They are spectacular. Hair-raising. Breath-taking. A double-shot of adrenaline.
They represent the best of Navy and Marine pilots and crew. They have degrees in engineering, agriculture, professional aeronautics, political science — the list goes on and on. They put those careers on hold to serve their country, racking up hundreds of flights and dozens of medals.
They can flat-out maneuver those jets.
And they are coming to an outstanding venue, the beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There are any number of places to catch the show for free — including the Great Lawn at Harrah’s Gulf Coast Casino, smack in the middle of the action. And it’s free, unless you want to arrive early and vie for one of the $30 VIP tickets or watch from one of the hotels or restaurants along the beach.
All you have to bring is sunscreen, a personal umbrella, lawn chair and, most of all, patience.
The best plan is to get on the road as early as possible. Biloxi police will be out at along U.S. 90 intersections at 7 a.m. That should give you an idea of when they expect people to begin packing in.
Also, remember there is a construction zone on 90 in downtown Biloxi that tends to back up traffic on a slow day. If you’re coming in on I-110 or 90 eastbound, you’ll probably spend some time sitting in traffic. Remember that patience you brought? This is one of the times you’ll need it.
Once you get close to the Great Lawn start looking for a legal, we stress legal, parking place. Parking will be limited at Harrah’s and some property owners will be offering parking for a fee. Be smart about where you park. Don’t block fire hydrants or driveways. That likely will get you towed.
When traffic gets heavy, police will switch the traffic lights to flashing for 90, which means getting onto 90 from a side street will be difficult. Two eastbound lanes between Oak and the bridge will be reserved for emergency vehicles.
Most of all, watch for and listen to law enforcement officers and other first responders. Be courteous, they are there to get you and your family safely to the event and back home. Don’t block the boardwalks or sidewalks. Do not move or drive around barricades. Stay off the median.
Traffic is likely to be even heavier once the show ends and people race to their cars. There will be some entertainment on the lawn and elsewhere while you wait. It’s the weekend, there’s no need to rush.
And please don’t let this discourage you from coming to the show. We’re pretty sure you’ll agree the hassle was well worth it.
Just don’t forget to bring your patience.