Gimli model festival

Flying high, but small

Marc Sharpe

Gimli Model Festival will be sending planes weighing from a few ounces to 75 pounds up into the air.

“It provides what we sort of call a fantasy of flight,” festival vice-president Jeff Esslinger says.

In its 12th year, this August festival attracts about 1,500 people from around the world to Gimli, Esslinger says.

“There’s a really top notch – as far as Canada and the US goes – flying facility,” Esslinger says, referring to Interlake Radio Control Model Club’s flying site near Gimli.

Throughout the weekend, members of flying clubs will be sending their models into the sky for fellow flyers and spectators to watch.

“If anybody is ever interested in model airplanes, it’s a good place for people to come out and check out the different varieties,” Esslinger says.

Organizers even restructured the festival this year to give potential pilots a chance to chat with those with more experience.

“On the Sunday, we’re changing up the activities to not have so much of a formal air show,” Esslinger says.

With informal flights taking place, the pilots will be available to talk shop. But the Gimli Model Festival isn’t just for flight enthusiasts. 

Esslinger says many people make an entire vacation out of the festival, taking in the flying demonstrations but also exploring some of the other attractions the town has to offer, such as go-karting, swimming and camping.

That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be prepared to spend a significant amount of time with their heads turned to the sky.

“It’s family-oriented. We encourage people to bring the family, bring the sunscreen. Bring a blanket or your lawn chairs,” Esslinger says.

In other words, get ready for a long day outdoors.

Published in Volume 70, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 2, 2016)

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