Despite a colder, wetter start to the summer, tourism in Central Alberta picked up to a torrid pace as the region was treated to warm, sunny weather for much of the season.
Overlooking Gleniffer Lake, the Gleniffer Lake Resort and Country Club had a pretty good season, according to their development and property manager, Randy Westergaard.
He said while the rainy June deterred people at the beginning of the summer, warm and sunny July and August brought people out in droves.
“It started out a bit slow, but most of the summer was pretty good up until we got a couple of devastating storms out here,” said Westergaard.
The hail storm in mid-August also put a damper on some of the summer activities.
Up at Gull Lake, the Summerland Leisure Park enjoyed a better year than last year.
“It turned out to be a good season,” said Lynn Henkel, co-owner of Summerland. “The weather was great this summer, didn’t start off too good, but it ended up pretty good.
“The lake was very warm, lots of people from our place were at the lake every day and out on their boats.”
Helping matters this year was the fact that Gull Lake didn’t have a blue-green algae advisory at all during the summer, something that did happen last year.
However, it was not all good news as the leisure park was the sight of a theft of several of its gnomes and ornaments from its mini-golf course. Henkel said they still haven’t recovered the statues or learned who was responsible.
There were also numerous events held in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake that brought people to the respective centres.
In Red Deer the annual Centrefest features six stationary street performing acts as well as four roving acts. Shows ranging from acrobats to a Don Cherry impersonator to sword swallowing to an extreme pogo act.
The fifth annual Fiestaval celebrated Latin culture with music from an array of musical performances, numerous artisan vendors and ethnic food booths and even a chair tease demonstration.
This year there was a special event in support of Red Deer’s bid to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The Red Deer is Ready rally featured games, dancing, an aboriginal drum circle, a parade and special appearances by honourary chair members Ron and Cari MacLean.
A little west in Sylvan Lake, the summer was highlighted by the arrive of Lord Stanley’s mug, but also featured the weekly art in the park and free outdoor movies.