When you’re expecting around 300,000 guests but only have 8,000 available parking spots, creativity is key.
And so organizers of the upcoming Warriors Over the Wasatch open house and air show say they’ve developed a “radical plan” to bring the anticipated 600,000 total spectators onto Hill Air Force Base over the two-day air show, set for June 25 and 26.
In a move that seems somewhat counter-intuitive, base officials will close the South Gate — the base’s main entry point — during both days of the show. Instead of bringing people in through the much-traveled gate, organizers are asking show-goers who drive to use the the Roy Gate (Interstate 15 Exit 338) or the West Gate (Exit 335).
The South Gate will be open, but only for vendors, performers and buses. First Lt. Christopher Keranen, air show security coordinator, said all others will be turned away.
“A lot of people automatically want to use the South Gate,” Keranen said. “That’s just what they’re used to, but they will be turned around if they try to use (it).”
Lt. Col. Kristopher Long, commander of Hill’s 75th Operations Support Squadron, said spectators should seriously consider using Utah Transit Authority services.
Spectators can ride FrontRunner to the Clearfield UTA station and then take shuttle buses to the base throughout the air show on Saturday and Sunday. For the first time in its eight-year history, UTA is offering limited FrontRunner service on Sunday.
Bus and FrontRunner passes can be purchased at www.rideuta.com. Passes are also available at UTA Customer Service centers. Passes will be sold at the Clearfield FrontRunner Station during the show.
“That’s going to be your best bet if you want to get in and out quickly,” Long said. “You won’t be waiting in traffic. You’re going to have a direct shot right to the show.”
Base spokesman Micah Garbarino said as parking fills up during the show, spectators may be directed to the Clearfield station to catch shuttle buses anyway, something that happened during the 2014 show.
The free air show will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, highlighted by The Breitling Jet Team, the Army Golden Knights parachute team and nearly 20 other performers. The show will also feature 50 static aircraft displays and an Air Force “Heritage Flight,” where an F-35 Lightning II will take to the skies with a vintage World War II warbird.
The U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds are also scheduled to perform, allaying the uncertainty of their participation after a pilot from the team crashed during a June 2 performance in Colorado Springs.