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?
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AAWWWWWW.. Haven’t seen one yet but looking forward any time soon. Must be super cool seeing those in person.
It’s super cool seeing an airshow in person. Unbelievable all the stents they can do at such speed and height!
This looks so cool! I live very close to Pensacola and I have yet to even see a Blue Angels airshow. I always love hearing about them and seeing videos!
I hope you get a chance to go soon! They’re sooooo amazing in person!
Gervin Khan says
I have never tried to watch an airshow. This kind of show sounds so exciting and amazing and I am sure will definitely love it so much.
Emily Fata says
I’ve never been to Abbotsford Airshow before, but it looks like such an amazing experience. Maybe I’ll be able to get there and see it for myself one day (I hope I do)!
Crickette, The Things I Have to Say says
My dad was an airforce pilot. In his glory days we would attend airshows like these and it was really awesome…
That’s awesome!! I’d love to be a pilot!
Farah Al Zadjaly says
These are some good tips and also it looks like such a great show as well. I have been to airshows in Duba and loved it.
we’ve never seen an airshow before, it must be great to watch one!
Wow, this is such a lovely experience! And great tips too! I would really love to watch it someday!
David Elliott says
That would be amazing to go to the air show. I would think you would really want a gravity chair if at all possible given you will have to crane your neck the whole time. Love the pictures. The one in front of the big bomber is spectacular.
Wow those are some real inspirational photos! I need to visit an airshow for sure!
Khushboo Motihar says
I have watched an airshow only once in my life and it is an incredible experience. Love the amazing pictures and tips you have shared 🙂
Airshows are so much fun! I wish there was one that was happening close to me soon. My son would love it.
Bindu Thomas says
I’ve been to an airshow before, though I wasn’t so prepared. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips.
Becca Talbot says
Great tips for anyone wanting to go to the show! Sounds like a great experience x
I would definitely love to watch it, someday hopefully.. 😊 It would be such an amazing experience.