Peace Regional Air Show | July 22 & 23, 2023 | Peace River, AB
Since 1992, the Peace Regional Airshow has taken to the skies to showcase amazing aircrafts and performers. Recognized as an international event, it attracts spectators from across Canada and the United States.
“We are very excited and proud. Our show is one of only three air shows in Alberta. It helps put Peace River on the map and attracts visitors to our area,” said Peace Regional Airshow Association (PRAA) President, Vicki Lefrançois.
The event is hosted every two years at the Peace Regional Airport. With presenting sponsor Northern Air, this year’s Air Show is scheduled for July 22 and 23 and will include many different aircraft performances as well as other attractions including a freestyle motocross show, car shows, bouncy castles, food vendors and so much more.
“We want to put on the show this region deserves. It’s a fun family event everyone can enjoy,” said Lefrançois.
Organizing an event this size is a lot of hard work. It takes countless volunteer hours, but Lefrançois believes the positive impact it has on the local community can’t be overstated.
“This is a major event for our region. Not only does it bring awareness, but it helps boost the local economy by bringing new people to stay, dine and shop here,” said Lefrançois.
Lefrançois is eager for attendees to see and experience the lineup and events this year, despite a few changes.
“Unfortunately we won’t have the Snowbirds due to new requirements of longer runways, but we are very excited to have other planes such as the Warbirds, Long EZs and the crowd favourite formations,” said Lefrançois. “We will also have sky jumpers and are hoping to confirm a race between a sports car and an airplane!”
Lefrançois joined the PRAA in 2014 as treasurer and soon after became the president. Volunteers start organizing the event the year before, and despite how hectic it gets leading up to the Air Show, Lefrançois says she loves every second of it.
“I absolutely love being involved in this event. I really enjoyed being in contact with the performers and being behind the scenes,” said Lefrançois. “This event is always so exhilarating, and the members are amazing. The excitement makes me want to stay involved year after year.”
Organizing an event this size is no easy feat, and Lefrançois appreciates all the support and assistance the PRAA receives from local community members.
“Air shows are expensive to put on, it usually costs around $300,000. Most of the cost goes toward performers and their lodging, food and transportation,” said Lefrançois.
Working with and fulfilling a large budget can be daunting, but with the help of local sponsors, the PRAA is able to make the event more affordable to host.
“We have several sponsors, which means a lot to us, and it takes pressure off of our association,” said Lefrançois. “Community support is essential—we wouldn’t be able to do this without it.”
The PRAA Committee is made up of three core members alongside Lefrançois, which includes Henry Vos, Program Director; Gary Fenton, Ground Operations Manager and Ben Roche, Parking & Traffic.
Together, this tight knit committee is responsible for everything that happens behind the scenes and during the weekend-long event. Thankfully, after many years together, this amazing group now has organizing the event down to an art.
“We know each other well and are very efficient as a team. We share the workload and understand that communication is key,” said Lefrançois. “We keep each other accountable with lots of phone calls and Zoom meetings, and we are always open to hearing ideas and suggestions from one another.”
Having a committed and capable core organizing team is a great start, but Lefrançois knows the success of the Air Show depends on so many volunteers coming together all at once.
“We typically have about 200 volunteers each day, which is incredible. Each person helps in their own way, and we are always so grateful for them,” said Lefrançois.
To make volunteering easier, the Peace Regional Air Show has a volunteer sign up form on their website for those who would like to become more involved in the event.
Overall, Lefrançois is looking forward to another successful Air Show, and she is enthusiastic about finalizing this year’s event.
“We can’t wait to see it all come together, and we really hope it’s a memorable show for all those who attend,” said Lefrançois. “The anticipation is building, and we have a feeling this year is going to be our best year yet.”
For the most up-to-date info, visit our website peaceregionalairshow.com and Facebook page @PRAirshow.