Plans for the next Vanderhoof Airshow are taxiing down the runway.
Organizers of the pilot project last summer felt a strong tailwind of support so they are now powering up for the 2013 edition. Flight demonstrations, static aircraft displays, and a hangar party are scheduled for Aug. 10.
The results of the 2012 test event were so positive, said David Fehr, one of the principal volunteers, that they would have been facing an upset public if they didnt carry on.
Last years was pretty successful, said Fehr. We had lots of audience people, we had some great attractions and those people enjoyed themselves too, and we expect more this year.
Decades ago, the Vanderhoof Airshow was one of the region's primary tourist attractions and local entertainment events. It grew to such a level that organizational problems emerged. Vanderhoof was host for 17 airshows during the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
Some of the same organizers tried to move it to Prince George, and did hold five consecutive annual events starting in 1994 and won thousands of new fans, but financial problems behind the scenes caused the event to fold.
Since then no regular airshow has flown across any of the area's skies north of Quesnel. That city's Skyfest is an annual air extravaganza and this summer will feature the RCAF Snowbirds on Aug. 3 and 4.
Some of the Vanderhoof people who loved their original smalltown version, and inspired by the many upgrades done to the towns airport in recent years, got together in 2011 to revive the concept.
After the packed viewing areas last year, and the big crowd for the dinner and dance in the hangar that night, the evidence was clear that the idea had wings.
We will go ahead this year at the same time as the big Abbotsford International Airshow. Thats going to help us a lot, said Fehr. We aren't the kind of event that competes with them, but some of the acts that didnt get booked this year at Abbotsford will be available, and some of the acts doing Abbotsford could come up to our event and not land but do a fly-by.
The main confirmation they wanted, they got, said Fehr. Crowd favourite John Mrazek with his L29 Delphin (Cold War-era training jet for the Soviets) will be returning. Another pleasing re-signing was air boss Donna Flynn returning in 2013 to help co-ordinate the ups and downs.
Other attractions are pending.
Fehr said the organizing committee wants to deliberately limit the Vanderhoof Airshow to modest growth. "We want to keep it small, he said, so it never crashes under its own weight. Those were lessons learned from the previous incarnations in Vanderhoof and Prince George.
We had a good young crowd last summer, people who were too young to remember the old airshow, but now they have a taste for it, and if the feedback is true we will be getting lots of community support, Fehr said.
New this coming year will be static displays from the old days of the Vanderhoof Airshow. We want to keep the Vanderhoof air industrys history alive, Fehr said.
Anyone who wants to help volunteer or begin sponsorship talks can contact Vanderhoof Airshow organizers via the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce / Visitor Centre located at 2353 Burrard Ave. in Vanderhoof, or call 250-567-2124 (toll free 1-800-752-4094), or email i...@vanderhoofchamber.com.
There is virtually no end to the audience capacity at the Vanderhoof airport for the daytime flight spectacles, but there is limited seating for the banquet and dance in the hangar that night.