After an 18-year layover, the Vanderhoof International Airshow took off again on Saturday.
Vanderhoof hosted 17 airshows between the 1970s and 1990s, before the shows ended in 1995. Glenn Pearce, who helped organize the show alongside Dave Fehr and Peet Vahi, said this year's small-scale show will be a stepping stone for bigger things in the future.
"We're very happy with the turnout. I'm sure next year will be bigger and better," Pearce said. "It was great to have it back."
Pearce estimated that attendance at the show was in excess of 2,000 people, although final numbers were not available as of press time.
Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen said he was impressed by the volunteers and sponsors who organized and put on the event.
"It shows there is a real desire to see this come back to Vanderhoof," Thiessen said. "This has been a long time coming, waiting for the airshow to return."
The afternoon-long event featured a display of aircraft ranging from restored biplanes to an Vietnam War-era jet. A concert, dinner and dance in the airport's new hanger closed out the show.
But the highlight was a series of aerial acrobats and precision flying demonstrations.
Pilot John Mrazek opened the show with acrobatic stunts in his restored Harvard Mk II -a Second World War-era plane used to train fighter pilots.
Mrazek, whose aerial stunts were featured in the original Vanderhoof International Airshow, said he was glad to be back.
"I would like to thank the city of Vanderhoof and the community... for their efforts to get the airshow together," Mrazek said. "I am hoping the airshow is going to go every year from now on."
The Harvard is a flying piece of Canadian history, he said. The planes were used to train thousands of pilots from Canada, the U.S. and British Commonwealth.
Drew and David Watson of Edmonton also brought their pair of bright yellow Harvards to Vanderhoof to put on a display of formation flying.
The trio of Harvards closed out the show with a high-speed race around the airfield, which also included two CJ-6 Nanchangs -a similar, Chinese-made trainer - flow by Paul Dumoret and Curtis Mann. Dumoret also entertained the crowd with a solo stunt demonstration.
Ron Andrews thrilled the crowd with loops, power dives, hammerhead turns and other tricks in his Pitts Special stunt biplane -named The Blender.
Mrazek's son, Michael Mrazek, also took to the air in an L-29 Delfin jet. The 1960s Soviet training jet rocketed overhead at speeds in excess of 800 kilometres per hour.
The airshow made an impression on brothers Timothy and Sammy Klassen.
"It was really cool. I liked the race," Timothy, 9, said.
Sammy, 6, was more impressed by Mrazek's stunts in the L-29.
Grandparents Ike and Anne Thiessen said they were glad to see the show make it's return to Vanderhoof.
"It's always been a family show," Ike Thiessen said. "I'm glad to see it back."
Teen Hailey Gatacre said the show was, "awesome."
"My mom told me about going to it when she was younger," Gatacre said. "I'm excited to be able to see it."
Lorne Clarke said his six-year-old son had been excited all morning, waiting to go to the show.
"He's super excited," Clarke said. "It brings back great memories. I grew up in Toronto and saw the shows there. Volunteers have really stepped up to the plate to make this happen. They're doing a great job."