PHOTOS — Thousands line streets of downtown for Westerner Days parade

The 2014 Westerner Days parade had thousands of Red Deerians lining downtown streets on Wednesday morning.

The 2014 Westerner Days parade had thousands of Red Deerians lining downtown streets on Wednesday morning.

Roughly a third of the city took in the annual kickoff to the city’s largest summer festival, undeterred by hot, humid and smoky weather, and the ongoing construction road closures downtown.

Attendees were dazzled early on by the award-winning Red Deer Royals Marching Show Band, which placed second in the Italian Marching Show Band Competition in Italy earlier this month.

Trailing not far behind, with much applause, was the bid committee for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. While CBC’s Ron MacLean and his wife Cari, honourary chairs for the bid to host the games, were not there in person, they were there in spirit in a picture on the top of the committee’s cruiser.

Local athletics clubs impressed the crowd with stunts, tumbling and live taekwondo demonstrations.

Red Deer’s diversity was well represented with people from all over the world marching in the parade, as well as decorated floats for various churches.

Older generations were entertained with a look at some classic cars, while the sirens and horns of the city’s Emergency Services pleased the younger children and finished off the parade.

Many attendees then left the parade and immediately headed for Westerner Park for the opening of the Westerner Days at noon. The fair runs noon to midnight today, Friday and Saturday, and on the final day, Sunday, from noon to 10:30 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults (seniors $6), ages 13-17 $10, ages six to 12 $6, and children ages five and under get in free. Parking is $7.

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