SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — In-person Fleet Week festivities return to San Francisco this week after last year’s event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials.

Fleet Week events officially started on Sunday and will continue through Sunday, Oct. 10.

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Bay Area residents can once again see the U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilots practicing in and around San Francisco skies next week, ahead of the waterfront air show happening next weekend on Oct. 8-10.

The weeklong tradition welcomes dozens of U.S. Navy vessels and aircrafts to honor the city’s military ties. This year’s event marks the 40th Fleet Week.

On Friday, San Francisco public safety leaders said they’re expecting scaled back crowds this year — but a turnout nonetheless.

“Each year we attract millions of visitors and this year — while it might be a little bit different with our pandemic mitigations — the traditions will largely be the same,” San Francisco Department of Emergency Management Executive Director Mary Ellen Carroll said.

This year’s air show will feature some of the usual tricks like skydivers, a helicopter, and a parachute team, among other things, but the Blue Angels are also set to debut their new aircraft, the F-8 Super Hornet, organizers said.

Amid the festivities, public safety officials will be on guard in case of any large-scale emergency.

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“We’re going to ensure we have staff out there, our plain clothes staff will be in uniform, our Pitbull will be out there working with the Police Department, because the most important thing is to have a visible deterrence to any shenanigans and tomfoolery that might occur,” said San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto. “We always want to make sure that people, if they see something, they say something.”

“I hope everyone stays safe. It’s wonderful that Fleet Week is back,” said Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson.

San Francisco’s Public Health Director said that while COVID-19 numbers have been trending downward over the last two months, showing “encouraging signs,” Fleet Week attendees must still wear masks.

“Any events during Fleet Week are happening on federal property where masking is required regardless of vaccination status. There will be signage up at these federal sites reminding people what the rules are,” he said.

“We continue to encourage people to wear a mask indoors. Given the large crowds, we’re also encouraging people to wear a mask outside whenever possible,” he said. “COVID is very much with us and we really need to continue to take common sense precautions.”

Department of Emergency Management officials are encouraging residents and attendees to sign up for Alert SF to receive public safety messages during Fleet Week. To sign up, text “fleetweeksf” to 88877.

For more information regarding the full schedule of events happening and to buy tickets to the air show this weekend, visit the San Francisco Fleet Week website.

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