What to know if you’re attending USAFA graduation

Air Force Academy Graduation_267230

The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Class of 2019 graduation ceremony, featuring a commencement speech by President Donald Trump, is coming up Thursday at Falcon Stadium. 

Tickets for the event are no longer available. About 19,000 tickets were given to graduating cadets and their families and friends. The other tickets were handed out to service members, Academy employees, and the general public. Everyone attending the ceremony, including children, must have a ticket. 

The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 30. Due to strict security requirements and the large number of people expected to attend, the Academy encourages attendees to arrive as early as possible. Air Force Academy gates will open at 6 a.m. to allow attendees to reach the stadium and begin parking. Gates to the stadium open at 7:30 a.m. 

Entry into the stadium is not permitted once the ceremony begins. Guests may not leave until after the Thunderbirds complete their performance. 

Guests may be asked to step through metal detectors when entering the stadium. Bags, purses, and other hand-carried items may be searched. 

The following items are prohibited: 

  • Illegal substances, including marijuana, which is illegal on federal property.
  • Firearms, knives, box cutters, scissors, or any weapon.
  • Alcohol, glass containers, bottles, cans, aerosol sprays, hard sided (or Nalgene) plastic bottles.
  • Hand bags larger than 12 by 12 by 12 inches.
  • Hard-sided containers or coolers.
  • Backpacks, including bota bags, wine-skins and camelbaks.
  • Laser pointers, fireworks, or any item deemed unsafe by security personnel.
  • Unapproved banners or signs larger than 18 by 24 inches.
  • Sticks, bats, poles, umbrellas, footballs, Frisbees, or inflatable balls.
  • Any artificial noisemaker.
  • Baby seats or large strollers. Collapsible strollers are allowed.
  • Any item that cannot be readily inspected.
  • Flash photography.
  • Any type of smoking or tobacco, including e-cigarettes.
  • Seatbacks wider than 19 inches.

The following items are allowed: 

  • Food is allowed, but must be displayed in a transparent 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Each ticket-holder may have only one 1-gallon Ziploc.
  • Sunscreen is permitted but restricted to a 6-ounce or-less tube. Bottles and aerosol spray are not allowed into the stadium.
  • Factory-sealed transparent soft plastic water bottles are restricted to 24 ounces in size. Water is the only beverage permitted to be carried into the stadium. Exceptions may be made for visitors with medical conditions and for infants.
  • Infant diaper bags and carrier packs are permitted when an infant is present.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant service animals are allowed.

In the event of severe weather or a security response to a high-threat world situation, the ceremony could be moved to the Clune Arena, Cadet Field House. Because the arena is smaller than Falcon Stadium, this move would restrict attendance to the graduating cadets and three of their guests. For this reason, the Academy makes every attempt to hold the ceremony outdoors in Falcon Stadium, even in less-than-ideal weather conditions. If the ceremony location is changed, an announcement will be made by 7 a.m. Thursday. 

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