Spectators face delays after air show - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Spectators face delays after air show

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VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio -
Despite soggy weekend weather, more than 30,000 people attended the Thunder Over the Valley Air Show.

On Saturday, 8,300 fought the rainy weather.  Fair skies on Sunday brought out more than 21,500 people.

The thousands of spectators may have been too much for the provided shuttle services and those in charge of the show recognize there was a problem. 

The Thunderbirds took off without a hitch in front of a packed crowd, and all eyes were on the skies.

When the show was over, some show goers say they were forced to wait for a way back to their cars. Some say they waited up to three hours after the final landing at 5 p.m.

"There are logistical concerns when you get into moving that number of people from one place to another," said Master Sgt. Bob Barko, public affairs superintendent at the 910th Airlift Wing.

21 News Facebook followers shared their experiences with the long wait, so we asked about the hold up.

The airport parking lot was not permitted to be used due to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations and a nearby field that was used during the last show for parking was not available this time around. 

Barko says about 150 buses were used to shuttle members of the public back to their cars parked at the Eastwood Mall complex and a Delphi parking lot.

He says they plan to review and fix any issues moving forward. "You plan as best as possible to take care of it, but anything can always be better," Barko said. "It's never perfect and we take what we learned this time and we'll adjust as needed."

Moving such a sizable crowd came with challenges that authorities working the event expected.

"Part of the problem is the infrastructure around the airport," said Ernest Cook says chief deputy with the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office. "We just have two-lanes, but overall, we anticipated it would take a little bit of time."

Barko says the base has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

It was five years since the Thunderbirds came to town and the plan is to make sure fans won't have to wait that long to see them fly again.

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