Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show takes off Saturday

Ashanka Kumari

For the third time in four years, Tuscaloosa, Northport and Tuscaloosa County will host the Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show Saturday and Sunday at the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport.

Kelsey Colglazier, the 2012 Air Show publicity coordinator, said flying will begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. both days and will conclude with a performance by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, which begins at 3 p.m. Flying will be continuous throughout both days.

“This opportunity is rare, especially since we are a civilian show, and we are thrilled to have [the Blue Angels] return to Tuscaloosa along with all of our other performers,” Colglazier said.

General admission is free to the public. However, premier seating options are available for purchase, Colglazier said. A detailed description of seating options as well as more information on the event can be found at tuscaloosaregionalairshow.com.

The theme for this year’s air show is “honoring our heroes,” Colglazier said.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to recognize local heroes, whether they are teachers, veterans, coaches, civic leaders, moms, dads or a friend,” Colglazier said.

The Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show is presented by McAlister’s Deli and will have a unique setup of static display, Colglazier said.

“This setup is said to quite possibly be one of the best setups for the 2012 air show,” Colglazier said. “Attendees can expect to see over 70 years of aviation history.”

Tera Tubbs, director of the Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation, said those considering attending the event should familiarize themselves with the parking and traffic plan, which is designed to optimize traffic flow upon departure. The plan can be found on the event website.

On-site parking is limited and attendees can park at three different locations throughout the community, as well as the free shuttle system that has been set in place for the event. The three locations are the Downtown Intermodal Facility, Tuscaloosa County High School and the K-Mart on Skyland Boulevard.

Shuttle buses will begin transporting at 8 a.m., and gates will open at 9 a.m. They will continue to run throughout the day until 2 p.m., and will pick up at 4 p.m. following the Blue Angels performance. The buses will run until the airport is cleared.

“I really encourage people to actually come out to the airport to view the show because it is a completely different experience,” Tubbs said. “There is so much to do and see on site. We are planning for 150,000 attendees over the weekend.”

Colglazier said the support from local businesses has been a key factor to effectively putting on this event.

“Community partnerships are crucial to the success of this event and help enhance [it] in so many ways,” Colglazier said. “We have had an outpouring of support from so many local businesses this year, and we can’t thank them enough.”