Tampa Bay AirFest

How to Plan an Epic Day at Tampa Bay AirFest 2024

Tampa Bay AirFest is back, landing in town on Friday, March 29 through Saturday, March 30, 2024, at MacDill Air Force Base.

For the first time, the Tampa airshow will take place on a Friday and Saturday (Sunday, March 31 is Easter Sunday). But, with Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties having no school on Friday, it’s the perfect way to spend a long weekend and experience the sound of freedom!

This free family-friendly event is put on by the men and women of MacDillAir Force Base as their way to say “thank you” to the community for their outstanding support.

This year’s event will feature a variety of military and civilian flight performances featuring the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. From thrilling aerial performances to family-friendly activities and military aircraft displays, this is one event you won’t want to miss.

We are sharing everything you need to know about what to expect at this awesome event that gets you up close and personal with military and civilian aircraft and pilots.

Tampa Bay AirFest boy in military gear

Tampa Bay AirFest Details

  • When: March 29-30, 2024
  • Where: MacDill Air Force Base, 6801 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa, FL 33621
  • Admission: General admission is free. VIP tickets are available starting at $50.

Gates will open at 8 a.m. on both days. Opening ceremonies will start at 11:30 a.m., followed by flying demos beginning at noon.

Tip: Traffic can build up quickly, especially with the added security on the base. Plan to arrive early to make sure you don’t miss out!

How to Get to Tampa Bay AirFest

We recommend arriving as early as possible because once the lots fill up, the base entrance will be closed and this can happen within a matter of hours of the gates opening at 8 am. There are three entrances to Tampa Bay AirFest this year:

  • MacDill Ave gate
  • Dale Mabry Highway gate
  • Tanker Way gate off of Interbay (get there from Westshore Blvd or Manhattan Ave)

If you plan to ride your bike to AirFest, make sure everyone is wearing a helmet since they are required on base.

Things to Do at AirFest

AirFest is packed with exciting flight performances and displays showcasing all five branches of the United States military along with their first responder agencies. Check out Hangar 2 for displays including a science display from MOSI!

The highlights of the event are the air demonstrations from acrobatic pilots, aerial parachutes,  former WWII Navy Advanced Training Aircraft, and of course, the Air Force Thunderbirds!


The 2024 Tampa AirFest Schedule:

  • Air Force Thunderbirds: Performing from 2:53 pm-4:08 pm
  • Opening Ceremonies/SOCOM Para-Commandos: 12:00 pm-12:10 pm
  • Goulian/Holland: 12:11 pm-12:19 pm
  • KC-135 Stratotanker: 12:20 pm-12:32 pm
  • C-17 Demo Team: 12:33 pm-12:45 pm
  • Scooter/Firewalkers: 12:46 pm-12:57 pm
  • B2/B1: 12:58 pm-1:10 pm
  • Rob Holland (pilot): 1:11 pm-1:24 pm
  • A10 Demo/HERITAGE: 1:25 pm-1:55 pm
  • Warbird Thunder: 1:56 pm-2:11 pm
  • RHINO Legacy Flight: 2:12 pm-2:39 pm
  • Michael Goulian: 2:40 pm-2:52 pm
  • Air Force Thunderbirds: 2:53 pm-4:08 pm

Tampa Bay AirFest military performance parachute

What should you bring to AirFest?

Typically, the end of March produces picture-perfect sunny weather here in Tampa. While it won’t be scorching hot like our summer months, you’ll still want to pack plenty of shade and be prepared to feel a little extra heat while walking around on the asphalt and near the planes. You can bring strollers and wagons for the kids.


  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hearing protection (some demonstrations will get LOUD)
  • Hats or visors
  • Empty water bottles to fill (water refill stations are available)
  • Folding chairs
  • Snacks
  • Strollers/wagons for tired kiddos
  • Things to do and snacks for the kids in the car for the ride to and from the base.

TSA security standards will be in effect for entrants into AirFest. Make sure to check out their website for a full list of prohibited items.

Some items that will not be allowed include firearms or toys that resemble firearms, pets, outside food (some snacks are allowed), coolers, glass containers or bottles, liquid without factory seal (baby bottles are an exception), bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, and excessively large bags.

Drones are also prohibited as MacDill is a “No Drone Zone.”

There will be food and beverage vendors on-site, so be sure to bring credit cards and cash!

Tampa Bay AirFest crowd watching performance


Check tampabayairfest.com as the event gets closer for more exciting details!


Related stories we think you’ll LOVE: 

Originally published in the March 2024 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine