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May 16, 2008 | General

The Edmonton International Air Show will be ready to climb to a new altitude in one month — May 18 and 19, the Victoria Day long weekend.

“With all profits to benefit two local children’s charities, volunteers and sponsors have been working hard together to complete a huge amount of pre-planning work,” said Executive Director Laurie Hawn. “We’ll have a really great show, and we hope that thousands of Albertans will buy their tickets now to both enjoy a great day and to support children’s charities.”

Tickets are now on sale at all Shell service stations in northern Alberta. Advance tickets are discounted from $10.00 (at the gate) to $7.50 (in advance) for adult tickets; and from $8.00 (at the gate) to $6.00 (in advance) for children or seniors. Group sales (20 or more tickets) are further discounted, to $6.50 adult and $5.25 child/senior, and can be purchased directly from the Air Show Office at 890-8055 or 1-800-101-1247.

In addition to the Concorde, other headlining acts at the Air Show will include the Snowbirds, the Northern Lights, the Harrier, the CF-18, a MiG-15, Julie Clark, and the Sky Hawks.

“This is not just about air acts,” said Garry King, Chairman of the Air Show Association. “We also have lots of things to do for the whole family, including simulators, a children’s play area, bands and dancers, food concessions and souvenirs, and displays. It will be easy to spend a whole day and never run out of things to do.”

The children’s charities to benefit from the proceeds are the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Region and the Edmonton City Centre Church Corporate School Lunch Program.

Edmonton hosted the first Air Show in Canada, at Blatchford Field (now the Municipal Airport) in 1931. In 1947, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) got involved and called the event Air Force Days. In 1955, the RCAF moved to Namao and the Namao International Air Show was born. That tradition ended in 1994 because of the conversion of Namao to an army base. The 1996 Air Show continues this unbroken string of air shows in Edmonton from 1931.

The Edmonton show has typically been the third largest in Canada, after Abbotsford and Toronto. Upwards of 200,000 people could be expected to attend over the two days.