Westerner Days is set to kick off in Red Deer next month and officials promise this year’s events will include fun for the whole family.
Westerner Days takes place July 15th-19th with the annual pancake breakfast at Bower Mall on July 11th.
This year’s theme plays on the agriculture aspect of Westerner Days. Organizers are hoping people come out and ‘horse around’ on the midway, ‘pig out’ in the Grub Hub and ‘groove to the mooosic’ on the main stage.
“It’s all about having fun and being a little ‘punny’ with our campaign,” said Meghan Gustum, marketing manager at Westerner Park.
Fair-goers can purchase a Ride All Day pass as well as a MEGA Pass, which is new this year.
The MEGA Pass is a multi-day pass to get patrons into the fair grounds. It does not include rides or parking. Cost for the pass is $30. The Ride All Day pass is $34 and includes gate admission and unlimited midway rides for any one day of the fair. This pass does not include parking.
Both passes are available for purchase on June 15th and will be on sale until July 14th at participating Mac’s and Central Alberta Co-op locations.
The midway will include 40 rides, provided by North American Midway, including 18 thrill rides, 13 family rides and nine kiddie rides.
There are a number of entertainers that will be featured on the main stage in the Centrium including Wide Mouth Mason and Big Sugar on July 15th, The Headpins and Platinum Blonde on July 16th, High Valley and The Road Hammers on July 17th, and The Boom Chucka Boys, Lindsay Ell and Kira Isabella on July 18th.
All concerts start at 8 p.m. with the doors opening at 7 p.m.
All concerts are free of charge with gate admission and seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“This year we are really excited because we have 10 acts over five nights on our main stage,” said Gustum. “The public was telling us that they wanted free entertainment and this year we are really delivering.”
There is also nightly entertainment in The Ranch which includes Steve Arsenault on July 15th, The Dungarees on July 16th, Dirt Road Angels on July 17th, and Randi Boulton on July 18th.
The Aussie Rules Duelling Pianos will also play in the Twisted Tea Saloon from July 15th-18th.
Another new aspect of this year’s Westerner Days will be a Morning of Faith on July 19th – a non-denominational service before the grounds open to the general public.
“We will open the grounds at 9 a.m. for anyone wishing to attend the 10:30 a.m. service,” said Gustum. “We will not be charging admission, however parking fees will still be in effect.
“Guests would then be welcome to stay on the grounds and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at the fair.”
Guests will also be encouraged to bring a non-perishable donation for the Red Deer and District Food Bank with them to the service.
“We are committed to our community and therefore very excited about the opportunity to provide another chance for the community to engage and celebrate together,” said Graham Heron, president and board chair at Westerner Park.
In addition, for many, Westerner Days is an annual tradition, however, it is not on the event calendar for some Central Albertans due to illness.
Continuing the ‘Share the Fair’ program, Westerner Days offers the opportunity for sick kids to have the experience.
Various entertainers of this year’s event will visit the Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta and the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on July 16th to perform for patients and their families.
“It is at events like Westerner Days that childhood memories are created and last for years to come,” said Gustum. “We are pleased to offer a program that allows all kids, regardless if they can physically attend our event or not, the opportunity to create those same memories.”
As well, for many families, due to financial constraints, they are unable to attend the fair. In 2013, Westerner Park created the ‘We All Play’ program. The program provided 100 families with complimentary admission and parking to Westerner Days.
Passes were distributed through Family Services of Central Alberta to families who would otherwise not be able to attend. Last year the program expanded, and families with Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre will also have the opportunity to take a much needed break from the day-to-day demands of a child with special needs and play.
For more information, visit www.westernerdays.ca.