The aerial symmetry of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will once again grace the evening sky over Okanagan Lake to kick off the Penticton Peach Festival.
The familiar red and white Tudor jets of the world-famous squadron are scheduled to take flight for the thrilling, 35-minute show starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7.
The team previously performed in the Peach City for the festival in 2008 and 2009. Their last show was abbreviated due to poor visibility caused by forest fires burning in the region.
“We are just thrilled and it’s tremendous to have the Snowbirds back and a great way to begin Peach Festival,” said festival society president Don Kendall.
“There really is no other attraction that brings out as many people as the Snowbirds. The last time they were here it’s estimated 20,000 spectators saw the show, people were lined up on the beach six and eight deep from Okanagan Lake Park to the Sicamous.
“The best part, it’s free.
“I mean really, how many times does a family get to go down and see this kind of first-class entertainment and not have to worry about what it’s costing them?” said Kendall.
And the first night’s showcase just gets better.
Following the 7 p.m. opening ceremonies at Okanagan Lake Park, there will be performances by Flashback, Nikita Afonso and another huge fan favourite, Luisa Marshall who packed the park her last time in Penticton.
According to Kendall, getting the Snowbirds back for the third time in five years was not an easy task.
The president credited the efforts of his Snowbirds committee under the direction of Fred Trainor as well as MP Dan Albas for helping with the logistics of the application to secure the squadron.
But in particular he singled out the contribution of Peters Bros. Construction as the main reason festival goers will get to enjoy such an internationally renowned aerial demonstration.
“Peters Bros. are an integral part of Peach Festival,” said Kendall. “Whenever we’ve been able to get the Snowbirds they’ve stepped up to sponsor them and that is critical.
“Peach Festival wouldn’t be possible in its present state without Peters Bros. They and the other sponsors make it possible for us to put on the largest free festival in Western Canada.”
In addition to the Snowbirds, the company also covers a portion of the entertainment costs and the colourful, grand parade.
To enhance people’s enjoyment this year, festival organizers have arranged to have the air show’s narrative broadcast on public address systems near the Kiwanis Walking Pier and for the first time, in Okanagan Lake Park.
It can also be heard live on 800 AM -EZ Rock Penticton.
As well, this year for those attending the entertainment acts, a large LED screen will be set up.
Because of the big crowds expected for the air show, the president urged people to go down to the lake front as early as possible and take time to visit Shooting Star Amusements in Rotary park.
His other advice: “Don’t be in a hurry to leave after the Snowbirds, stay and enjoy the evening. The entertainment is free and it’s just a great night for the family, something everyone can afford to do.”