Snowbirds soar over city

Canadian Forces Snowbirds ready to cruise the Penticton skies

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds roll over in perfect synchronization during a previous show over Penticton. The popular aerial acrobats are back on Aug. 5.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds roll over in perfect synchronization during a previous show over Penticton. The popular aerial acrobats are back on Aug. 5.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be cruising through Penticton skies once again on Aug. 5.

The popular aerial acrobatics team is set to perform during the Penticton Peach Festival on Aug. 5. This is just the latest visit, though; the Snowbirds have dropped by every couple of years to help open the five-day free festival.

“I think we are incredibly lucky,” said Fred Trainor,  who chairs the committee organizing the visit. He noted that few other communities are visited by the Snowbirds so regularly.

“The return of the Snowbirds is welcome news to many residents and visitors to the South Okanagan during our biggest festival of the year,” wrote Trainor in a release. “Our committee has been working on this for some time now, and now it’s full speed ahead thanks to the generous support of Peters Brothers Construction.”

The 40-minute show is choreographed to music with the Snowbirds performing more than 50 different formations and manoeuvres, including thrilling solo passes, graceful nine-plane formations, and exciting rolls and loops.

This year, however, Trainor said they want to make it very clear that the restricted water space during the show will be strictly enforced.

During the Snowbirds’ 2013 visit, a recalcitrant boater refused to leave the safety zone, nearly resulting in a cancellation of the show.

Trainor, who was listening to the pilot’s radio chatter, said the lead pilot was “very displeased,” planning to lead the group back to the airport if the boat was still there on their second pass.

“We came very close to losing them, “ said Trainor, adding that they are beefing up both boater education and enforcement for this year’s show.

Strict adherence to distances required by the Snowbirds well be enforced and police and other officials will be on hand this year to ensure safety for the spectators and pilots.

The Snowbirds are expected to arrive on Monday Aug. 3, and Trainor said they hope to soon be announcing when and where an autograph signing session will be held.

Other than the single autograph session, Trainor said they don’t ask anything of the team. Instead, Trainor said they go out of their way to ensure the team has a relaxing time, and can enjoy the area.

This year, he said, all 24 members of the team, decided they wanted to do a float down the channel, which was easily arranged with the help of Coyote Cruises.

This year’s scheduled performance is Aug. 5 at 6 p.m., just one of the many events planned for the 68th annual Peach Festival, which runs from Aug. 5 to 9 this year.

For more information of Peach Festival and entertainment schedules, visit www.peachfest.com.