People watch an airplane from the Museum of Flight during Flight Fest at the Chilliwack Airport on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Last desperate call for Chilliwack Flight Fest volunteers and sponsors

Organizers say anyone who wants to help should attend March 11 volunteer drive, or it's lights out

Chilliwack Flight Fest needs more volunteers — or it will die.

Organizers trying to build up Chilliwack’s free airshow back to its former glory are holding a volunteer recruiting event on March 11 at the local flying club.

They’ve put out a special plea tinged with desperation and a warning:

“We, the Chilliwack Flight Fest Society, are in desperate need of your help,” according to a recent post from the group on Facebook. “As you know, in 2017 we didn’t have an airshow for the first time in 25 years due to lack of funding and lack of volunteers.”

READ MORE: The airshow was grounded temporarily in 2017

They were chastised for it online for not issuing “a big enough” call for help.

“Well this is it,” Flight Fest spokesperson Ray Firkus said. “We need help.”

A small group of core volunteers have been struggling to rebuild the airshow for the past two years.

But it has reached a critical point.

“If we do not get more volunteers to commit to helping, we will not have a show in 2020.”

They need more bodies, teams of people even, to pull it off, bringing their passion and fresh ideas.

“We need active volunteers to help from the beginning until the end,” Firkus noted.

There are tasks from November through August to help organize and run the airshow. They often get a glut of volunteers on the airshow weekend, but they need more ahead of time.

They need doers, but they also need funding. It takes cash to mount the free show, and so they need sponsors and partnerships.

“We do the best we can to secure sponsorships and we thank those individuals and businesses who have supported us over the years,” Firkus said.

They do it all for the people and families of Chilliwack, and it is still one of few North American airshows to boast free admission.

“We will not charge for admission because we want this event to be available to every single member of the community,” according to the post.

READ MORE: Airshow faced funding crunch in its 20th year

Volunteers do not require any specialized aircraft or airshow knowledge, there are tasks in administration, marketing, parking, security, hospitality, volunteers, grounds, and more.

The problem is that every year, sponsorship goes down, and costs go up.

“Therefore, we are asking the community of Chilliwack, please help us continue to put this event on.”

The City of Chilliwack graciously supports them with fencing, garbage cans, and more but they still need to put out this brazen request for help with people power and finances. They’re calling it the “last and final call” for Chilliwack volunteers to help organizing the event, and sponsors.

“We have exhausted every other option.”

The March 11 volunteer recruitment event is at 7 p.m. at the Chilliwack Flying Club, 46200 Airport Road.

Email info@chilliwackairshow.ca

READ MORE: Check out our Flight Fest pics from 2019


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jfeinberg@theprogress.com


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