Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Free tickets for AFA graduation, Thunderbirds

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 9:30 AM

The Air Force Academy's graduation will once again host a performance by the Thunderbirds. - AIR FORCE THUNDERBIRDS
  • Air Force Thunderbirds
  • The Air Force Academy's graduation will once again host a performance by the Thunderbirds.

If you've never attended the Air Force Academy's graduation, here's your chance — at no cost.

But you have to be one of the lucky 600 to snap up reserved-seat tickets for the May 28 event. After the graduates are declared second lieutenants, and as they toss their hats into the air, the Thunderbirds will zoom overhead, unlike last year when the aerial show was canceled due to sequestration.

If interested, here's where you can get tickets and how to prepare for this signature event, according to the academy's news release:
Tickets must be picked up in person at one of three locations:

• The Business Alliance offices at 102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 430, in Colorado Springs, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
• The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce offices, at 300 Colorado Highway 105 in Monument, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
• The Air Force Academy’s Athletic Ticket Office, at the Cadet Field House, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

A maximum of four tickets per person are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets must be picked up in person and cannot be held or mailed. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.

The Air Force Academy’s Graduation Ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., on May 28 in Falcon Stadium and will include a commencement speech by the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.

Falcon Stadium gates open at 7 a.m. on graduation day and ticket holders are encouraged to arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. Traffic will be heavy entering the base and stringent security measures will be in effect.

Stadium security staff will check tickets, IDs, and hand-carried items and attendees will be scanned by airport-style metal detectors. No boxes, alcohol, weapons, firecrackers, backpacks, large handbags, coolers, thermoses, beverage containers of any sort or similar items will be allowed in the stadium. No sticks or poles (to include tripods) may be brought into the stadium, but small folding umbrellas may be carried. Food and drink are prohibited with the exception of clear, unopened water bottles and medically necessary items with a doctor’s order. Refreshments will be available from vendors throughout the stadium.

Cameras, video cameras and binoculars are permitted; however, please be prepared to remove camera lenses for security inspection at the stadium gates. Diaper bags will be allowed when a child is present; no strollers please.

Once the ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., no one is allowed to leave the stadium until after the end of the Thunderbirds’ performance at about 1:00 p.m. To ensure compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, no one will be allowed in parked cars or driving or walking within the performance area.

The Air Force Academy graduation ceremony is conducted in an outdoor stadium and extensive walking and stair climbing may be necessary. Guests should be prepared for any kind of weather; there is no indoor seating for the ceremony. Medical staff will be available for individuals who may experience illness or other medical emergencies.

Handicapped and wheelchair seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is located at the top of Sections U2, U5, U9, U12, M2, M6, M10, M14, L3, L6, L7, L9, L10 and L-13. The entire top row of Sections L-2 through L-14 is reserved for handicapped guests. Note that there are no elevators in the stadium but handicapped seating may be accessed without requirement to walk stairs. Handicapped parking is available at the north side of the stadium in lot 5, accessible via the North Gate. Golf carts will be available to transport handicapped guests from the parking areas to the stadium.

In the event of severe, life-threatening weather or security response to a high-threat world situation, the ceremony could be moved into Clune Arena at the Cadet Field House. Because Clune has limited seating capacity, guests of graduating cadets will be restricted to three per cadet and public ticket holders will not be able to attend. For this reason, we make every attempt to hold the graduation ceremony outdoors in Falcon Stadium, even in less than ideal weather conditions.

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