Great Lakes International Air Show

Don’t forget the Great Lakes International Airshow is happening this weekend.

BUT…I highly doubt we will be attending this highly anticipated event due to the new parking situation.

I have to admit I am disappointed that there is no parking on site. I would have paid $10 to park on site, but I don’t want to have to pay for “special ticket prices” for the whole family or worse still $5 on top of the event price to be “shuttled” back and forth.

Anyone with younger children might find it a bit long to be out there all day, and in previous years if there were some rainy patches, you could sit them out in the car. I don’t imagine carrying lawn chairs for 4 people, and extra clothes incase of the weather changing is going to make for a comfortable 20 minute shuttle ride.

For me personally its not just price, its the inconvienience that is the deciding factor for my attendance this year. I wouldn’t be surprized to see signs in neighbours fields offering parking for $20 and a chance to see the air show for free! In the past I was upset that people would want to attend an event like an air show and not support it financially. The admission price is not outrageous and it has proved to be a favourite family event. But for whatever reason it seems to have moved away from a wonderful affordable event into what seems like a money grab. An event that would have cost $60 for a family of 4 to attend and thoroughly enjoy would cost us $300 if we want to park there.

Hmmmm….. Hydro bill…..Air Show…..Groceries…..Air Show…..Gas in the car….. Air Show…… I think I will choose going another month without going into debt over going to the Air Show, but that’s just me.

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  1. Sorry, but I thought the blog was about supporting local events in the community? Or is it about public opinions too?

  2. We wholeheartedly support the airshow. It is the parking we take issue with.

    Everything we write has been and will continue to be honest yet tainted with our slant on things. Most of our posts are. We have always encouraged reader participation and as a blog that not only supports community events we support the people living in the community and I feel that the parking situation was not fully disclosed and poorly executed. I have been to the previous airshows hosted by the community and never questioned that there is value for money attending and supporting the event.

    For us it is very important to support community events, but I feel that somehow someone dropped the ball on this and we choose to be more than just cheerleaders for everything, just sitting on the sidelines saying everything is good.

    Maybe others feel as you do and I appreciate any and all feedback and maybe it is because we love the airshow as much as we do that we feel entitled to share how we personally feel.

  3. The parking situation this year was 100% better than in previous years. No onsite parking was a great move by the air show. For $5 you park off site and ride the bus. You didn’t have to stay all day…the buses ran back and forth all day, you could leave whenever you wanted to leave and you didn’t have to worry about all the traffic.

    One of the main reasons for the off site parking was for safety reasons. Did you know someone suffered a heart attack at the last show? Because of all the traffic with cars coming and going they had a really hard time getting the ambulance out.

  4. That is truly good to hear. It is nice to be proved wrong, or at least, incorrect. I do appreciate the issue with traffic, I just wish we could have paid, say, an extra 20 dollars to be able to park on site. It would be enough to put most people off except those who really wanted to.

    On a side note, I can’t think of a better sound than a Lancaster Bomber flying overhead!

  5. Wow.

    Sorry you took such a negative stance before this community based event even happened. People usually complain about what happened after the fact, you adopted a negative and poorly informed stance before the fact.

    Fact is the parking $5.00/vehicle and free six minute busing worked like a charm. Other air shows are calling us and asking how we did it. The Canadian Forces air show co-ordinator has recommended our show to the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) for their ongoing training sessions, saying ours is one of the best run shows in North America.

    Also the busing greened the event by taking thousands of cars off the road.

    As for affordability we offered something for everyone. The $12.00 advance general admission youth ticket price for a day full of family fun and excitement is less than the cost of a medium bag of popcorn and soft drink at the theatre. As for young families, children 5 and under were free. If you wanted to pay more you could get Grandstand Seating for $35.00 each including souvenir program and unlimited cold drinks all day. For those wanting VIP service, we offered it for the first time this year and our chalets are half the cost of other local air shows. A young family of four (two adults, a 5 year old and a four year old) could have attended for $29 including parking and the free 6 minute bus ride. Pretty good family value for an all day affair that supports local charity and the men and women serving in our Canadian Forces.

    Regarding the neighbours selling parking spots for $20.00 and watching the show for free, these people should be ashamed for attempting to profit from what is a registered charity whose surpluses are being directed to organizations like the local hospital foundation for much needed patient focused medical equipment. They also take the risk of an accident happening on their property. Because they are charging a fee they then become legally liable for damages. I just hope the next time these property owners have a medical emergency and need to access services at the hospital they aren’t asked to go next door to the hospital’s neighbour’s $20.00 paid parking site and get their treatment for free from the homeowner who is offering their services at a discount. Not quite the same as being in the hospital but hey, your saving a few bucks right? And if there is a problem, fender bender, medical emergency etc. the air show carries $20,000,000 in damage and liability insurance and has medical emergency staff on site. Can the homeowner promise the same. As they say, you get what you pay for.

    Perhaps next time, before formulating an opinion, why not touch base with a show organizer and get answers to your questions. If your blog is meant to illuminate and inform, you would be providing a much valued service to your readers. However, uninformed opinion is like fog, it’s easily visible but has no substance, and is usually an annoyance.

    As to the thousands of people who got the memo about parking and free shuttle service, who attended the show and enjoyed a spectacular all day event, who were able to meet the performers, visit the not for profit displays, see up close and personal the interiors of static aircraft, and to the incredible number of local small business sponsors who donated cash or services, the air show committee comprised of hundreds of dedicated volunteers thanks you. It was an unqualified success and will result in tens of thousands of dollars flowing to the named charities that it supports.


    Hugh Shields

    Executive Director
    Great Lakes international Air Show

  6. We are more than happy that the air show was a huge success. We have already admitted that we were wrong so I am not too sure what this comment achieves other than just being an opinion. If you actually follow the blog or even just look at the top of the page, you will see a menu that contains much more than just events. Several writers contribute to the website, each giving their own opinion on things.

    Just as your are more then entitled to your opinion, so are we entitled to express our views. Not all opinions will be informed, intelligent or even right but we can have our opinion. After all, we can’t be experts on everything, that is reserved for know it alls. We have already stated that we are very glad that the air show was a huge success. It is, in our obvious uninformed opinion, the premier event in st Thomas. Better than Iron Horse, better than anything.

    I do congratulate you on a successful show but it doesn’t change what we wrote. We spoke to a couple whose husband is wheel bound with an oxygen tank who said they had called the air show and told that they had to take the bus no matter what. It wasn’t until a call was made to a reporter, who then made some arrangements, that the couple were able to attend.

    Talking goes both ways, you could have quite easily contacted us to offer information about the event. We would have been more than willing to post it, and infact are still more than willing to find out how such an event is pulled together. It’s probably best not to listen to my wish list of planes attending though…..

    I am sure the months of planning and plotting are very long and difficult but hearing the Lancaster flying overheard makes it worth while.

    While both my wife and I did post negative predictions on the air show, we did admit we were wrong. As a married man, I find that admitting being wrong comes easier now.

    Lastly, or lasty but one, we too have always preferred to attend an airshow rather than sit on the sidelines (of the road) and watching for free. We try to impart a love of planes to our children to make them understand just how amazing and important they are.

    Finally, I know that the next air show is in two years time but please take this as an invitation to write about how the air show is organized. If you wanted to write a column every month until the next air show, we would be more than happy to post it. We will still post our uninformed opinion which will sometimes be positive, sometimes negative, often irrelevant but we try to learn from our mistakes.

  7. You *could* have paid extra to park on site. The VIP ticket included an onsite parking pass for a vehicle. You only needed one for the family car.

    From the number of people that *did* park on site, I assume that this convenience wasn’t priced too high at $58 + tax.