Thunder Over Utah preview party; west hillside area closed to spectators

The Blue Angels greet St. George with their famous carrier break landing maneuver above the new airport, St. George, Utah, July 23, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Thunder Over Utah Air Show will fly high with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels this Saturday and Sunday at the St. George Municipal Airport, but fans can get a sneak peek at some of the other performers from this year’s show and kick off air show weekend at the Friday Night Preview Party, Friday from 5-9 p.m.

The Friday Night Preview Party will feature demonstrations by several of the air show’s world-class performers as well as live music provided by Southern Utah’s high-octane and classic rock band The Lawn Darts. The Lawn Darts have previously opened for Styx, Kansas and The Beach Boys.

Attendees will experience the U.S. Army Golden Knights as they execute a team twilight jump, and Matt Younkin and his Beech 18 will perform the most unique act in the air show industry.

There will also be a World War II air and ground battle reenactment featuring the P-51C Mustang, a fiery display by the School Time Jet School Bus, jet flybys from the Western Sky Warbird Museum and much more.

Aircraft static and ground displays will be open for viewing, and food and beverage concessions will be available. Although the Blue Angels aircraft will be on ground display during Friday Night’s Preview Party, the team is only scheduled to fly during the Saturday and Sunday shows.

Gates open at 5 p.m. The Lawn Darts concert will begin at 5:30 p.m., and flying will begin at 6:30 p.m. Advance discount tickets can be purchased at the gate or through the Thunder Over Utah website.

Preview party tickets

  • Advance tickets $10
  • Friday: $15 gate price

General admission

  • Saturday: Advance tickets $30 | Gate price $35 | Kids 15 and younger free for general admission
  • Sunday: Advance tickets $25 | Gate price $30 | Kids 15 and younger free for general admission
  • Parking: Advance tickets $10 | Gate price $15

West general aviation gate closed

The St. George Police Department would also like to remind the public that access to west general aviation gate and surrounding hillside (the Little Valley side) will be closed to spectators.

“This area is safety box set by the Blue Angels,” the St. George Police said in a statement Friday. “Please do not attempt to enter the area from this side of the airport. You will be turned away. We also want to make sure you drink plenty of water and above all, enjoy the show.”

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  • BUD July 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    As a boy we visited Miramar Naval Air station in San Diego, CA. to view the Blue Angels and other attractions. It didn’t cost us anything because it was our military showing off its might at tax payer money. This is still the case. But now what have with you, a list of don’t and don’t do’s. Might as well have an ice-cream social, but charging ridiculous admissions and PARKING? Tell me who benefits from this rip off, tell me! And with all the restrictions on admittance, I really find it a loss to attend at such a ridiculous expense . 50,000 fools, you got to be kidding.

  • Diane July 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I agree with you Bud, I went to see them at Vandenburg AFB in Southern Cali and we didn’t pay anything, not to park or get in, they even bused people in from around the area who didn’t want to drive and park. Now they are telling us we can’t sit on the hillside and watch? That us where I sat last time they were there with many others…but the city CANT lose their money…it is a shame!!!

  • Cindy July 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I agree, I am a retired military spouse and we always took our children to the air shows for free. I cannot believe you think $30 plus parking is acceptable in this day and age. Air shows are where our military shine and take pride in what they do for our country. What a shame ST. George had to be so greedy. I will sit in my back yard and maybe get a glimpse of the jets for free.

  • A volunteer July 26, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Would just like to point out a couple of things here. At military bases, you the taxpayer are paying the expenses for the shows that you see there. SGU is not a military base and this is not a military-sponsored show, so all of the expenses for the show have to be paid through revenues generated by ticket sales, concession sales, and sponsorships.

    The expenses can be exceptionally high. For example, the show has to pay for having the arresting gear put in for the safety of the Blue Angels planes. That will probably run over $10,000, as the military will not put the gear in for free. The government charges civilian air shows $6,000 a day to appear. The aviation gasoline that the performers use has to be paid for by the show (almost $6 a gallon), plus their appearance fees have to be paid.

    Also, note that there are NO military planes appearing besides the Blue Angels. Almost ALL appearances (static displays and fly-bys) by military aircraft have been shut down because of budget limitations, so air shows HAVE to pay to have the owners of those old warbirds and civilian performers come in to display their planes and fly them during the show. Oh, and there are tons of other expenses involved.

    Finally, you have to understand that the Yankee Air Museum ( in Ypsilanti, MI is producing this show. It’s a non-profit organization that preserves the rich history of the Willow Run Airport, which is where thousands of B-24 bombers were produced during WW2. All of the museum’s volunteers that are here, are exactly that – they have to take time off from their jobs to put on the show, and we get no pay for what they do. The proceeds from the show (if any) go towards the educational and historical preservation efforts of the museum.

    So please understand that the ticket proceeds and other revenues being generated by the show aren’t just being wasted, nor are they going into some fiscal “black hole” – they are being used to support the show, and they are going to support a terrific cause.

    • jg July 26, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Then perhaps this isn’t the best idea for entertainment in St George. Nellis has a free show in Nov and SLC has one in July. The cost of admittance for two adults and parking would more that cover the gas costs to go to Vegas.

    • MAV July 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm


  • A volunteer July 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Oh, and about the “safety box” – that is an FAA requirement, no people or equipment can be in the “box” while the Blues are performing.

  • A volunteer July 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

    A clarification on the “appearance fee” – that $6,000 per day is what the military charges for each day that the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds appear at a civilian air show, so the total fee for the show is $12,000. That fee has to be paid for out of revenues generated by the show.

    • Bender July 26, 2014 at 10:24 am

      The actual cost of a blue angels airshow would bankrupt the city. The cost is almost completely borne by the DOD. You couldn’t even fire up and launch one of those aircraft for $12k., let alone bring the entire circus here for a few days and do in-site practice before hand. Actual cost would be in the millions.

  • JAR July 26, 2014 at 11:46 am

    What a bunch of tight wades. If you can’t afford it, that’s your business. Stop bitching. (At lease all the kids less than 16yrs get in free. Think about it). What’s your support for our men in the sky worth? You should also thanks your city for trying to pull this off each year too. Back when I was a kid, we would go to the drive in movies. Maybe six people hiding in the trunk. (free stuff) Sometimes we would get away with it, sometimes not. For some reason, we never yelled discrimination.

  • San July 27, 2014 at 1:35 am

    I don’t think the city of Van Nuys, CA has ever charged for their Air Show and they are not a base either, or wealthy. I think we are missing facts somewhere. Just a guess….

  • Super Grover July 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Most of these comments are SO Southern Utah. “You owe me everything I want, at no expense to me.” It’s always somebody else’s responsibility to absorb all the costs involved in providing you with what you want.

  • MAV July 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    My family and I drove from Las Vegas to see this show and we are very pleased with all individuals involved with the show, as well as the wonderful show itself. If you don’t have anything positive to say then keep your comments to yourself. Don’t try to ruin this event for everyone who did enjoy the show and who is willing to pay (a very small contribution) to a worthy form of entertainment. Why don’t you negative people come to Las Vegas and waste your money on our crappy shows and lose your money gambling. Thank you to all responsible for this AWESOME show of our military and aeronautics.

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