Snowbirds set to perform in Prince Rupert
~By Quinn Bender
The Snowbirds have confirmed an Aug. 14 aerobatic performance in Prince Rupert, but spectators shouldn't expect the day-long festival they enjoyed two years ago.
The event this year will feature a 45-minute aeronautic performance only. In 2011 Prince Rupert was treated to a pre-show celebration with live music, vendors and children's activities, costing the city $11,000, but this year budgetary constraints have forced organizers to scale drastically back.
"It will be a lean show in terms of the community activities, but the Snowbirds show itself will still be amazing," said Snowbirds Committee chair, Nancy Eidsvick. "We've been put on a very limited budget, and the funds were all raised through community support people. We're very limited to what else we can do."
Spectators can best view the show from the waterfront, in addition to the Rupert Square parking lot and Mariners Park which will both be wheelchair friendly. People are encouraged to bring radios, a Snowbirds official will be broadcasting live commentary throughout the show.
Financial approval for the Snowbirds performance barely passed a city council vote last February, as members questioned the expense during a time of deep budget cuts. The initial $20,000 request was turned down, but $7,000 eventually approved. The money came from the remaining centennial celebrations fund that was set aside for future community activities. An additional $5,000 was raised though the community.
Still, the City of Prince Rupert's $7,000 contribution has raised eyebrows as there is no guarantee bad weather won't cancel the performance yet again. Nonetheless Eidsvick is both optimistic for good weather, and says the aerobatic team is anxious to give Prince Rupert a long-awaited show.
"When they [Snowbirds] couldn't do it last time, the guys all said they would come back. They're keeping their promise, because for a municipality to get them back a second time is really highly unusual."