Map showing road closures and parade route for Westerner Days Parade.

Map showing road closures and parade route for Westerner Days Parade.

Parade will kick off 125th Westerner Days

The 125th Westerner Days parade on Wednesday morning will fittingly feature just over 125 entries.

The 125th Westerner Days parade on Wednesday morning will fittingly feature just over 125 entries.

The parade marks the annual kickoff of the five-day fair, which runs through to Sunday.

One of the popular entries, a rare black-and-white team of draught horses known as the Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales, will be featured, as will 125 years of transportation and agriculture by Sunnybrook Farm Museum presentations.

The Westerner Days 125th anniversary float, which has already won five first place ribbons in Central Alberta parades, will also be on parade before an audience of about 30,000 people.

Curtis Debogorski, who owns the local Express Employment franchise, said the world champion horses will help raise funds for Kid Sport Red Deer, which helps disadvantaged children participate in organized sports.

After the parade, the horses will be on site Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Westerner Days fairgrounds. People will be able to take photos with one of them, and make a donation if they like, he said.

Usually Clydesdales are brown and white. Only three to five per cent of them are black and white, Debogorski said.

The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. and will follow the same route in the downtown as in the past. The weather forecast as of Monday afternoon was for sunshine with a high of 22C on Wednesday. The parade route is about 3.4 kms long and the parade takes about an hour to watch.

Marching bands, floats, collector vehicles, other horses and livestock entries, as well as dignitaries, will be also be part of the event.

Judges will be dealing with a special additional category this year — the 125th anniversary theme “Let’s Make history.”

There are 25 entries in this category, said Meghan Gustum, marketing manager for the Westerner.

The success of the parade is in a large part due to the hard work and dedication of the over 60 volunteers of the Westerner Park parade, judging committee and Westerner Park staff, she said.