Cold Lake Air Show a “whirlwind” that 27,000 people took in

Last Updated: July 21, 2022By Tags: ,

There was almost too much to do and see at the Cold Lake Air Show this year.

From the aerial displays in the skies, to the grounded planes on the tarmac, from the classic car show to monster trucks — the 2022 event had just about everything, and the visitors arrived en masse to see it.

Being the first CLAS in four years, 27,000 people descended on the wing for the two-day event, including 20,000 alone on the scorching Saturday.

“It was a whirlwind for sure,” said organizing chair Major Kael Rennie. “It was amazing to see the how many cars filled up the parking lot all the way to the back, and see all the people into the spectating area.” 

The appetite for the event was strong. Over 4000 more people attended than the previous in 2018, with many from Edmonton, Calgary and beyond travelling for the festivities. It’s been the biggest show they’ve put on since at least 2004.

The acts included the powerful United States Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team and the famous Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. Spectators also got to see the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks, Kyle Fowler in his Long EZ, 80-year-old Gord Price on his “Retirement Tour” in his Yak-50, plus the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone and the CF-18 Demo Team, flown by 4 Wing’s own Captain Jesse Haggart-Smith.

On Sunday evening at Cold Lake Brewing Company, awards were handed out to the performers, including:

  • Best Aerial Demonstration: F-22 Raptor Demo Team
  • Best Military Static Display: C-5 Super Galaxy
  • Best Civilian Static Display: F1 Rocket (owned by David Deere)
  • Best Supporting Unit: KC-135 Stratotanker
  • CLAS Choice Award: Security Team for the F-22 Raptor

“I’m sure we’ll at least have one or two meetings over the next couple of weeks and into September, and then we will produce a briefing for the Wing Commander to kind of go okay, here’s the things that went well, here’s the thing that didn’t go well, and here’s kind of where we think we should go,” said Major Rennie. 

Organizers now turn their attention to the 2024 Air Show, which already has a lot of planning and detail to attend to.

It marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force and as such, will feature lots of glitz and glam.

“We were actually already in coordination with our headquarters in Winnipeg, so they are coordinating on our behalf and other Air Force Wings for various acts from the United States and from Europe.

“So they’re trying to go big in 2024. Obviously, 100 is a huge milestone. We really were disappointed that we lost the Blue Angels during the COVID canceled show in 2020. So, we’ve made it known to our headquarters that we really want to try to get the Blue Angels back for 2024. They’re aware of that and they’re gonna advocate on our behalf. Then we’re hoping for something that never seen before from Europe as well.”

Overall, many sunburnt and smiling faces could be on the tarmac. With so much to see, some people decided to go back for a second day, as well.

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