Now that the planes have landed and the crowds have dispersed, organizers are saying this year’s Abbotsford International Airshow was a great success.
Jim Reith, the new president of the airshow, said the performances and the attendance were strong throughout the event, which ran Friday through Sunday.
The number of attendees has not yet been calculated, but Reith said that spectatorship was solid for a year without American military planes, which were grounded due to U.S. budget cuts.
“We went out and looked for interesting aircrafts and I think we had a good static lineup… We had virtually everything that the Canadian Air Force has to offer, either flying or on static display.
Reith added that the airshow is a weather-driven event, so early morning clouds on Saturday and Sunday had him initially concerned.
“But then as soon as the blue sky blew open, the crowd built steadily in and by mid-afternoon we had good crowds both days.”
Reith said that speaking with spectators, Rob Holland and the 4CE were a crowd favourite, as well Greg Colyer and his T-33 – “the Acemaker” – who performed in Abbotsford for the first time.
Reith, an ex-Snowbird, said he thought their performance this year was exceptionally strong.
“It was an extremely solid, tight show, with not many gaps between maneuvers, so it was excellent.”
Another success was the Kids Zone, an area with fun activities to keep kids occupied, like bouncy castles and mini-putt. Reith said the Kids Zone was at capacity throughout the weekend, and will likely be doubled in size next year.
“I think we proved this year that we can put on an exceptionally entertaining program even if the U.S. Military doesn’t come,” he said, but added that they hope the U.S. planes will return next year.
Overall, Reith said he is pleased with the success of the airshow.
“I’m ecstatic on how it went.”