For the first time, the Westerner Days Arrest-A-Guest has failed to get their man — or family that is.
For at least 25 years, Westerner Days Fair and Exposition has celebrated its kickoff by “arresting” a lucky out-of-province family travelling through the area to be feted and given an honourary spot in the annual parade.
Arrest-A-Guest families typically got a free rental vehicle, overnight hotel stay, seat at the President’s Luncheon, western wear shopping trip and other perks.
This year, despite the best efforts of Westerner business development manager Blake Jackson and a local RCMP officer, no takers could be found in Gasoline Alley or on Hwy 2 who had enough flexibility in their holiday schedule to accept the offer.
“This has never happened before in the history of the program,” said Erin Gobolos, Westerner marketing manager. “I’m actually baffled right now.”
About half a dozen families were approached over nearly six hours, including one that called Florida home, but their schedules were all too tight.
Gobolos agrees it may be a sign of our busy, rushed and schedule-heavy times.
“I really believe it is.”
Westerner Days will review the program to see if there is a better way of finding a suitable family for next year. For instance, a separate Family Getaway online contest was a huge success with 3,600 people entering.
“Maybe there’s some sort of way we can do that.”