As the Air Force Academy’s 2019 graduation ceremony approaches, Colorado Springs residents and visitors will have several opportunities to see the famed Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team overhead.

The Thunderbirds will fly over the academy about 11:30 a.m. Monday for a site survey, then practice their performance over Falcon Stadium from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Finally, the Thunderbirds will conclude the graduation ceremony Thursday with a 30-minute show. Weather permitting, the performance will begin around 2:30 p.m., just after the hat toss.

While the academy reminded people not to stop along Interstate 25 to watch the performances, some local businesses are inviting people to watch from their properties on Thursday.

• A watch party will be held at The Promenade Shops at Briargate, 1885 Briargate Parkway. “Join us on the patio next to Ted’s Montana Grill for a spectacular view of the USAF Thunderbirds as they soar over northern Colorado Springs to celebrate the USAFA graduating class of 2019,” an advertisement says of the free event. “Enjoy sips & snacks, while supplies last. Bring blankets, folding chairs, camera, binoculars and enjoy the show.”

• For $20 admission, get one draft beer or nonalcoholic beverage and watch the show from “from the best seat in Colorado Springs” — the patio of Boot Barn Hall, 13071 Bass Pro Drive, an advertisement says. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. Buy tickets online at

• The Western Museum of Mining and Industry, 225 North Gate Blvd., is hosting its annual “Picnic N Planes” event from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for those “in need of a safe, family-friendly spot to witness all the action.” The event costs $5 per vehicle, and while refreshments will be available, spectators also are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch. To reserve a spot, visit the museum’s website.

As mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Santa Fe Trail and roads under the show area will be closed during the practice run and graduation day performance. Falcon Stadium and its parking lot also will be closed to the public during the practice run.

The following will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday:

• Stadium Boulevard from the Tri-intersection Bridge to Parade Loop

• Community Center Drive from Stadium Boulevard to E. Douglass Drive

• Academy Drive from Stadium Drive to the Falcon Club

• Santa Fe Trail from the Tri-intersection Bridge to Parade Loop

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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