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Dec. 12, 2019 | Thursday
Local News
Snowbirds return
Snowbirds fly over NOTL in 2017. (File photo/Richard Harley)

The Snowbirds will soar over Niagara-on-the-Lake next week — and if weather permits, a dive team will plummet from the sky.

The Saskatchewan-based Snowbirds team, also known as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, will be back in town Wednesday, Sept. 11., taking off from the Niagara District Airport at about 4 p.m. for a 30-minute aerobatics show.

Nine of the 11 Snowbirds planes will be performing.

In the morning, more than 200 students from six schools across the region, including Crossroads Public School, St. Davids Public School, St.-Michael’s Catholic Elementary School and Vineridge Academy, will arrive to meet the team and learn more about the Snowbirds.

The gates will open up to the public at 2 p.m. Free parking will be available on site.

Preparations for the show started in April 2018, says Niagara Historical Society board member Mona Babin. A team of 23 handpicked committee members – responsible for different tasks from marketing to parking — has been meeting every month since January 2019 to nail down the logistics of the event.

Bringing the Snowbirds to town is no small task, she says, with the committee having spent 2,500 hours putting the event together so far. She says it will take 100 volunteers to help run the show, and two town councillors, Allan Bisback and John Wiens, have also been providing help.

“It’s been lots of fun,” she says. “We have really collaborative meetings, which have been great.”

The show is spiced up a bit this year, she says, with two new features having been added to this year’s show. Depending on the weather, “Geronimo! Skydiving Team” will perform at 3:30 p.m., and there will be a couple of other “surprises,” says Babin.

Air cadets from squadrons across the Niagara region will also be part of the show.

The Snowbirds performance will start at around 4 p.m. After the show, the Snowbirds team will be signing autographs in the general admission area. There will also be a meet-and-greet for VIP ticket holders.

Babin is excited to talk about it. “You get to meet them and talk to them, take pictures and selfies, and get autographs,” she says. “You really get a chance to have a conversation with the Snowbirds and you can’t do that in a lot of large cities.”

The general admission area will have other activities to take part in, such as food trucks, vendors with Snowbirds souvenirs, and a vintage aircraft display.

Babin says anyone wishing to see them should get out this year, as she doesn’t anticipate the Snowbirds will be back in 2020. The last time the Snowbirds were in town was to perform as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.

But it’s “certainly a possibility for 2021,” she adds.

VIP tickets are $45 for youth and $100 for an adult and are available to be purchased online until Friday, Sept. 6. The tickets include gourmet food, two tickets for wine and/or beer, two non-alcoholic beverages and a chance to meet the Snowbirds team members.

Online general admission tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door — cash only. Admission is free for children aged 12 and under.

The show is organized by the Niagara Historical Society and Museum.

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