SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. — Dozens of military aircraft, ground vehicles and informational displays are being readied for the 2014 Selfridge Open House and Air Show, to be Sept. 6 and 7 at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
The Selfridge Open House is the largest public military display in the state of Michigan, with equipment from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs & Homeland Security all on display at the base. Admission to the Open House is free, as is the parking at the base. As many as 75,000 spectators are expected to attend the Open House each of the two days, with tens of thousands more spectators watching the air show portion of the Open House from vantage points outside of the base.
The Open House, typically held about every two or three years at the base, is one of the few times when the base is open to the general public. All of the aircraft types assigned to Selfridge will be on display during the Open House, with most of them flying in the air show.
“It takes a lot of work and planning to host an event of this magnitude, but to be able to use the event as a way to thank you to our neighbors, who have been so supportive of our military personnel over the years makes it more than worthwhile,” said Col. Philip Sheridan, 127th Wing commander and commander of the base.
Highlighting the flying portion of the Open House on both days of the Open House will be demonstrations by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight teams. The Blue Angels, flying F/A-18 Hornets, will be arriving several days in advance of the open house and will be flying some familiarization and practice flights before the Open House. Area residents may notice the practice flights, as the F/A-18s flown by the Blue Angels produce a deeper, louder sound than the military aircraft typically assigned to Selfridge.
Among the items on display at the Open House will be A-10 Thunderbolt II and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, both of which have been flown in combat environments by the Airmen of the 127th Wing since the previous Selfridge Open House, in 2011.
“These are the same aircraft flown by your friends and neighbors who serve their country here at Selfridge and from here are deployed to locations around the world, as needed to serve our national interests,” Sheridan said.
The gates will open at Selfridge both days at 8 a.m., with flying to begin late morning. Visitors are strongly encouraged to arrive early as traffic tends to become very congested later in the day during the Open House. The Open House concludes with the end of flying, around 4 p.m. The flying schedule is the same both days of the Open House. The flying schedule is not published in advance.
Free water stations will be available at the Open House and food and beverages will be available for sale at numerous concession areas. Most concessions will operate on a cash-only basis. Coolers will not be allowed into the Open House area.
While general admission and parking is free at the Open House, premium seating options being introduced for the 2014 event. Premium seating is available for $20 in advance or $25 at the Open House. Luxury Chalet seating, which includes a catered lunch, is available for $95 for adults, $50 for children in advance or $100 and $55 at the Open House. Information on the seating options is available at www.selfridgeopenhouse.com
Visitor access to Selfridge during the Open House may be made from the north or the south. From the north, enter the base’s main gate from Jefferson Avenue, at the junction of Jefferson and Rosso Highway (M-59). Those requiring handicap parking should enter at the main gate. The exit ramp (240) from Interstate 94 to Rosso Highway East and Rosso Highway along the base will be closed during the Open House. Jefferson may be accessed from 21 Mile, exit 241 on I-94. From the south, visitors may exit I-94 at North River Road (exit 236) for access to a special Open House gate to the base. The Open House gate is located west of Bridgeview Road. Those requiring access to homes and businesses east of Selfridge along North River Road, should travel east on South River Road and use Bridgeview to transfer to North River Road. Only personnel with current military identification cards will be allowed to enter the base at the Selfridge Golf Gate during the Open House. Traffic signs, law enforcement and military personnel, along with other volunteers, will be on hand to direct traffic and parking.
Coolers, glass bottles, backpacks and cooking equipment are not allowed into the Open House area. Lawn chairs (chair bags should be left in car), strollers, fanny packs and small wagons are allowed.
Visitors are encouraged to bring cameras to the Open House, but equipment should be limited to that which is easily carried. Large camera bags will not be allowed in the Open House area. All items will be subject to search upon entering the base and/or Open House area.
Some tips for staying safe at Open House & Air Show:
* Be prepared to walk, a lot. The average visitor could walk 2-5 miles just to experience everything in the show.
* Drink plenty of fluids during the day. The sun and wind can dehydrate spectators quickly.
* Wear sunscreen and reapply throughout the day to avoid overexposure to the sun. Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses.
* Watch your step, particularly around tents or displays that may have staked ropes tying them down or while walking through grass parking lots that may be uneven or have holes.
* Be careful and pay attention while walking around or through static aircraft displays. Some aircraft may have little headroom inside and some aircraft wingtips can be right at head level.
* Do not smoke on the ramp or spectator area.
* Pack your patience. Waiting in line to enter the show and to enter and exit the base takes some time. Be prepared for delays.
* Report suspicious activity to uniformed personnel.
An Open House was last held at Selfridge in 2011. The next Open House is tentatively planned for 2017, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the creation of Selfridge as a military installation and the 70th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Air Force as an independent military service branch.
Information on the Open House is available on the web at www.selfridgeopenhouse.com.
Story by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton, 127th Wing Public Affairs