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Crop circles draw crowds

Crop circles discovered just outside of Stettler have attracted a steady stream of curiosity seekers to the town.

Crop circles discovered just outside of Stettler have attracted a steady stream of curiosity seekers to the town.

“Forming crop circles to attract tourists — good idea. It created some publicity and some positive interest in the community,” said Keith Ryder, executive director of the Stettler Board of Trade.

While he is as stumped as most about how the circles were made, Ryder said it has worked out well for the region.

He saw a dozen vehicles parked in the field and another dozen sitting at the side of the road when he drove out for a look at about noon on Sunday.

Custom sprayer Colby Squires found the circles on Aug. 26 while he was desiccating a wheat field on the south side of Hwy 12, just west of town.

Farmed by Gordon Smith and his family of Stettler, the field belongs to Vera Shuckburgh and is occupied by members of her family.

Smith’s daughter-in-law, Angela Smith, said on Monday that the family has been inundated with phone calls and dozens of people have driven out to the field for a look since last Thursday, when the discovery went public.

Callers and visitors have included crop circle researchers from as far away as Vancouver and Colorado as well as television, radio and newspaper reporters, said Smith.

While Gordon Smith was still harvesting on Monday and unavailable for comment, his wife, Brenda, said he is starting to grow a little weary of his newfound fame.

But he’s not in any hurry to finish cutting the wheat left standing around the crop circles, she said.

Located just south of Hwy 12 about 1.5 km west of Stettler, the circles are still visible from the road.

Angela Smith said some of the researchers who contacted her would have liked to have learned about the Stettler set a little earlier, before people started tramping around in the field. While some people have parked on the side of the road and walked in, others have driven up in their vehicles, making it difficult to look for tracks, she said.

Both women both said they should have set up a lemonade stand or sold coffee and snacks to the people who came by.

The site was especially busy on Sunday, said Angela.

“Any time I’d drive by to go to town or something, there’d be five to 20 people there,” she said. “People have phoned Gordon and Brenda from all over to ask permission to go and look at it. There’ve been a lot of people from all over.”

The Canadian Crop Circle Research Network reports the set at Stettler to be the first crop circles reported in Canada this year.