Saddle up the horses and strike up the band: A longer Westerner Days Parade will wind through downtown Red Deer on Wednesday morning to kick off central Alberta’s biggest outdoors fair and exhibition.
With 115 parade entries, compared to last year’s 85, the 2023 spectacle is back to pre-pandemic numbers, said Peggy Jackson, Westerner Park’s corporate services supervisor and a staff liaison.
“You know what they say, everybody loves a parade,” added Jackson, who’s glad to see more people involved in this year’s community event that showcases Red Deer’s heritage. ‘
The 2022 parade was the first after two years of cancellations. “Last year, everybody was coming off of COVID and they were a little more picky about where they spent their money,” she noted.
This time out, more people seem to be viewing the parade as an exciting way “to get your name out there,” especially if new businesses in town.
The annual parade, always capped off at 125 entries because of the size of the staging area, “is a great way to kick off Westerner Days, and it gets people into the spirit,” said Jackson.
Musicians with the Red Deer Royals Marching Band, and Edmonton’s Royal Canadian Artillery Band will be performing and joining mostly local entries. Jackson expects more horses and carts in this year’s parade, as well as more floats in several categories, including businesses, non-profits and the professionally decorated. As well, there will be decked out vehicles, including vintage jalopies.
The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, by the Servus Arena. The parade route will be north on 47th Avenue, west on Ross Street, north on 48th Avenue, west on 53rd Street, south on 49th Avenue and back to 46th Street.
The parade runs rain or shine. it was only delayed one yer because of a thunderstorm, said Jackson, who advises everyone to dress for the weather and bringing sunscreen and a hat. For more information, please visit westernerdays.ca.
As well, at least two pancake breakfasts to celebrate Westerner Days are planned next week.
On Friday July 21, Westerner RV Country will held a breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. at 65 Burnt Park Drive. Donations will be collected for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
And on Sunday, July 23, the 2nd Annual Gasoline Alley Farmer’s Market Pancake Breakfast will be held from 10 a.m. in the west parking lot. Donations will raise money for Habitat for Humanity Red Deer.