Fair records fall

It was a record-breaking year at Westerner Days. In fact, three new records were set over the span of the five-day fair that wrapped up on Sunday night.

Midway riders are turned upside down as they ride the Twin Flip ride during the last day of the Westerner Days Fair on Sunday.

Midway riders are turned upside down as they ride the Twin Flip ride during the last day of the Westerner Days Fair on Sunday.

It was a record-breaking year at Westerner Days.

In fact, three new records were set over the span of the five-day fair that wrapped up on Sunday night.

This year saw the highest total attendance rate in Westerner Days history as 92,689 people attended the Central Alberta summer celebration.

This is nearly 2,000 more than the overall record that was set in 2008.

Previous daily attendance records were also surpassed on both Wednesday and Friday.

A total of 15,410 individuals passed through the gates during the kick-off day, compared to the Wednesday daily record that was last set at 13,193 in 2009.

As for Friday, this year saw a new daily attendance record of 24,302, compared to 22,234 set in 2007.

Friday’s attendance was also only 427 off the highest ever per-day attendance record, which still sits at 24,729 and was set on Saturday in 2008.

It was the first time ever that Erin Gobolos, marketing and sponsorship manager, can recall multiple records being set in one year.

She attributed this year’s success to new facilities and a top-notch entertainment lineup that appealed to a broad range of people.

Good weather and dedicated staff and volunteers helped, too.

“We get a lot of feedback all the time about what people want to see, what they don’t want to see, and we try really hard to make sure we’re producing an event that is going to attract a lot of people,” Gobolos said.

She believed the biggest draw this year was the main stage entertainment, which featured Trooper, two Kraze Birthday Bash dance parties, Marianas Trench and Johnny Reid.

Rush seating for Marianas Trench concert on Friday was another one for the Westerner record books.

People started lining up at about 11:30 a.m. on Friday. By the time doors opened at 7:30 p.m., about 2,000 people were waiting to get in.

“In terms of having that many people in line and trying to get to the front row, we’ve never experienced anything like that before,” Gobolos said.

“People were running. They had actually lost their clothing, their shoes and they kept going,” said Gobolos, who was on the ground level as the crowd of mostly young women bolted for seating in front of the stage.

She said a few people tripped and fell, but the Westerner didn’t hear of any severe injuries. Rush seating hasn’t been an issue before but it may have to change, maybe allowing only a hundred or so people in at a time.

“We would definitely do rush seating again. The majority of our concerts at Western Days are free concerts and we wouldn’t want to ticket them.”

Other key attractions, Gobolos said, included the Sunny Family Fun Zone that was expanded to include an entertainment stage and new rides, the new Artistic Expressions venue and the midway that featured 41 rides including Vertigo, the only new ride at this year’s fair that proved to be very popular.

As pleased as the staff is with results from this year, Gobolos admitted they are starting to wonder how they will top it next year.

“We always say we’d like to do better than we did this year and lets hope we can do that,” she said.

Gobolos also thanked all 230 volunteers and the more than 200 staff, both full time and part time, for all their hard work to make Westerner Days such a success.



Westerner Days winners

There were a couple of big winners at this year’s Westerner Days.

Harvey Gillett won the His and Hers Harley-Davidson Motorcycles raffle prize presented by Kinsmen/Kinette Club of Red Deer. The package includes a 2009 Road Glide motorcycle and a 2009 Sportster motorcycle.

Robert Jegou of Red Deer took home the $10,000 prize in the Central Alberta Lions Club Raffle on Sunday. Four additional prizes worth $250 were awarded throughout the fair.

And businesses World Financial Group, Mooney Insurance and London Drugs raised a total of $15,246 for a variety of charities.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Most Read