Luke Days is a special event held at Luke Air Force base every other year (in the odd years). The two-day show is a unique combination of aerial demonstrations, military aircraft ground displays, exhibits, and attractions. In 2011 more than 200,000 people were estimated to have attended. In 2013, the event was canceled due to federal budget cuts. Thankfully, it's back in 2014. The theme is "Lightning in the Desert."
When is the Luke Days event?
March 15 and 16, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Sheduled air shows begin at 11 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.
Where is it?
It can be a little complicated getting to the event, since this is a secure, operational Air Force Base. Handicapped and parking pass holders will be able to park on the base. Entry for those cars will be at the North Gate on Litchfield Road. There is a limited number of handicapped parking spots, so if the lot is full when you get there, Parking Lot B with the shuttle is your second option.
All others will park in off-property lots. There is a $10 charge to park. You can either walk or take a shuttle to and from the event. Walkers will park in Parking Lot A (from the Loop 101, exit on Glendale Ave. and drive west towards Litchfield Road). Those wanting to park and shuttle will park in Parking Lot B (from the Loop 101 exit at Northern Ave or Olive Ave, drive west to Dysart or El Mirage Road, turn north to Peoria Ave. and at Peoria turn left or west).
There will be some street closures in the area -- it will be a very busy place! Leave extra tome to get there and be patient. More details about parking and restrictions are outlined here.
The Arizona Department of Transportation usually provides detailed motorist information, including any travel or road restrictions, for this event. Call 5-1-1, then *7. The call is free.
How do I get tickets and how much are they?
There are no tickets. This is a free admission event for everyone and it's a unique family activity.
What else should I know about Luke Days?
The 2014 Luke Days "Lightning in the Desert" open house will feature several exciting acts and dozens of static displays. The headlining act, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, will be performing both Saturday and Sunday. There will be an F-16 close air support demonstration and a Marine Corps AV-8 Harrier demonstration, among others.
Although more than 100,000 people attend each day of Luke Days, there's plenty of room for everyone. Chairs are permitted this year. If you have young children, bring a stroller or wagon for them. You can bring bottled water. Leave the pets at home. No coolers or backpacks are allowed.
Children love Luke Days. When your kids start to get a little bored you can take them to visit the kids' zone. Of course, there are also many military airplanes on the ground that they can walk right up to. In some cases, they can get inside. Those static displays are free.
Bring your binoculars, and bring the camera. Dress in layers -- it can be cold in the morning even if it warms up later in the afternoon. For most of the shows, you'll be looking up, so there's little reason to try to get a position in front. Be prepared with ear protection, since it can get loud. I recommend buying a package of those foam, disposable ear plugs from any pharmacy. That should be enough for the whole family. With all that looking up at the sky, don't forget the sunscreen!
What if I have more questions?For more information, visit Luke Days online.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.