Advance planning is essential for anyone who wants to get in on the summer edition of Country Drive, says one of its primary organizers.
Set for this Saturday and Sunday, the self-guided tour will provide 22 attractions in a rural region that extends from Didsbury to Prentiss.
The highest concentration of sites is between Innisfail, Bowden and Gleniffer Lake, said organizer Kathleen Raines.
Experience has shown that people should limit their visits to four sites in one day, said Raines.
It’s therefore advisable that people take the time to look through information available about the tour, see what’s going on and where, and then tailor their tours to suit their tastes, she said.
Summer Drive is one of four self-guided tours Country Drive will offer this year — a big step up from 2005, when its founders held their inaugural tour.
The idea was to invite people into the country and let them sample the wares available in rural Alberta.
Weather has had its fun as participants prepare for the summer tour, said Raines.
Part of its attraction is the access it gives to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, along with products made from home-grown produce.
This time around, there is an abundance of peas, but the strawberries are already finished and the saskatoons aren’t ready yet, said Raines.
“This is peak season for fresh produce. Unfortunately, because of the (cold) spring we’ve had and because of the dry weather, the berries are iffy.”
Most vegetable crops are good, although some are behind, she said.
Because it takes place on a long weekend, there is a wide range of events being planned by the members who are taking part, said Raines.
Special events include:
• 100th anniversary celebrations at the Dickson Store Museum;
• Lily festival at the Bowden Sunmaze;
• Customer appreciation day at The Jungle Farm.
Snacks and meals will be available at most sites. Those that don’t offer food will have a place where people can hold their own picnics, said Raines.
Besides planning their day in advance and keeping the tour map handy, people should bring a cooler to carry home any fresh produce they buy, she said.
People are asked to leave their pets at home, since pets will not be allowed into a number of sites and it may be too hot to leave furry friends in the car.
More tours are being planned for later on in the year, including the Harvest Drive on Oct. 10 and 11 and Christmas Country Drive on Dec. 5 and 6.
All sites and events, including links to individual businesses, are detailed on the Country Drive web page at countrydrive.ca.
Anyone who does not have access to a computer can call 1-800-215-8946 toll-free or phone Raines in Spruce View at 403-728-3145.