Westerner Days Fair and Exposition set new attendance records on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday the annual event attracted 27,752 visitors and on Sunday 22,478 people came out.
A total of 99,614 attended the five-day event to easily beat attendance in 2014, when the fair drew 92,872 people. The overall record of 102,665 fairgoers was set in 2012.
“There are a lot of factors that played into our attendance. Weather is always a big one. We were down during the week because the weather wasn’t great, but we caught back up on Saturday and Sunday because the weather was perfect for the families to come out,” said Meghan Gustum, Westerner Park marketing manager, on Monday.
Attendance on Wednesday was 13,620, on Thursday it was 21,404, and Friday saw 14,360 people cross through the gates.
Chuckwagon races were postponed on Thursday and Friday due to muddy track conditions and poor weather. On Friday, the midway had a later start and some entertainment was rescheduled due to rain and wind.
“It wasn’t safe for the driver and animals. It wasn’t safe for our guests. It wasn’t safe for the performers, so we had to make that call.”
Gustum said a lot of new entertainment and activities brought out visitors.
“We had the Morning of Faith and the Christian concert on Sunday, which was entirely new to us. The Morning of Faith Service brought out 2,500 people in the morning. Then a lot of them stayed around for the concert as well.”
The non-denominational service and Christian contemporary music concert will definitely be part of Westerner Days in the future, she said.
New additions to the race track activities were the Canadian Cowboy Challenge, Stock Dog Trial, Stock Dog Demo, and the Stampede Show Band and Red Deer Royals opening up the pony chuckwagon races.
“There were lots of things we added to our lineup this year. We were really kind of expanding all the areas.”
Planning is already underway for 2016.
“Next year is our 125th anniversary, so it’s going to be a milestone year. There will definitely be some new things.”