Don your cowboy hat and pull on your cowboy boots — the 2015 Westerner Days Fair and Exposition officially kicked off with the annual parade on Wednesday morning.
The parade is one of the most anticipated events of the action-packed week. Thousands of Red Deerians began lining the streets downtown over an hour before it began. The wait was worth it — the 2015 version of the parade was the easily one of the more colourful and interesting ones in the several couple of years.
Headlining the parade was the world champion Express Clydesdales. The rare black-and-white horses were just six of many horses in the parade. A few riding groups rode through the parade route, while others pulled carriages.
The Red Deer Royals — always a highlight of the parade — had some competition in the Calgary Stampede Showband. Both bands dazzled parade-goers with upbeat tunes, choreographed moves and colour guard dance routines.
Dignitaries, local sports teams and clubs, classic cars, mini-vehicles, as well as an increased number of floats from previous years, were also part of the parade and kickoff festivities.
Two pancake breakfasts were held just off the parade route, at the Primary Care Network and the Eventide Funeral Chapel and Crematorium.
Westerner Days runs until Sunday, and the fair grounds are open from noon to midnight Thursday through Saturday, and from noon to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.
More information on all Westerner Days events and activities can be found at westernerdays.ca.