Airshow draws estimated crowd of 130,000

Attendance was up about 30 per cent at this year's three-day event at Abbotsford International Airport

Two F-16 Falcons of the highly popular USAF Thunderbirds – one of them in an inverted position –  make a pass over the showline during the 50th annual Abbotsford Airshow last weekend.

Two F-16 Falcons of the highly popular USAF Thunderbirds – one of them in an inverted position – make a pass over the showline during the 50th annual Abbotsford Airshow last weekend.

An estimated crowd of 130,000 people attended the 50th annual Abbotsford International Airshow over the three-day event, Aug. 10-13.

That’s up by about 30 per cent from the average attendance (80,000 to 100,000) over the past few years.

Mary Lee, media director for the show, said final numbers have yet to be calculated, but all indicators suggest 2012 was a “stellar” show.

“From the weather, to the crowds, to the flow of the performers, the energy and enthusiasm of the pilots and performers, the static line-up was absolutely tremendous – I don’t think there are enough adjectives to describe just how successful and entertaining this weekend was,” she said.

In celebration of its 50th year, airshow organizers put together a strong mix of aircraft, both in the sky and on the tarmac.

Lee said a large array of craft, including contemporary jets and vintage planes dating further back than the airshow itself, were on display.

She wouldn’t speculate whether the good weather or  the golden anniversary should be credited for attracting the big crowds, but did say organizers promoted the event heavily on social media.

“It created a buzz and went viral,” said Lee.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds were one of the major attractions and a fan favourite at the show and online.

Lee spent much of her time monitoring Twitter and Facebook.

“The Snowbirds and Thunderbirds were all the talk. Crowds loved them.”

Organizers are already beginning to plan for the 51st annual show in August 2013.