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Grande Prairie Rotary Club to host city’s first airshow in 20 years

Grande Prairie will see its first airshow in more than 20 years this summer thanks to the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

Club President Bruce Tattrie and a partner presented in City Council’s April 8th meeting asking for a $50,000 Large-scale Tourism Grant to support the airshow in July which was subsequently supported unanimously by council.

The airshow will support the longtime D-Coy Community Hub Project that has been ongoing through Rotary for the past five years. Tattrie says around $2.4 million has been raised so far in the $3.8 million project and the airshow will act as both a fundraising event for D Company and an awareness campaign for the Canadian Armed Forces.

“It’s our first year so we’d like to cover all of our costs and if we make around $100,000 to donate back to D-Coy that would be a huge win for us.”

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The fully booked three-hour-long show is expected to see around 10,000 attendees and boasts a sizeable lineup of more than a dozen acts both in the sky and on the ground.

Tattrie says some highlights from the lineup include a parachute act, a twin-engine jet car, wing walkers, glider planes, high-speed aerobatics, proximity flights by USAF demo teams, and more including numerous static acts such as bomber tours, and even a motocross freestyle performance for those not into planes.

On the ground, food trucks, CAF awareness booths, bouncy castles, and local vendors will be available for attendees.

Tattrie says the choice to put on an airshow was an ambitious one for the Rotary Club, but promises the show will be a world-class one thanks to a recent educational trip to the International Council of Airshows in Las Vegas last year.

“This was a stretch even for us,” he says. “When you have airplanes and restricted airspace, things that are not intuitive to people that can put on an event so we needed help with that.”

Plans to make the airshow a recurring event are in place and Tattrie says with a biennial approach, acts from around the world will have the chance to come to Grande Prairie and raise money for various projects in the city.

“This year it’s the D-Coy Community Hub Project, and raising awareness for the armed forces, I would imagine because the armed forces come to the show every year, we’re trying to entice them to, that will stay, but as Rotarians, we want to give back to the community in many many ways, so every two years there could be a different thing we’re giving back to.”

The event is scheduled for July 27th and 28th with a practice day scheduled for the 26th. Early bird tickets are available for $40 for general admission and $25 for seniors and youth online.

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