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.
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.