Gearing up for another round of top-notch family entertainment, the Westerner Days Fair & Exposition is marking its 125th anniversary this year. The fair runs July 20th-24th.
“Our anniversary year will celebrate the foundational role the community plays in our success,” said Ben Antifaiff, Westerner Park’s CEO and general manager.
Since 1891, Westerner Park has been a celebration of everything it means to be ‘Central Alberta’, officials say.
“This year’s Westerner Days campaign is about embracing your inner Westerner,” said Meghan Gustum, Westerner Park’s marketing manager. “We want to build on our guest’s emotional connection with Westerner Days. We invite our guests to take in our 125th anniversary and to share their traditions and rituals through their images and stories and let us how Westerner Days has become a part of their personal story.”
Prior to the parade on July 20th in the City’s downtown, there is also the Bower Place Pancake Breakfast on July 16th from 8 to 11 a.m. with proceeds going to the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
Highlights also abound this year for Westerner Days, including eight artists over four days at the ENMAX Centrium.
The Washboard Union and Chad Brownlee perform on July 20th, followed by DJ Spinderella and Salt n Pepa on July 21st; The Stampeders and Prism on July 22nd and USS and Moist are rounding things out on July 23rd.
All concerts start at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m. They are also free of charge with gate admission.
Entertainment on the Chillabong’s Stage in the Bud Barn and Beer Gardens is also scheduled, including Shiv Shanks on July 20th. Cole Malone and Christian Hudson perform July 21st, Charlie Jacobson plays July 22nd and Jamie Woodfin performs on July 23rd followed by Trinity Bradshaw on July 23rd as well.
Other features this year include the Ride all Day (RAD) passes – $34 – which includes gate admission and unlimited midway rides for any one day of Westerner Days. Ride All Day passes are available from June 15th – July 19th at participating Mac’s and Central Alberta Co-op Food Store locations.
Officials also say that the three day MEGA pass is the best way to enjoy several days at the fair.
This multi-day pass includes gate admission for any three days of Westerner Days but does not include rides or parking.
MEGA Passes are also available from June 15th to July 19th at participating Mac’s and Central Alberta Co-op Food Store locations.
“Westerner Days has a long-standing tradition of bringing people together in celebration,” said Gustum. “Introduced last year, we gave the community one more reason to come together – Morning of Faith. On Sunday, we’ll be offering our non-denominational service before the grounds open to the general public.
“We will open the grounds at 10 a.m. at no charge to anyone wishing to attend the 11 a.m. service,” she said. “They will then be welcome to stay on the grounds and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at the fair. Morning of Faith guests are encouraged to bring food bank donations with them to the service.”
Other traditional fair favourites include the Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championshiop nightly at 6:30 p.m. Crowds of over 4,000 gather nightly to take in this exciting event while 56 drivers from western Canada and the United States compete over the five days, all vying for the coveted North American championship buckle and trophy.
According to the web site, the All Pro Canadian Chuckwagon & Chariot Association is also pleased to bring back the ‘Junior Driver Program’. Participants range in age of 10-16 years and are sons and daughters of current All Pro Chuckwagon Drivers. The ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ will be intermission entertainment and runs Wednesday to Sunday as well.
Of course, the midway continues to offer fairgoers all kinds of exciting rides, including 18 thrill rides, 13 family rides and nine kiddie rides. Other sites to check out include Bandaloni, the Wobbly Water Balls, the Aussie Rules Dueling Pianos, the Petting Pals Petting Zoo, the Saputo Kids Corral, Safari Jeff, illusionist Murray Hatfield, Doo Doo the Clown, Little Rays and the Canadian Breed Junior Show among others.
The Holiday Inn 19th Street Market runs daily from noon to 10 p.m. in the Prairie Pavilion as well.
From fashion to home and yard decorum, hot tubs to home maintenance, the Holiday Inn 19th Street Market offers over 100 worldwide exhibitors a place to showcase their products and services to everyone.
Meanwhile, there is a call out for parade entries which kicks things off on July 20th at 9:30 a.m.
To celebrate the milestone year, Westerner Days has also added a special 125th anniversary category this year – entries will be judged on their recognition of the anniversary year.
The parade manual can be checked out at www.westernerdays.ca/off-site. Applications will be accepted until June 20th.
Admission prices for the fair run as follows – seniors (65 +) $6; adults (18+) $14; youth (13-17) $11; children (6-12) $6 and children (five and under) get in for free.
Parking is $7.
For complete details, check out westernerdays.ca.