More than 100 people gathered in Woodstock on Saturday to celebrate the local airport's 55th anniversary.
The day's festivities at the Woodstock Airport included a barbecue, live music and plane rides.
"When we have events like this, we like to get people up in the air, let them see what it's like to go flying," said Woodstock Flying Association president Matthew McLatchy.
He said the airport has gained some momentum over the last few years, which deserves to be celebrated.
"It is becoming a larger part of the community.... It has been quiet for the past decade or so, but recently two flight schools have moved into the area and that has improved the population up here at the airport," he said.
McLatchy said more planes are landing and taking off on a regular basis at the airport as it supports the Woodstock Aviation Services and Aventure Flight Academy schools.
Matthew McLatchey, president of the Woodstock Flying Association, said the Woodstock Airport has seen more planes flying in an out over the last few years. (Sam Farley/CBC News)
There are about 30 planes that use the airport, said McLatchy, the majority of which are privately owned.
The airport was previously situated on an island on the St. John River, but was forced to relocate when the Mactaquac dam was built.
Saturday marked 55 years since the airport opened at its present location.
Tim Cook, a pilot and lifelong resident of Woodstock, said he was excited to see so many people celebrating the airport and hopes the event sparked intrigue for those attending.
"It's great.... As we all know, aviation is a big thing in the world and we're just trying to promote it and get more pilots and expand someday down the road," he said.
Mark Van Berkel, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilot Association, made the flight from Ottawa to attend the event. It was his first time in the western New Brunswick town and he was pleasantly surprised.
Mark Van Berkel, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilot Association, said he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout Saturday. (Sam Farley/CBC News)
"It looks like they have a great operation, great community support.... I'm really surprised to see the number of airplanes that are here, the number of people that are here," said Van Berkel, "It's all really good stuff."
Van Berkel said it was "amazing" to see the amount of cars parked on his way into the airport and said it's not always common for small airports to have such strong community support.
He said airports like Woodstock's are essential to supporting the future of aviation and local economies.
Hopes to expand
McLatchey said the airport helps drive the local economy and he hopes to see it expanded and approved for air ambulance services.
The association has spent the last couple of years seriously considering the need for air ambulance services, but McLatchy said it will likely take another two years before the airport is ready to take that on.
"If someone is seriously hurt here and needs to be flown out, we want Woodstock to be that base of operations so people can come and get that life saving support," said McLatchey.
He said the closest airport that offers those services is the Fredericton International Airport, which is about an hour drive from Woodstock.