AirFest 2004

After a two-year hiatus brought on by post-9/11 security issues, MacDill Air Force Base´s annual two-day air show/ordnance-and-technology display AirFest returned this past April. (Because if we as Americans can no longer pose next to an authentic Vietnam-era Huey helicopter before being buzzed by two Blue Angels headed in opposite directions, well, then, the terrorists truly have won.) While the estimated attendance of 500,000 was down from the last AirFest in 2001, it was more than enough to please the event´s organizers — and to clog major Interbay-area thoroughfares for hours on end. Traffic on S. Dale Mabry was brought to an endless standstill. Those waiting to enter the base´s main gate reportedly killed time using Port-O-Lets set up along the route and walking their pets; many local residents and shoppers simply gave up and headed back the way they came. Though only two of MacDill´s four entrances could be opened to the public, AirFest spokesmen claimed using the other two wouldn´t do much to alleviate the problem. Judging by the complaints from merchants, commuters and business associations, however, some alternatives must be explored for AirFest 2005, or MacDill might find itself at war with the neighborhood.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.