Pemberton Airshow takes flight By Oona Woods There's going to be serious power in the skies above Spud Valley as the second annual Pemberton Airshow takes place Thursday, July 23 at the Pemberton Airport. Up to 5,000 people are expected to attend the fledgling show. One of the highlights will be the appearance of Canada's nine-plane strong aerobatic team, The Snowbirds. They will be dancing in the air in their Canadair CT-114 Tutor jets for your white knuckle entertainment. The team is currently on a 45 location tour across North America. Since their inception in 1971, the Snowbirds have performed in front of 85 million spectators, and now it's your turn. In fact, the Pemberton Airshow is the only airshow in this region this year. Local councillor and airshow organizer Bruce Van Mook says Pemberton gained ground quite unexpectedly. "Some variables brought a greater focus to Pemberton," he said. "There was the demise of the Abbotsford Airshow for good. It just got to be too big there. Then Pitt Meadows cancelled. So low and behold little Pemberton has become the only airshow in the Lower Mainland." Snowbirds aside, there will be another five airborne exhibits, including Bill Carter in a Pitts Special, Ken Fowler in a Harmon Rocket, Canadian Forces Search and Rescue in a Buffalo Airplane and a Labrador helicopter, and the Canadian Warbirds Association Harvards and Albatros. Van Mook says the airshow was started out of sheer enthusiasm. "There were several reasons for going ahead with it last year. Firstly I have a personal love of aviation. More importantly when I was elected to council we wanted to bring a greater focus to the airport. So the airshow was created by a group of volunteers. It was small but well received. There's a resolve there in the community to promote Pemberton. You have a real love of aviation in the group of volunteers. "The weather wasn't great last year, there were no toilets — at least they all broke at noon — and there was no food. But there were still 1,500 people there." This year all of that has changed. As well as a plethora of toilets there will be a food court holding everything from Tex-Mex to Sushi, and even a beer garden. "There is a tremendous amount of potential here," says Van Mook. "This could become Pemberton's World Cup. The spin off from 3,000-5,000 people coming in could put a tremendous amount of money into the community. If we can pull it off this year, with the weather and everything, we can build on it. I don't know how much bigger than the Snowbirds we can get. If you look at the analogy of crawling, then walking, then running, we skipped walking. It's amazing." The gates will open to airplane enthusiasts at 8 a.m. July 23 and there will be breakfast on hand for those that were too excited to eat before arriving. Static aircraft displays will occupy everyone's attention until noon. Van Mook says this is a perfect opportunity for the public to get close to the planes. "There's lots happening on the ground. The static display runs for four hours. The planes aren't going anywhere so people can meet the pilots and that sort of thing." The airshow begins at 1 p.m. and will include all kinds of wild and crazy stunts, such as big diamonds, vulcans, concords, double-lobs, vertical reverses, level rolls and all sorts of formation flying by the Snowbirds. The airborne segment of the show will last until approximately 4:30 p.m., when the Snowbirds will land and provide the public with an opportunity to meet the pilots for autographs, pictures and questions. Parking is available for $2 per car and there's a shuttle back and forth to the airport. All profits from the day will go directly to the Pemberton Lion's Club and the Pemberton Museum Society.