BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In less than a week, the Thunderbirds will soar over Biloxi, stunning thousands as they perform aerial dives and tricks from one end of the city to the other. Here’s everything you need to know to make Thunder Over the Sound a fun, safe, and smooth event.
The airshow is taking place on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5. This is the first year that Keesler Air Force Base has partnered with the City of Biloxi to offer visitors multiple viewing locations.
Visitors can watch from the flightline entrance on Keesler Air Force Base to see the military precision jets soar over Biloxi’s Back Bay. At 1 p.m., the performances will move to Biloxi Beach for more aerial acrobatics.
Keesler AFB will open at 7:30 a.m. on both days of the airshow. Performances are expected to start at 8:30 a.m. with the final performance being finished by 5 p.m. each day. Admission is free and open to the public.
Aside from the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds, more than a dozen other aerial acts are slated to perform, including Team Aeroshell, Trojan Thunder, the Black Daggers parachute team, and more.
There will also be a kids zone with inflatables, obstacle courses and more on the Air Force Base. Additional ground displays will also be on base, including the DreamBig Mobile Interactive Aviation Museum featuring an A-7 and F-101 cockpits for attendees to climb into.
AIRSHOW SCHEDULE FOR BOTH DAYS (Click on any of the acts listed below to learn more.)
7:30 a.m.: Meadows and Pass Road gates open at Keesler for military access only
8:30 a.m.: Performances on Keesler begin; static displays, kid’s zone, and STEM activities open on Keesler flight line
1 p.m.: Air performances move off base and over the Biloxi Beach
3:30 p.m.: Keesler flight line show area closes
5 p.m.: Beachfront activities close and performances end
Biloxi police will implement their special-event traffic plan. The orange traffic cones will be put out Wednesday night, limiting the left lane of Hwy 90 to emergency vehicles and shuttle buses used to transport air show fans. Fans will be transported from satellite parking venues in west and east Biloxi and on Back Bay. (See Shuttle Bus Routes below)
Parking on Keesler AFB will only be open to to Department of Defense ID card holders and handicap visitors. Visitors requesting to use handicap parking on Keesler AFB will need to have a valid driver’s license, car insurance, and current vehicle registration, as well as an official handicap designator, such as a state issued license plate or handicap placard. They may only enter through the Meadows Road Gate. All other visitors must park off base and use the airshow shuttle buses.
To see a map of prohibited areas where boaters are NOT allowed to park, scroll down
SHUTTLE BUS ROUTES
There will be five shuttle bus routes running from end of Biloxi to the other to help people wanting to go to the air show. Here is a list of the routes that will be offered and how you can get on and off them. All of the shuttles are free, however, anyone parking at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum to catch the bus there will have to pay a $5 parking fee.
Red Route: Oak Park
Parking to ride this shuttle will be at Oak Park, a large grassy location that was once a Keesler AFB housing area. Oak Park is located between Keesler and the Back Bay. You can get there by following Bayview Avenue all the way until the end. Buses will pick up and drop off visitors at Oak Park, the flightline entrance area in front of KAFB, and at Keesler's visitor's center near the base's front gate at White Avenue. Visitors wanting to watch the show from the beach will get off/on at the White Avenue stop.
Blue Route: Harrison Court
Parking to ride this shuttle is at Harrison Court, a grassy parking area located between Back Bay and Keesler Air Force Base. It is former Keesler AFB housing and can be accessed from Benachi Avenue off Bayview Avenue. Buses will pick up and drop off at Harrison Court, the flightline entrance area in front KAFB, and at the Biloxi Lighthouse on Highway 90. Visitors wanting to watch the show from the beach will get off/on at the Biloxi Lighthouse stop.
Yellow Route: Point Cadet at old Margaritaville Casino
Parking to ride this shuttle is near Point Cadet on the east side of Biloxi. Visitors can park in the paved parking lot where the old Margaritaville Casino once stood. That parking area can be reached via 5th Street or by taking Beach Boulevard to Oak Street and then to 5th Street. Buses will pick up and drop off visitors at the old Margaritaville Casino parking lot, the flightline entrance area in front KAFB, and at the Biloxi Lighthouse on Highway 90. Visitors wanting to watch the show from the beach will get off/on at the Biloxi Lighthouse stop.
Green Route: Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention
Parking to ride this shuttle will be west of the show at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, located at 2350 Highway 90 in Biloxi. Parking at the Coliseum is $5 per car and can be reached by entering the grounds of the Coliseum via Highway 90 or Beauvoir Road. Buses will pick up and drop off visitors at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, the flightline entrance in front of KAFB, and at the White House Hotel. Visitors wanting to watch the show from the beach will get off/on at the White House Hotel stop, which is located at 1230 Beach Blvd.
Purple Route: IP Casino Outdoor Parking
Parking to ride this shuttle will be at the IP Casino’s outdoor parking lot, which is a dirt parking lot located across Bayview Avenue from the casino. The parking lot can be accessed along Bayview Avenue and Caillavet Street. Buses will pick up and drop off visitors at the IP Casino outdoor parking lot, the flightline entrance area in front of KAFB, and at the Biloxi Lighthouse on Highway 90. Visitors wanting to watch the show from the beach will get off/on at the Biloxi Lighthouse stop.
WHAT TO BRING AND WHAT NOT TO BRING
If you’re planning on watch the show from the beach, here’s what you CAN bring:
- Ice chests
- Diaper bags (formula/breast milk and cold packs allowed)
- Cameras, video cameras, and phones
- Folding chairs
- Strollers and wagons
Here’s a list of items that you CANNOT bring on the beach:
- Glass, china or pottery
- Drones, kites or parasailing in event area
- Firearms, air guns or bow and arrows
- ATVs, golf carts, or any other unlicensed vehicle on beach, sidewalks or boardwalks
- Amplified sound (allowed only by permit)
- Riding on tailgates, bumpers, roofs or hoods of vehicles
If you’re planning on watching the show from Keesler Air Force Base, here’s a list of items you CAN bring:
- Strollers and wagons
- Small purses and diaper bags
- Folding chairs
Here’s a list of items you CANNOT bring onto Keesler Air Force Base:
- Weapons of any kind (including small knives)
- Pop up tents or umbrellas
- Skateboards, scooters or hoverboards
Be aware that all items can be subject to search by gate security. See a full list of allowable and prohibited items here.
- Do not block traffic and follow instructions of police officers.
- Obey posted speed limits and traffic signs.
- Park only in marked areas; no parking on median or sidewalks. Respect private property.
- For safety, only cross roadways at designated locations, such as intersections or crosswalks.
- Do not obstruct boardwalks or sidewalks; pedestrians only.
- Do not move or go around barricades.
- A helmet must be worn by all operators and passengers on motorcycles.
- Please clean up after yourself.
- More than 100,000 visitors are expected at the airshow so please be patient and prepared to wait when necessary. Expect to wait 30-60 minutes in traffic at peak times.
- Parking managers will be at all five designated parking areas helping to keep traffic moving smoothly.
- If you’re planning to visit first thing in the morning, the closest parking areas will be Oak Park or Harrison Court.
- Shuttle buses will run continuously throughout the day so you can return to your vehicle at any point in time.
- Wear sunscreen! There will be some shaded areas but a majority of the events and activities will be open air. Visitors are recommended to wear hats, bring sunscreen and drink water to stay cool. Keesler Air Force Base will have water stations for our guests. Visitors to the beach are welcome to bring umbrellas and beach equipment.
- Pack a cooler with water and snacks to leave in your car for when you return.
- Please pay attention to all airshow signs and directions of event personnel who will help guide visitors to and from the airshow and parking areas.
- The aircraft can be quite loud so ear protection for little ears may be a good idea.
- Share photos from the airshow on social using #KBAirshow! For a chance to see them on WLOX, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To buy tickets to VIP box seating on base or on the beach, as well as for more information on parking, shuttles, and more, visit the official Thunder Over the Sound 2019 website by clicking HERE.
- To receive real-time, on-the-go messages for road closures, road re-openings, and other traffic advisories, text BILOXI to 888777.