The annual Westerner Days Fair and Exposition benefits all of Red Deer and central Alberta, says Westerner Park CEO Bradley Williams.
“The exposure it creates for our area is tremendous,” said Williams.
“To bring many people in does a lot to help fill up the hotels. It supports the food and beverage industry, service stations, shopping and other things like that.
“It gives people the opportunity to see what Red Deer has to offer from a community and lifestyle perspective.”
The annual fair is just around the corner and Williams said people are getting excited.
“We’ve got some new stuff happening at the fair this year, which I think everybody is looking forward to. And people are pretty happy with our concert lineup as well,” said Williams.
Westerner Park’s newest facility, Exhibition Hall, will house the Dinosaurs Unearthed show, which features 26 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and more than 20 fossils, and games of laser tag.
Ashley Nelson, Westerner Park marketing and communications assistant manager, said setup for Westerner Days will begin the weekend before the event, which runs July 17 to 21.
“We started planning in October of last year, so it’s an all-year, all-hands-on-deck planning process to make everything come together,” said Nelson.
The event normally draws between 90,000 to 100,000 people each year – most of whom are from central Alberta, said Nelson.
“We do advertise outside of central Alberta as well. We do draw in families from Calgary and Edmonton, as well as up north from places like Grande Prairie,” she said.
Williams said Westerner Days wouldn’t be possible without the 100-plus volunteers.
“They’re all people who want to give back to the community of Red Deer and central Alberta. To have them there, supporting Westerner Days, is incredibly rewarding for us.
“For us to hire 100 people for a five-day event, from setup to teardown, in a community this size … at this time of the year, when a lot of people are on vacation, would be very difficult to do.
“The volunteer support is immensely helpful for Westerner Park.”
Attendees will not be allowed to smoke cannabis on the grounds, Williams added.
“We appreciate it’s legal, and people can have their own opinions on that. It’s not for Westerner Park to get involved in, but clearly, there is no consumption or sale of cannabis at Westerner Park.
“Not just for the fair, but for any event,” Williams said.
For more information on Westerner Days, visit www.westernerdays.ca.