The 2010 MacDill AirFest (March 20 & 21) will surely bring in many visitors from across the Bay Area, just like in years past. This year, the US Navy Blue Angels are back and turnout is expected to be quite modest. Nonetheless, if you plan to make the commute to South Tampa, here are a few things to keep in mind.
*Arrive Early: If you can get to the base gate by 10:00am, then chances are, you’ll get a spot to park on the airstrip. However, I suggest that if you’re able to, try to get to the base no later than 7:30am so that you don’t have to combat super long lines on Dale Mabry, which will clearly expand to other arteries as the day progresses. Gates open at 8am and the final pack of vehicles will be allowed in until 3pm, or whenever the lots become too full to handle anymore traffic. Though the Dale Mabry entrance is the main way in, you can still try to MacDill gate, which will be open to visitors as well. The Bayshore gate, like in years past, will be limited to only base personell.
*Shuttle Bus Service: But there is another option if you don’t want to fight the traffic. HART is bringing back the Route 4 Shuttle Service, which will run on both days of the AirFest. Saturday, the service will run from 8am until 2:15pm. The first bus leaves downtown at 8am and arrives at the base at around 8:45am, the final round trip will occur at 1:30pm, arriving at the base at 2:15pm to return to downtown. Because of security concerns, the shuttle service will be suspended until 4pm, in which buses will depart the base (ONLY) until 6pm. Please note that Sunday service begins at 10am, but all other timepoints mentioned apply. Route 36 will not provide service to the base. Instead the route will only service the segment north of Britton Plaza. A connector shuttle will provide service from the Plaza to the Route 4 via Euclid Ave.
See the map below for details.