Get your oohs and ahs ready — the Snowbirds are coming back to Niagara-
Ever-interested in increasing its fundraising and awareness, the Niagara Historical Society and Museum has decided to bring the iconic fliers to town this September for an unforgettable affair at the Niagara District Airport. The society’s goal is to raise $20,000 for planned renovations and expansion.
Tickets for the Sept. 11 event went on sale May 1, and can only be purchased through the event’s website, at notlsnowbirds.ca.
There are two ways to enjoy the show at this fundraiser: VIP and general admission.
The former is $90 per ticket ($35 for guests aged two to 18), and takes place inside the on-site hangar.
“Allied Aviation has been great,” says Cheryl Morris, who has volunteered to do the marketing and communications for the event. “The airport has been fantastic. They love the event, and are very supportive.”
VIP access will include food stations from Niagara Catering/PigOut; two free drinks supplied by either Konzelmann Estate Winery or The Exchange Brewery; cash bar for further drinks; a chance to meet the Snowbirds, talk with them and get photos; and an optimum viewing site. “It’s a great place to see the show, from inside the hangar,” says Morris. She says there are 400 tickets available for this option.
General access can hold up to 3,000 people. Morris says there were more than 2,000 in attendance two years ago — and costs $10 per person. Entry is free for those 12 and under. This area will feature food trucks from PigOut, Johnny Rocco’s, Hometown Ice Cream and Train Coffee. The Niagara Region Water Wagon will be there too, so bring your own reusable water bottles.
This area will also have an official Snowbirds souvenirs booth, community group booths, sign-ups with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, and more. Morris suggests people bring their own chair or blanket for seating. It’s an optimal viewing point, and there is also an opportunity to meet the Snowbird pilots through the security fence, she says.
There is an opening act: The Geronimo Skydiving Team from Fort Erie, which claims many of its team members are record holders and accuracy champions.
Parking is free for all guests. Morris acknowledges there was congestion getting into and out of the parking area at the event in 2017, and says the team is working on creating a second entrance and exit to solve the issue.
That team is 23 strong, volunteers putting together all the logistics of this kind of happening, including safety issues and parking. The Snowbirds are a well-oiled machine though, providing a 60-day checklist and access to air boss David White, who acts as an advisor for the event, says Morris.
The Snowbirds are comprised of Canadian Armed Forces members and National Defence Public Service employees serving as ambassadors of the forces and flying the iconic CT-114 Tutor. Morris says they don’t charge fees for events like this, but require expenses be paid, such as lodging and smoke oil. The pilots will welcome local students the morning of the event, and will talk with them about their experiences with the CAF.
Gates open at 2 p.m., providing access to an aircraft display with military and vintage planes and to food trucks. The skydiving team will begin performing at 3 p.m. The Snowbirds will come out at about 4 p.m. for a show that starts at about 4:30 p.m. “Hopefully the weather will be as perfect as it was last time,” says Morris.
Local DJ Trevor Legault will be situated in the VIP area, but the music can be heard in the general admission area as well, says Morris. He will also be playing the aerobatics soundtrack supplied by the Snowbirds to accompany their performance.
Morris says she is impressed by the support from the community for the museum as it prepares for this major event.
Cutline: Tickets for the Sept. 11 event can only be purchased at notlsnowbirds.ca. (Photo supplied)