The Cold Lake Air Show committee announced last week that its 2020 show is cancelled. The air show was scheduled to run at CFB Cold Lake July 18 and 19.
4 Wing Commander Colonel David Moar said the committee kept its options open for as long as they could.
“We did hold on as long as we could because the event has become so important to the city of
Cold Lake, to 4 Wing Cold Lake, and into the region in general,” he said. “We owed it to everybody involved to make sure that we made this decision at the point where we were really compelled to.”
There were several factors that weighed on the decision, including federal policies governing the Canadian Armed Forces, and the availability of sponsors and contractors. Provincial restrictions on large gatherings over the summer were what made it clear the air show could not go ahead.
Pre-purchased tickets will be fully refunded beginning May 10.
The base used to host occasional air shows to coincide with major anniversary years. Beginning in 2016, they decided to mount the show regularly every second year in order to create some continuity and to build relationships within the international air show industry.
That effort had been paying off with smoother planning, a better audience experience, and the ability of the committee to attract top performers. One of the headline acts this year was to be the United States Navy’s “Blue Angels” F-18 Hornet demonstration team.
“We worked really hard to draw some great acts to the show this year,” Moar said. “We had a fantastic committee who’s been who’s been engaged with all of these acts across North America to keep our relationship alive and fresh and positive with them.”
Given the two-year planning cycle and the fact that many top acts are already booked for 2021, Moar said it will likely be 2022 before Cold Lake can put on its next full air show. “We are looking at what the options for 2021 could look like, but I would personally say it’s safer to start looking at 2022,” he said.
But he added that doesn’t rule out smaller-scale public events.
“We are looking for ways to create events this summer or next summer that would benefit the community, the city of Cold Lake, and the region whether that be some flyovers of aircraft, or some community event when conditions permit,” he said.
“It won’t be to the level of the air show we had planned, but we’re certainly looking for ways that we can contribute to the community and show our appreciation.”
Proceeds from the air show go to support morale and welfare programs for base personnel and their families. Moar said base leadership will be looking at ways to deal with the financial shortfall caused by the cancellation.