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Sunnybrook Farm Museum hosts annual Pioneer Days Festival

Red Deerians were able to see an antique tractor pull competition, baby animals and more at the Pioneer Days Festival.
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Sunnybrook Farm Museum executive director Ian Warwick says he was glad people were able to see the site’s new church during the Pioneer Days Festival this past weekend. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deerians were able to see an antique tractor pull competition, baby animals and more at the Pioneer Days Festival.

This past weekend, Sunnybrook Farm Museum hosted its annual two-day festival, which is the museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

“All of our volunteers are here, committed to raising funds for our programs that we do throughout the year,” executive director Ian Warwick said on Sunday.

“The festival is also a great showcase to show off the amazing things that are happening at the museum. The new Willowdale church was opened a couple of months ago and it’s lovely to have people in there finally after two years of working on that project.”

Warwick said the church can be used as a wedding space.

“It seats 70 people inside. You can rent the church and you can rent the school building next door for a dinner. Then you can do wedding photos in front of the old log house and you’d have the grounds to yourself in the fall or spring. We’re hoping that’s going to be used for activities throughout the year,” he said.

While this year’s festival wasn’t as big as last year’s edition of the event, it was still a notable success, Warwick noted.

“We had about 20 per cent more people last year, but it was at the end of COVID and everybody wanted out, and there wasn’t as much competition for events – we were one of the first organizations to do some major events last summer,” Warwick explained.

“That was the biggest turnout we’ve ever seen here. But this year, the gate receipts were about the same and it was just steady all day. The weather was a little cooler. We’re pleased with the amount of support we’ve been getting.”

The festival also featured a silent auction, antique car show, cowboy church service, live entertainment, barrel train rides, children’s activities and more.

The Pioneer Days Festival features antique tractor pulls

Wildfire smoke led to cancellations from schools for programming in May, but summer day-camps have been very popular this summer, Warwick added.

“The whole summer has been amazing. We’ve had amazing support from the community and from our volunteers,” he said.

This fall, the Sunnybrook Farm Museum will begin a search for more volunteers, “especially guys who work on old tractors,” said Warwick.

“We’re trying to get some old farmers in to help us do some of the maintenance work around the heavy equipment – that’s a particular focus,” he said.

“We’re always looking for helping making pies, serving dinners and things like that as well. Some of our volunteers are aging out and not able to come around as much.”

The museum has 80 volunteers who donate 10,000 hours a year.

For more information on Sunnybrook Farm Museum, visit www.sunnybrookfarmmuseum.ca.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s annual Pioneer Days Festival was held this past weekend. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
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Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s annual Pioneer Days Festival was held this past weekend. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)


Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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