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Slideshow: Arctic Thunder 2012

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.