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Slideshow: Arctic Thunder 2012

The Army's Golden Knights parachute team perform at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Donald Ridlon, US Navy (ret.), a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam, during a moment of reflection during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
C-130s perform at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Skip Stewart performs in his custom biplane at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Oregon Aero Skydancers perform at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Spectators enjoy Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
40 parachuters perform at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A C-17 and F-22 on display at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A F-22 Raptor performs at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A C-17 Globemaster performs at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, airlifting a howitzer and humvee, participate in a Joint Forces capabilities demonstration during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Members of the Air Force watch the Thunderbirds perform at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Spectators enjoy a performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Capt. Ryan Riley of the Air Force Thunderbirds signs autographs after performing at Arctic Thunder 2012. July 28, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Calling Arctic Thunder Air Show a popular event would be something of an understatement.

The two-day event, held biennially at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson just outside Anchorage, may be one of the city's biggest events. On Saturday, the first day of the air show, an estimated 125,000-150,000 people showed up at base gates, according to organizers.

If all attendees were Alaska residents that means 1 in 5 of us were there.

Air show highlights this year included the Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team, the Air Force Thunderbirds, an air demonstration squadron flying F-16s, and an F-22 Raptor demonstration.

The Alaska Joint Forces are also demonstrating their capabilities, complete with soldiers air-dropped and firing machine guns to secure a target. If that wasn't impressive enough, the joint forces also air-dropped a howitzer cannon and Humvee. Soldiers managed to set base grass on fire, to the crowd's delight and giving spectators an impromptu demonstration of JBER fire-fighting capabilities.

The air show wasn't devoted to just military acts, though. Civilians performing at Arctic Thunder 2012 included Skip Stewart, an aerial acrobat flying a custom biplane in maneuvers that appear at times to break the laws of physics, and the Oregon Aero Skydancer.

Arctic Thunder continues Sunday at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, with gates opening at 9 a.m. and performances scheduled from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Arrive early: Air Show organizers announced mid-afternoon Saturday that base had been closed to civilian access.

For more information see the official website.