In the sky and on the ground, the 20th version of the Chilliwack Flight Fest will kick into gear this evening, possibly for the last time in its current incarnation.
The event begins Saturday evening with a twilight show followed by a dance and live music.
On Sunday, the main air show will take over Chilliwack airport and nearby hangars, starting with a pancake breakfast.
"It's our 20th anniversary and we're looking forward to a great weekend," said Flight Fest director Ray Firkus, citing sunny and rain-free weather forecast for this weekend.
The Flight Fest will play host to at least two military aircraft including a Sea King helicopter that, after flying during Saturday's twilight show, will be on display Sunday, with crew available to answer questions.
There will be stunt planes performing, a display from the Museum of Flight in Langley and many aircraft from the past and present.
"It's just a really good community event," said Firkus. "Everybody gets together and has a lot of fun."
But, as the owner of Firkus Aircraft Servicing, he says it also plays a key role in bringing together the airport and the community it serves.
"It allows the people of Chilliwack, who may not come out to the airport for any other reason, to appreciate the asset that we have here," he said. "It's nice that we have an airport right in the middle of town . . .It definitely contributes to the economy here in Chilliwack. There are businesses that are established here because we have an airport, and there are people that come here specifically because we have an airport."
In July, though, it was reported that the Flight Fest could be in jeopardy because of a $30,000 provincial gaming grant that expires at the end of the year. The money represents about 30 per cent of the budget for the event, which doesn't charge for admission.
Firkus said Tuesday that the situation hasn't changed in the past month and a half.
"We're still trying to work to make it commercially viable," said Firkus, who noted that finding corporate sponsors will be key to the event's long-term health.
He said the organizers are spending more time trying to form "partnerships with different sponsors in order to figure out what their needs are."
The public, though, can help.
People, Firkus said, should "bring their sun screen and sunglasses and hats and lawn chair and come out and have a real good time and remember to take note of the sponsors that are out there . . . because without their support, this wouldn't happen."