Westerner Park CEO Ben Antifaiff (photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

WATCH: Dear Rouge and two country-singing Aarons — Pritchett and Goodvin — are on the Westerner Days bill

Helix, Lee Aaron, Washboard Union will also perform

Central Alberta’s largest summer celebration is putting the focus on home and heritage this summer

The ‘home’ part will include Danielle McTaggart of Vancouver electronica band Dear Rouge performing a homecoming concert in her native Red Deer during Westerner Days this summer.

No less than three different Aarons will also be in an entertainment line-up described as “bigger than ever” for the July 18-22 fair and exposition. They are: Country artists Aaron Goodvin and Aaron Pritchett and classic rocker Lee Aaron.

Rock You metalheads Helix will perform along with Iron Buffalo. And pop group Virginia to Vegas is on the bill, as well as the River Town Saints, the Dean Ray Band and home-grown singers Alecia Aichelle and Randi Boulton.

Other talented local artists will have a chance to perform in the beer garden and lounge, which is “exciting” for up-and-comers, said Ben Antifaiff, CEO of Westerner Park.

As for the heritage aspect, there will be a renewed focus on arts and craft displays, which has historically been important part of Westerner Days, added Antifaiff on Thursday afternoon at the Westerner Park Chalet.

This year, Arts at the Market, will include spaces for local visual artists to show their works. Antifaiff said preserving history — with a modern flare — is the idea.

And plenty of livestock will be seen, even though Antifaiff said one of the challenges this year will be working around construction of a new pavilion at Westerner Park.

A new 75,000-square-foot multi-use space, adjoining the Stockmens Pavilion and Agricentre, is being built to serve as a future exhibit and trade show hall. This means some of the Westerner Days livestock shows will be moved, but there will still be the Little Red Barn, a Discovery Barn and a kids’ pen with horses, ducks, sheep and goats.

Fair-goers can see nightly Pony Chuckwagon races, as well as an extreme Cowboy Challenge, horsemanship demos, and a stock dog competition — as well as horses and knights re-enacting historic battles.

Antifaiff noted new attractions, such as the Funhaus inflatables, as well as different roaming entertainers. This year’s midway will include 41 rides (including the return of The Zipper and the new Expo Wheel), and more ethnic food booths.

Since the local economy isn’t great, Antifaiff believes Westerner Days is a cheap way to have a close-to-home holiday. It’s a particularly good deal for those who buy their tickets before June 14 from ticketsalberta.com.

“It’s Central Alberta’s summer celebration, a gathering place where friends can go enjoy themselves,” added Shannon Penny, marketing manager for Westerner Park.

For more information, please visit westernerdays.ca.


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Shannon Penny, marketing manager for Westerner Park (photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

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