Growing up, our family had a few undying annual traditions. A weekend pass at the Abbotsford Airshow was one of them.
My brother and I loved watching the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, and I especially loved checking out all the trade show vendors. With a budding aviation enthusiast in the big kid, I knew this was the year to pack up the family and carry the tradition on to the next generation.
While so much of the Abbotsford Airshow is just the same as it was when I was a girl, so much has changed. Despite this being our first family airshow experience, I’m pretty proud of nearly killing it in the planning department. So, I’m sharing with you 6 tips for an epic Abbotsford Airshow experience.
Ok, I know that this is pretty much rule number one with all things parenting, but this rings especially true here. Dates for the show are scheduled well in advance of the event, which means if you book your tickets early, you’re likely to save with early bird pricing.
Again, perhaps a no-brainer, but I honestly can’t stress this one enough. Our day at the airshow had an expected 40,000 in attendance! In case you haven’t been before, Abbotsford International Airport is not a big place. Additionally, our highways can be very unforgiving. So leave early to ensure you get a jump on the crowd.
General Admission seating is first-come-first-served, so the sooner you arrive, the closer you’ll be to the action!
When I said I nearly killed it in the planning department, I meant it. And this is where I both succeeded and failed. Whether you’re flying solo, or as a family or large group, packing a few crucial items with you can make or break your experience.
- Bring a chair. Unless you’ve upgraded your tickets to have designated seating, this is a must. Bonus points if it’s a gravity chair, makes staring at the sky for hours that much more enjoyable.
- Bring a wagon. If you have a family, you’ve likely heard of the famous wagon. This thing lives in my SUV during the summer months as it’s compact, easy to use, and comes in handy for everything. I didn’t get mine until last year when I thought my kids were too old for a wagon, but believe me. You need this wagon in your life.
- Pack some munchies. Now, while the airshow has an epic line up of food trucks, you’re investing your entire day on the grounds. If you don’t want to drop a small fortune on food while you’re there, bring it in with you. Make sure to check the FAQ online so you’re not bringing anything in you’re not supposed to.
- Pack for the weather. And even the weather you’re not expecting. Now this is where my fail came in. The forecast 30% chance of rain quickly became 100% chance of rain (to which a friend kindly reminded me “well, they weren’t wrong!”). And let me tell you, as a family of five with one small umbrella, that hour of downpour had us ready to pack for home. Thankfully, we weathered the storm with blankets, jackets, and many hoodies, but next year a small tarp or pop-up shelter/beach tent and some more umbrellas will definitely make the packing list.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. Despite an hour of rain, the temperature skyrocketed 10-15 degrees when the sun came out. And with a wagon full of redheads, sunscreen is a must have… everywhere!
Take your time
There is seriously so much to see and do at the airshow. From strolling the food trucks, watching the performances, checking out the displays and static aircraft. Make sure you clear your schedule and allow time to see and do it all. Or, better yet, grab yourself a weekend pass and camp on the grounds!
Look for discounts
Purchase your tickets online to receive a discounted rate. And don’t forget to look for and early bird rate. Many in person retailers also have deals available. Carpool and save with the Carload Pass. There’s many ways to save!
Check the website before you go to make sure you know all the pertinent information. What to pack, what not to pack, schedules, etc. I also highly recommend downloading the event app. Not only did this include a handy map, but it also included a daily schedule with in depth information about all the performers. You’re going to get your steps in at the airshow, so make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear. Conditions are everything from paved concrete to gravel and grass, so plan accordingly.
If you’re looking for a fun, annual family tradition, look no further than the Abbotsford Airshow.
Will we see you there next year?