CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — A big weekend is in store for St. Louis aviation fanatics. The Spirit of St. Louis Air Show this weekend is the first show since 2019. This year’s event is set to bring tens of thousands of people to the Chesterfield area, which means a lot of traffic.
“Very popular. Tens of thousands of people come out to the event, and it’s a small regional airport with small roads. So, there will be traffic,” said Mark Sutherland, an air show volunteer.
Sutherland said in years past, the event has brought terrible traffic backups. But the good news is since the last show three years ago, event organizers have worked on some solutions to make things go smoother.
“We’ve spent the last couple of years working with Chesterfield police, St. Louis County professional parking companies, and professional traffic companies to really optimize what really isn’t a great traffic situation,” Sutherland said.
He said the biggest change is there will be multiple lanes open for parking to get in and out of the event. No matter what direction you are traveling from, Chesterfield and St. Louis traffic will be separated, and parking is included with your ticket purchase to make entering easier.
A map of the airport shows the routes drivers will need to take. The main entry is off Highway 64/40 and Chesterfield Airport Road. Drivers will then need to take a right on Olive Street and left at Spirit Airpark Drive. Parking will be by the entrance.
“With that said, despite the changes, there will still be traffic. Come early! We open at 9:30 a.m. for a reason. The air show starts at 11:30, so don’t try to show up at noon, you’re going to sit in traffic,” Sutherland explains.
Over in St. Louis County, if you are traveling on I-170 to the airshow, a section of 170 between St. Charles Rock Road and Page will be shut down until Monday. MoDOT said this is for bridge repair work, and there will be detour routes.
“Maybe some minor congestion on our detour routes. Hopefully, we planned it out for a weekend that doesn’t involve a lot of extra congestion and a lot of extra hardship for drivers,” said MoDOT engineer Aaron Hugenberg. “What we’re doing this weekend is we’re removing the bridge deck. We need to close down 170 because we’re not sure where the debris going to land, and we don’t want to affect any motorist driving underneath that bridge.”
Highway 64/40 is also expected to see heavy traffic heading in and out of the airshow. Sutherland warns motorists to be patient, take their time, and don’t pick a parking spot on the highway instead.
“Find somewhere that safe. It’s an airshow! You can enjoy it by just looking up, and that’s a fantastic thing about it. But please, be safe as you come out and enjoy the day,” Sutherland said.
There are other important things to know before you come to the airshow. According to the airshow’s website:
“No large coolers, food or beverages are permitted. Exceptions are for small coolers carrying lifesaving medicine or formula bottles/food for young infants (subject to search).There are many food and beverage vendors on the grounds that will provide a variety of food and drink choices. Many of the concessions will be staffed by volunteers from local charities and would appreciate your support. Each guest will be allowed to bring in ONE sealed bottle of water under a liter in size. A fill water station will be available on the event grounds. A “cooler” is anything that was designated to insulate. Loose ice is prohibited because it is difficult to search. Ice packs are permitted. Should you wish to bring your own lunch, it must remain in your vehicle and you will be permitted to return to the vehicle to consume it. Re-entry is permitted until 3pm. Keep your ticket stub and get your hand stamped as you exit.”
General admission viewing is in the open field area, and there is no seating included with general admission tickets. Guests are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. They are also responsible for their property during the entire event. No umbrellas can be attached to your chair.
Handheld umbrellas are permitted. Umbrellas are not allowed in any of the reserved seating areas. Large beach umbrellas or umbrellas placed on the ground are not permitted nor are any other tent or awning structures.
No pets are allowed on the air show grounds or left in cars inside the air show parking areas. Service dogs are permitted. Please be mindful of the noise and how it may affect your service animal.
LIST OF PROHIBITED ITEMS:
- No balloons
- No portable awnings, tents, or canopies
- No alcoholic beverages
- No smoking
- No pets
- No bicycles
- No weapons of any kind (including concealed carry permit holders)
- No skateboards, hoverboards, or Segways
- No scooters (except for physically challenged persons)
- No in-line skates
- No outside food or drinks* – Each guest will be allowed to bring in ONE sealed bottle of water under a liter in size. A fill water station will be available on the event grounds.
- No coolers*
- No loose ice*
- No glass
- No drones
- Overnight camping is not allowed
- All bags are subject to search at the entry gate
* The event will only permit the entry of a small cooler carrying life-saving medicines or formula bottles for young infants kept cold with ice packs.
* An empty refillable water bottle is permitted. A fill water station will be available on the event grounds.