA Fleet Week.

Shuttered for 32 months because of the pandemic, the fast-growing regional event returns this weekend — Friday to Monday, May 27-30 — with tours of active-study US Navy ships, aerial demonstrations and ongoing live entertainment taking place on San Pedro’s working waterfront.

The more than 2-year break had a silver lining for Fleet Week, as it made for a smoother transition from the event’s traditional Labor Day weekend schedule to a Memorial Day weekend event. Organizers plan on hosting Fleet Week on Memorial Day weekend moving forward.

One reason for the change was apparent on Tuesday, as the crowd gathered on a cool, windy beach — weather that’s much more conducive to an outdoor festival than the often-sweltering temperatures of Labor Day.

“We are back and we’re back with a roar,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who announced in November 2015 that the city would launch an annual Fleet Week celebration, which began the next year.

“Fleet Week is already underway,” Garcetti said Tuesday, referring to the weeklong build-up of advanced activities. Among them were a Sea-to-Surface logistics demonstration drill that brought together the American Red Cross, US Coast Guard, US Department of Defense, the US Marine Corps and US Navy, among several others, for an afternoon in internal disaster preparedness drills at Cabrillo Beach.

The two visiting Navy ships, meanwhile, sat offshore behind the staged news conference, their crews preparing for public tours that will be offered throughout the weekend.

Those ships are the USS Essex, a multipurpose amphibious assault ship capable of carrying a full range of US Navy and US Marine Corps helicopters; and the USS Portland, an amphibious transport dock ship.

The ships arrived in port early this week.

Garcetti, himself a Navy veteran, said the vessels protect the nation’s shores and serve to guarantee the free trade that has made the Port of Los Angeles the busiest in the nation.

“You’ve really got two opportunities this weekend,” Garcetti said. “You can either try to get tickets to ‘Top Gun,’ but they’re all sold out, or you can see the real deal here.”

A full lineup of events for LA Fleet Week can be found at lafleetweek.com.

Admission is free and the main expo will be near the USS Iowa, at First Street and Harbor Boulevard. Shuttles will take visitors to the two ships in the Outer Harbor for tours.

Among the aims of Fleet Week are to introduce the public to those who serve in the nation’s military.

“I hope if you see someone in uniform,” Garcetti said, “you’ll welcome them and you’ll ask them to tell you their story.”

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