The sky’s the limit for Grand Forks next summer, as some special airborne guests take to the clouds.
Speaking on behalf of the Grand Forks Flying Association (GFFA), COPA 62 representative Ann Gordon announced that Canada’s internationally acclaimed precision flying team the “Snowbirds” will be coming in July.
This will not be the first time the Snowbirds have graced Grand Forks with aerial display and formation flying. The team last appeared overhead in 2000, and organizers estimated the event drew a crowd of 10,000 people, despite the weekday afternoon show.
Mayor Konrad along with individual council members offered hearty support and appreciation for the efforts made on behalf of the city by the Grand Forks Flying Association, with council members voicing support for the crowds and tourism the event brought to the area.
The Snowbirds fly widely-recognized red and white CT-114 Tutor jet aircraft. The team has eleven planes in total, but two are usually held in reserve.
The Snowbirds are based at 15 Wing, near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and consists of 80 full-time personal representative of all three branches of the Canadian armed services.
Event coordinators are asking city council to endorse their application for the Snowbirds to perform and to provide $15,000 in support of the event.
When asked by council about the total costs of the event, Gordon explained major private fundraising activities and government grant applications, many of which are available for Canada’s 150th birthday, will manage the remainder of financial costs.
She pointed out that in addition to the pride and pleasure of the community, there will be considerable financial benefits enjoyed by our local merchants, restaurants and hotels.
Commanding Officer of local Air Cadet Squadron #841, Randy Frank, advised council the regional unit of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Services are prepared to step forward and provide about 60 personnel to assist with hosting event.
Gordon went into some details of the performance, including the time it will take to set up the airport and meet the Snowbirds’ extensive requirements. Because of the nature of their flights, precautions are taken on the ground, and everything down to the time of the performance taken into account.
GFFA president James Traynor said the event will be a highlight of next summer’s 150 celebrations.
“The city of Grand Forks will have many events planned for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, but hosting the Snowbirds will undoubtedly be our crowning achievement,” he said. “Not only will the citizens of the valley enjoy a spectacular air show but we hope the personal presences of the Snowbirds will help inspire some of our youth to consider a career in the aviation industry.”
Grand Forks council will be putting forth a motion at a subsequent meeting to deal with the request for funding. Mayor Konrad assured everyone present at the meeting, city council will promptly put forward a motion to deal with the request.