THESE DAYS, it can be argued that the Atlantic City Air Show, and not the Miss America Pageant, is the town's signature annual event. Based on attendance figures, it certainly is the seaside resort's most significant and popular live presentation.

"The estimated attendance at last year's show was around 800,000," offered Joe Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, which produces the 13-year-old aviation spectacle. "I will tell you, if we were half that number, at 400,000, it's still by far the largest event in the marketplace with significant economic impact."

According to Kelly, while the aerial display, which this year takes place from 11:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, has grown in popularity through the years, its format has deviated little from its early days.

"The actual show itself has been pretty consistent and it's a good format," he said. "What is noteworthy is that outside of the year of [sequestration, which caused deep federal-budget cuts], we've always been able to attract the major teams to the show."

Kelly is particularly stoked by this year's return of the U.S. Navy's storied Blue Angels unit, which is headlining the exhibition for the first time since 2006. They'll be joined by such attractions as the U.S. Army Golden Knights, a celebrated parachute team; the GEICO Skytypers, an aerobatic act; and pilot Andrew Wright, who will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for most inverted flat spins (which the Air Show Website describes as "a nearly out-of-control maneuver during which the aircraft rotates rapidly while falling towards the earth").

Another highlight is expected to be the demonstration flight by a Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor, whose maneuverability exceeds that of most other aircraft worldwide. And for those looking for a little nostalgia, there'll be no shortage of appearances by vintage planes.

It goes without saying that the Air Show is totally at the mercy of the meteorological fates (if inclement weather shuts it down, there will be no makeup date). Kelly said that if Wednesday's weather forecast is iffy, a decision will be made by 8 a.m. on whether or not to cancel the show. But, he added, he's confident the program's perfect-weather streak will continue.

"Knock on wood, we've never had to cancel the show," he said.

For more on the Air Show, go to

Bob-ing for tunes

It was 50 years ago this summer that Bob Dylan recruited his first "official" backing band.

The group, which was billed as Levon & The Hawks, was enjoying a summer-long residency at the storied Tony Mart's, in Somers Point, when Dylan came calling (after leaving Dylan a few years later, the unit rebranded itself as The Band).

To mark that auspicious moment in rock history, Atlantic City's Dante Hall tonight is hosting "Dylan Fest AC."

The salute is headlined by The 5 Believers, a Shore-based Dylan tribute band led by Jeff Schwachter, who devised and produced the program. Also on the bill is Philly singer-songwriter Peter Stone Brown, recognized nationally as a prominent "Dylanologist."

An after-party is planned for the Iron Room on North Albany Avenue.

Dante Hall, 14 N. Mississippi Ave., 7:30 tonight, $20 (discounts available),

Collectibles in Wildwood

Sports memorabilia, vintage toys and comic books will be among the big draws this weekend as the Wildwood Convention Center hosts its annual Sports Card, Toys, Comics and Collectibles Show.

In all, some 125 vendors will be hawking their wares, which also include MacFarlane action figures, NASCAR memorabilia, Beanie Babies, trains, dolls and non-sports collectible cards.

Special guests include former Giants, Eagles and Philadelphia Stars standout Sean Landeta, boxing stalwarts Gerry Cooney and Ray Mercer, and Denny McLain, the last major league pitcher to win 30 games in a season.

Wildwood Convention Hall, 4501 Boardwalk, 3-9 p.m. today,

10 a.m.-9 p.m. tomorrow and

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, free admission, 732-422-9365,

'The Outlaw' is coming!

By day, James Weiner owns and operates multiple dentist offices in South Jersey. By night, he dons the sunglasses and attitude of Jimmie Lee, "The Jersey Outlaw," a stand-up comic whose act combines a swaggering, X-rated persona and old-school shtick (think Andrew "Dice" Clay meets Don Rickles at Henny Youngman's house).

Lee is one of the half-dozen jokesters who comprise the roster for tonight's installment of the monthly "Comedy Crap Shoot" at the Blue Velvet Theater, at Scores gentlemen's club inside Trump Taj Mahal. Headlining the show is Joe Martarese. Also on the bill are Matt Bridgestone, Brian Isley, Derek Lehmann and James Camacho.

Taj Mahal, Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue, Atlantic City, 7 tonight, $20,