Chad Brownlee helps celebrate 125th-anniversary of Westerner Days

Chad Brownlee, Prism and nightly fireworks shows will help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Red Deer’s Westerner Days fair on July 20-24.

Chad Brownlee, Prism and nightly fireworks shows will help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Red Deer’s Westerner Days fair on July 20-24.

“Westerner Days has been a Central Alberta tradition since 1891,” said president and board chair Graham Heron. “That gives us just one more reason to celebrate …” This year, he said the goal is to build on the fair’s illustrious past, the “excitement” it creates every summer, and Central Alberta’s rural and urban traditions.

Along with four nights of 10:45 p.m. fireworks shows, another special event will be Lord Strathcona’s Musical Ride, which will open for evening Chuckwagon races.

After the Westerner Days Parade kicks things off, winding through the downtown at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday July 20, some explosive music will be on the fair bill — including the following free Centrium concerts:

– Country acts Chad Brownlee and The Washboard Union on July 20.

– Grammy-winning rap group Salt-N-Pepa and DJ Spinderella on July 21.

– The Stampeders and Prism rock bands on July 22, and

– Dance duo USS and alt-rock group Moist on July 23.

At smaller stages around the fairgrounds there will be shows by local musicians Charlie Jacobson, Domino, Shiv Shanks, Jamie Woodfin, Christian Hudson, Cole Malone, Trinity Bradshaw and others.

The 125th anniversary of Westerner Days “will be about celebrating everything that it means to be a Westerner,” said Meghan Gustum, marketing manager for the fair. “It’s about embracing your inner Westerner … we want to build on our guests’ emotional connection to the fair.” Fair-goers will be invited to share their stories and connections to Westerner Days over social media, using #westernerdayswp125 (Shaw Cable will provide free wifi on the grounds).

More fun means a couple more midway rides than last year, including the return of The Zipper.

There will also be more than 100 trade show booths. While some traditions have changed in the last century and a quarter — Heron noted there’s no more baking contests — handicrafts will be displayed in the 19th Street Market.

Among the livestock shows will be miniature donkeys and horses, special breed chickens, goat and cattle, and a petting zoo with 70 animals. On Wednesday, the Express Clydesdales will be featured in the livestock pavilion.

There will be fun and games in the Kids Korral. Midway entertainment includes a juggler, hypnotist, illusionist, magician, clown, high-divers, and a one-man band. There will also be water balls, super-dogs, reptiles, jumping rabbits, and duelling pianos.

Food booths will provide everything from greasy fair favourites to ethnic food, to gluten-free selections, said Gustum.

Westerner Days continues to partner with local businesses to provide free fair passes to dozens of Central Alberta families in need. And some of the Westerner Days entertainment will also be brought out to sick children at the Red Deer hospital and their families at Ronald McDonald House.

This year, a special three-day “mega-pass” is being offered to the public, allowing gate admission for any three fair days for $25. Also an unlimited one-day ride pass can be purchased for $34 (not including gate admission). Both will be available from June 15-July 19 at local Mac’s convenience stores and Co-op stores.

For more information on special discount days and fair costs, please visit www.westernerdays.ca. The fair is also looking for volunteers.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com