Tens of thousands of people had their eyes on the sky Wednesday as the Canadian Forces Snowbirds swooped over White Rock Beach.
Crowds who packed Marine Drive restaurants, took to hillside balconies or lounged on the waterfront were treated to a roughly 35-minute aerial performance that kicked off around 5:45 p.m.
With donations still coming in, the event has already raised more than $50,000 for the CHILD (Children Living with Intestinal and Liver Disorders) Foundation.
It was the fourth time since 2004 that Snowbirds Fly for CHILD has been held in the city, and this year’s event was one to remember, according to event director Scott Harrold.
“The weather was fantastic,” the White Rock resident said. “Not only did (spectators) get a great event, but I think they got the first day of summer.
“The flying team was super happy, and how could you not be? It’s just gorgeous.”
Harrold estimated at least 40,000 people turned out for the show, which also included fly pasts by the RCMP’s dedicated helicopter, Air 1, and a Sea King helicopter from Victoria.
Two Snowbirds stayed on the ground to sign more than 100 T-shirts, Harrold said, and the whole team came together later in the evening to mingle with guests of the CHILD Foundation.
The day before, the pilots met around 60 children living with intestinal disorders and their families, when they took questions and gave tours of the CT-114 Tudors at YVR.
“The crowd and the participation and the bonding of the families were so tight this year, it was just really warming,” Harrold said of the overall experience.
And while it’s yet to be determined whether the city can expect another visit from the Snowbirds, Harrold said they’d be happy to come back.
“The entire team, we just love White Rock,” he said. “People are just so warm and friendly.”