Snowbirds Over Orillia

UPDATE: June 2012

On June 30th, the Snowbirds appeared once again in Orillia. On a beautiful June day with the sun blasting down, the skies blue as blue, and the breeze just enough to cool you off, the crowd at Couchiching Beach Park was enthralled with the aerial stunts and amazing flying skills of the Canadian Snowbirds.  There is almost nothing that stands out in your memory like the brilliant red and white of these air ships against a stunning blue sky - it is a sight that has been emblazoned in my memories since my very first view of a group of Snowbirds. Delightful fun to watch, and thunderous sounds as they blast past your eyes only ads to the excitement they bring.

The 2012 air show was only one small part of the Canada Day Festivities this year. Along with the air show overhead, there was a plane sitting in the middle of Couchiching Beach Park, where visitors could take a close up look. On Friday (June 29th) visitors and locals could have taken the opportunity to meet with the Snowbirds at a reception held at the recently built Lakehead University. In future, those wondering when the Snowbirds might show up in Orillia, should watch the notices throughout the summer that appear in the Orillia Packet - you will usually find the dates listed. Beyond these two advances to previous shows, we've discovered that when the Snowbirds are doing shows in the local area (not just Orillia, but nearby surroundings), they return to the Simcoe Airport at the end of a show - a place that is but a 10 minute drive from home, and one can watch them landing as they return to ground.

Snowbirds Air show - 2009

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Last year (2009) in June, the much lauded "Snowbirds" put on an air show over Lake Couchiching at the Port of Orillia and Veteran's Park area. As is common whenever the Snowbirds perform, the crowd was large, with places to sit near the waterfront show site nearly impossible to find. Amid much jostling and careful treading our family (kids and grandkids too) found a tiny square of grass fairly close to the edge of water.

another view of the blue fighting jet from OrilliaMany of those in attendance had cameras - film, digital, video; some "point and shoot" types and some with very long lenses. My own cameras were loaded with mid-range lenses of 200mm - one a VR (a lens that has image stabilization) and one a regular lens. While they weren't really equal to getting the close-ups I desired, they were manageable weight-wise, and a 400mm VR lens is too heavy for me to hand-hold. Bringing a tripod to a crowded outdoor area is not such a good takes up space and would be in the way (and an annoyance) to hose sitting on the ground, so my compromise was the 200mm. I have a 300mm, but it was on loan to a family member.
The day was sunny and warm, with almost no cloud in the sky, save those made by the contrails of the Snowbird's jets. Although crowded with many people, arround us there was no unruliness and people were respectful of their neighbours, weather standing or sitting.

The show itself was up to the Snowbird standards and had every eye in the crowd glued to the sky (including most of the dogs near us), and the air around us filled with "oohs and aahs".

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