A new not-for-profit society has been set up to help bring an airshow back to the Canadian Rockies International Airport on a regular basis.
Darrell Garton of Calgary, who has worked on airshows in B.C. and Alberta, is working to implement a biennial event, that would take place every two years starting in 2016.
“What we’re trying to do is bringing the event back to Cranbrook,” Garton told the Townsman. “I have a couple of airshow people here in Calgary that have been in the airshow industry for several years. We’ve also been asked by some of the people in Cranbrook to help bring it back.
“Over the years, there’ve been one or two, then it stopped, then it came back, then it stopped — that kind of thing.
“We’re looking at bringing this back on a two-year term, starting in 2016.
“We’re proposing a two-day event, with a twilight show in the evening, with the planes doing the fireworks — that kind of thing. Abbotsford just ran their first twilight show this year, and it went over really well. So this is what we’ve been trying to plan for you guys. Fireworks over the mountains, that kind of thing. It should be pretty exciting.”
A society has already been set up — the Cranbrook International Airshow — which is being run as a not-for-profit.
“So if the airshow makes money, all the funds go to pay the bills, with a little bit of reserve in the bank,” Garton said. “Any remaining funds go back to the city — so it will go towards the Air Cadets, the Boys and Girls Club, any of those groups who help out with the event will get some back. So the society doesn’t keep any funds, at the end of the day.”
Cranbrook is in a good geographic location for an airshow, Garton said.
“It’s the halfway point between Abbottsford and Calgary. Abbotsford does a big show. The only big show in Alberta is in Lethbridge, and they run in opposite years. We can grab a lot of crowd from the Okanagan and Kootenay region, we can also grab the people from southern Alberta that want to come down.
“The benefit of going on the opposite year from Lethbridge is that we can grab some of that crowd.
“The demographic is there.”
As to the dates of the airshow itself, Garton said he’s hoping to hold it sometime before the Abbottsford event. “That way we can grab some of the acts that are on the way to Abbottsford, and help keep our costs down.
First plan of action is to get a annual general meeting set up.
“We’ve been in the planning stage, with the City of Cranbrook and the Canadian Rockies International Airport,” Garton said. “We want to get local people involved. We want to get people coming out who are interested, who want to be on the board, be on the committee, and get input. What people want to see, what people expect.”
Garton is currently conferring with the City and the Airport, and is aiming for dates for the AGM in early October, the 7th or 8th of that month. The AGM would be held out at the airport grounds. Those dates are yet to be confirmed — though the City and Airport are supporting the Cranbrook International Airshow in its endeavours. As soon as the dates are confirmed, they will be reported in the Townsman.