Dayton Air Show prepares for big crowds with access improvements

Southbound surface street traffic will be directed to general admission parking via Falls Creek Drive to Northwoods.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

The Dayton Air Show is fast approaching, and show leaders continue to refine traffic and parking plans in an effort to avoid the traffic hassles that tormented last year’s show, when some 80,000 visitors over the course of a July weekend snarled Interstate 75 traffic in both directions.

The CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show Presented by Kroger will be July 22 and 23. Show officials continue to build a new access point off Northwoods Boulevard and Engle Road to direct traffic into the main general admissions parking lot off North Dixie Drive.

And they are asking show visitors once again to arrive early.

There is only so much anyone can do to alleviate traffic snarls, said Scott Buchanan, chairman of the U.S. Air and Trade Show, the nonprofit organization that produces the show.

Last year, the number people attending the show was roughly equivalent to six sold-out University of Dayton arenas being funneled into the area around Dayton International Airport over two days.

With the flying portion of the show starting at about noon both Saturday and Sunday — weather permitting — too often visitors will arrive at about 10 a.m. or 10:30 a.m.

Show organizers are advising visitors to come earlier.

“Most air shows in the country had the same issues we had, some much worse,” Buchanan said in a new interview. “You can only squeeze so many cars in a certain period of time. We want to push getting here early.”

Ticket sales have been brisk for the coming show. While last year’s show brought in about 80,000 visitors, the 2021 show, hampered by poor weather and quickly changing post-pandemic organization, attendance was closer to just 50,000.

Show leaders have made a couple of big changes to parking and traffic control for the 49th Dayton Air Show.

First, the show has shifted to pre-paid parking. General admission parking will not be sold at the event.

Those attending the show are asked to purchase parking vouchers when they buy tickets, eliminating the need to conduct a lengthy parking lot transaction with each entering vehicle.

Second, the show is having an unpaved three-lane access road built to accommodate traffic coming off the Northwoods exits from Interstate 75.

The new access road will start just off the intersection of Northwoods and Engle Road, just west of the I-75 ramps. Traffic coming off the I-75-Northwoods exit from both directions will be pointed to that access road.

Tickets and parking purchases may be found at

The show is also changing how southbound surface street traffic off the interstate is directed to general admissions parking.

If you’re driving south from Tipp City or elsewhere in Miami County on North Dixie toward the airport, you will be directed to Falls Creek Drive, then right on Northwoods, and from there to the new parking access road.

Kevin Franklin, the show’s executive director, said that plan was created with Vandalia police.

“It brings you down into Kroger (at 780 Northwoods Blvd.), and then turning right onto Northwoods, to come back across the Interstate (75) to get into the parking lot,” Franklin said.

All interstate traffic, from north and south, will continue to egress at the Northwoods exit, being directed to dedicated lanes to general admissions parking.

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