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Breslau air show receives funding

Matthew VanderMeer launched an online petition opposing a plan hatched by the township and WCDSB to build a school in Breslau Memorial Park. [Scott Barber / The Observer]

The Waterloo Air Show was one of four Waterloo Region recipients of more than half a million dollars in grant money announced last week by the provincial government. The air show, which takes place at the Waterloo International Airport in Breslau, is entering its third year and was previously called the Waterloo Aviation Expo and Air Show. The show will receive $75,000 in Celebrate Ontario funding, while other recipients were the Stephen Hawking Centre at the Perimeter Institute, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and the Kitchener Blues Festival, worth a total of $558,550.

The money for the air show will be divided into three broad categories; fees to attract high-end performers to the show, ground displays, and infrastructure.

SET FOR TAKEOFF Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leeanna Pendergast (left) and Diana Brownlee, executive director of the Waterloo Air Show, at the Celebrate Ontario announcement in Kitchener Mar. 4.

“The bottom line is, the money is going to help us grow our show and is going to create an even better experience for our guests,” noted Diana Spremo, the event’s director of marketing and media relations.

“The money will be allocated where it is most needed in the show.”

The spectacle has enjoyed considerable growth in only two seasons, up from 15,000 visitors in its first year to about 40,000 last year – and they hope to use the money to attract even more people this year. Spremo said the big jump from year one and two is probably attributed to the fact that the Canadian Snowbirds Demonstration Team performed at last year’s show.

This year, the Snowbirds will be back, along with other big acts including the Canadian Forces SkyHawks demonstration parachute team and a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet display.

In order to qualify for the funding, the air show needed to prove that they would provide an educational and entertaining experience for the entire family, said Spremo. As a result, the show is bringing in even more ground displays, or what Spremo called “static displays,” including planes remaining on the ground with their pilots available to answer any questions.

“The public can walk around the plane and photograph them, and depending on what aircraft it is sometimes they can climb aboard. It’s a fantastic opportunity for people to see these planes up close,” said Spremo.

The air show will also have simulators and other hands-on displays with the purpose of entertaining families, and educating children about the basic properties of aviation. There will also be a beer tent and a VIP section.

This year’s event is set for Aug. 20 and 21.

Other grants awarded in the area included $43,750 for Kitchener Blues Fest, $399,800 for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, and $40,000 for the Perimeter Institute.

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