Snowbirds performing in High River

High River: July 23 show hopes to lift spirits

By: Roxanne Blackwell

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:43 pm

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds 431 Squadrom Air Demonstration Team, from Moose Jaw, Sask., line up in Goose formation. They will be in High River on July 23.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds 431 Squadrom Air Demonstration Team, from Moose Jaw, Sask., line up in Goose formation. They will be in High River on July 23.
Photo Supplied

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High River residents will want to keep their eyes on the sky July 23 when the iconic Snowbirds aerobatic demonstration team is scheduled for a performance over the town.

The pilots synchronize their jets and maneuver them into more than 50 different formations, incorporating up to nine jets in the display as they perform.

High River tourism development coordinator Dayna Dickens said the air show will take place sometime in the afternoon, but a specific time and location are still being figured out.

The stop is the only one in Southern Alberta, with other performances in the province scheduled for Fort McMurray, Peace River, Cold Lake and Whitecourt.

Dickens said planning is still in preliminary stages and she’s really excited to see what they can pull together. She said they should have more details figured out by the end of the month.

Steff Stephansson, chair of the High River Regional Airport board, said they were looking forward to hosting the event this summer.

“Which Canadian wouldn’t want to be involved in seeing that performance?” he said.

The Snowbirds are looking forward to their visit in High River too. Captain Thomas Edelson said that he’s hoping to boost the town’s morale after the devastation of last summer’s flood.

“I’ve never had to deal with a major flood so I can only imagine that’s a tough thing,” he said. “It must shake up your life quite a bit, so if we can bring some entertainment to town then it is well worth it.”

Edelson said it isn’t the first time that they’ve made a stop in a town that was recovering from a flood. Two years ago they performed at a Fourth of July celebration in Minot, North Dakota, a year after more than 4,000 homes and businesses were damaged by floodwaters.

“The show was widely attended in Minot,” he said. “Just to get to go to the States was an honour for the team. We’re there to take people’s minds off of things while they are getting things together,”

The Snowbirds are based out of Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, where they train for several months preparing for the performance season, which runs from May to October and consists of 50 shows.

Edelson said all of the Snowbirds truly develop a connection with the people in the communities they perform in.

“You’re invited, you’re a guest and you’re welcomed,” he said. “We try to do autographs and interact with people and let them grab pictures with the team because those are really fun. We hear stories about the last time they saw the team so we get to learn a bit of history from them too.”

Edelson said it can be difficult being away from home for so long, but loves touring with the squad and seeing places all over the country.

“This is my third year on the team, I’m 36 turning 37, and I’ve seen more of Canada in the last two years than I did in the first 34,” he said. “I’m excited to come to High River, I get to cross another one off the list.”


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