Some of the most spectacular sights you're likely to see this year will be in the skies over Tampa and Tampa Bay this weekend.
The 2016 MacDill AirFest is set for Saturday and Sunday at MacDill Air Force Base. The free festival brings 16 precision flying teams, stunt pilots and sky diving teams together for two days of aerial entertainment.
You probably won't know the name of most of the airborne performers -- Jerry Kirby, Scott Yoak and Randy Ball are big names in the field, but not that well-known to the general public. But you're almost certainly familiar with the headliners, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. They're scheduled to take to the skies at the end of each day.
AirFest offers plenty of sights on the ground, too, including displays of military aircraft classic and cutting-edge, from the B-52 to the F-22.
You're advised to bring such items as sunscreen, binoculars, folding chairs and earplugs. But in this era of heightened security, it's more important to pay attention to what NOT to bring onto an Air Force base. There's a whole list at macdill.af.mil, but among the most important are guns (even toy ones), knives or blades of any kind, food or beverages from outside (except water in plastic bottles) and pets other than service animals.
Details: Gates open at 8 a.m. and aerial performances begin at 11:15 a.m. March 19-20, MacDill Air Force Base, 6801 S. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Admission: Free. Information: 813-828-1110, macdill.af.mil/airfest2016.
-- Marty Clear