Organizers 'overwhelmed' by huge crowds on Day 1 of Alberta International Airshow

·1 min read
For those who were able to get into the Alberta International Airshow Saturday, there was a lot to see, including civilian and military aerial performers. (Nathan Gross/CBC - image credit)
For those who were able to get into the Alberta International Airshow Saturday, there was a lot to see, including civilian and military aerial performers. (Nathan Gross/CBC - image credit)

Organizers were "overwhelmed" as a huge crowd turned out for the first day of the Alberta International Airshow Saturday.

Many spectators waited hours in traffic heading northwest of Edmonton to the Villeneuve Airport event, formerly called the Edmonton Airshow.

But the slow trip out was worth it, according to people who came out to the airshow.

"Seeing a jet fly over ... the sound, the rumble, that's not something you get to see every day," Steve Power said. "So it's kind of exciting."

The air show was cancelled in 2019 due to soggy conditions and again in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers planned for about 15,000 people to attend, based on advance ticket sales. But attendance soared over 25,000, causing major traffic jams on the roadways leading in.

Nathan Gross/CBC
Nathan Gross/CBC

"We were all overwhelmed, we were all surprised," said Richard Skermer, president and CEO of the Alberta International Airshow.

"There was the parking lot hiccups today, but that literally was people deciding in the morning, 'Let's go see the air show.'"

Rain in Sunday's forecast for Day 2 of the airshow, and "pent-up demand" for events and activities, likely were factors in the unexpected amount of walk-in attendance, he added.

For those who were able to get in, there was a lot to see, including civilian and military aerial performers. Highlights included the USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II demo team, RCAF CF-18 demo team and the USN EA-18G Growler demo team.

The Alberta International Airshow runs Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Nathan Gross/CBC
Nathan Gross/CBC
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