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'The flying has been spectacular': Alberta Airshow dazzles crowds

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EDMONTON -

The Alberta International Airshow dazzled crowds estimated by event organizers to have more than 25,000 people Saturday.

“We expected around 13,000 people,” Richard Skermer, event organizer RWE Events president, told CTV News Edmonton in an interview.

“Nothing in our ticket pre-sales indicated this kind of attendance. It exceeded our plans,” Skermer added. “A lot of people decided today that they wanted to see an airshow.”

Organizers said the strong attendance more than doubled previous years attendance.

Skermer said that event staff and volunteers were caught off-guard by the crowds but worked their hardest to accommodate everyone. Anyone who was unable to make it to watch the show on Saturday will be able to visit Sunday using the same tickets.

“We didn’t know what the demand would be coming out of COVID,” he said. “A lot of folks were saying they’re still scared and didn’t want to do these things."

Due to the unexpected jump in demand, Skermer said some attendees had to wait in line for a few hours to get into the event, while others were turned away after the exhibition grounds filled up.

“Turned out there was a lot more pent-up demand than we ever expected.”

Thousands gathered to take in the Alberta Airshow on Aug. 21, 2021 (CTV News Edmonton/Dave Mitchell)

Thousands gathered to take in the Alberta Airshow on Aug. 21, 2021 (CTV News Edmonton/Dave Mitchell)

The organizer said he was thrilled with all the acts and heard positive feedback about the aerobatic action.

“It’s been a really great day overall. The flying has been spectacular,” he said. “It’s been a really great show.

“We lost a couple (performers) to Afghanistan but that’s what happens, they are business machines. That’s what they do.”

An United States Air Force A-10 flies as part of a demonstration at the Alberta Airshow on Aug. 21, 2021 (CTV News Edmonton/Dave Mitchell)

A United States Air Force A-10 flies as part of a demonstration at the Alberta Airshow on Aug. 21, 2021 (CTV News Edmonton/Dave Mitchell)

Some of the acts on Saturday included a demonstration from the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt, the Red Devils British Army parachute display, and civilian performers like Yellow Thunder.

The airshow has one more day of action on Sunday. Organizers recommend that fans planning to attend the event arrive early, purchase tickets in advance online, and avoid the traffic circle on Highway 44 in Villeneuve. 

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