The Arctic Thunder Open House officially began at 9 a.m. Saturday on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, but a few special guests were invited to the rehearsal day on Friday.
Department of Defense card holders, youth groups and Miss America were on hand to watch the U.S Air Force Thunderbirds, a F-22 demonstration team, stunt pilot Melissa Burns and other performers as they warmed up for the air show taking place this weekend.
Emma Broyles, the first Alaskan and first Korean-American to win the Miss America pageant, even suited up and took a ride with the Thunderbirds.
“She told me she’s a little worried about air sickness, that’s something that she gets quite frequently,” said Thunderbirds flight surgeon Travis Grindstaff, speaking to reporters as Broyles was suiting up. “But this is totally different, and she’s a big adrenaline junkie with roller coasters. She’s going to have a blast.”
Both the Richardson and Boniface gates will be open to the public for Arctic Thunder Open House at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, but organizers expect 180,000 people to attend, so plan accordingly.