The 2018 Westerner Days Fair and Exposition got underway Wednesday morning as the annual parade made its way through downtown Red Deer.
Despite a few detours due to road construction, more than 30,000 Central Albertans turned to watch the parade that featured 140 entries.
If you weren’t able to be there, you can watch the parade in its entirety below…
Once the Westerner Park gates opened at noon on Wednesday however, Day one attendance came in strong with 14,086 people passing through the turnstiles, up significantly from the previous two years, including 13,583 who came out on Day one of the fair last year. Record attendance for Day one of Westerner Days is 15,410 set back in 2010.
Westerner Park officials say the winner of the Grand Award in Wednesday's parade was Blue Grass Nursery, Sod and Garden Centre. The Grand Award Honourable Mention went to Red Deer Titans Rugby Football Club. The Adult Community Organization award went to Relax Crew / Parkland Class, while the Big People / Little People award was given to Red Deer Titans Rugby Football Club. The Civic Organization award was given to the City of Leduc, while the Collector Vehicles award went to Key Ag Kubota. The Comic and Novelty award was given to Big 105 & 106.7 The Drive and rdnewsNow.com. The Commercial Float award went to Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre. The Decorated Vehicle award went to Red Deer Express while the Professionally Decorated award was given to Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. The Express Clydesdales of Express Employment Professionals was given to Horse Hitch.
Officials say the three winners of the Westerner Days Best Dressed Business Contest was GoAuto, Expedia CruiseShipCenters and Milano For Men. The honourable mention went to Mission Thrift Store with a big thank you to everyone who participated and dressed up their business to celebrate Westerner Days.
Top wagons from the Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships Thursday include Jack Stott, sponsored by The Home Place who cantered into first palce with a total time of 1:16:00. Reed Rosecrans, sponsored by The Pipe Yard finished second with a time of 1:16:94 while John Stott, sponsored by Go Uncle Bens RV came in third with a total time of 1:17:32. Marvin Hubl, sponsored by MNP LLP and Dale Young, sponsored by Calgary Flames Ambassadors each finished tied for fourth with a time of 1:17:38.
This year's Westerner Days will also feature five heats of chariot races prior to the wagons on Friday and Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
In addition, this year’s Westerner Days theme aims to bring fair-goers back to our western roots, and in celebration of that theme, attendees can win Grub Hub cash by dressing in their finest western wear. By using free access to Shaw Go WiFi and posting to social media using the hashtag #MyWDExperience, fair-goers will get an additional chance to win, sponsored by Plato’s Closet. Winners will be notified via social media that same day.
This year, the Grub Hub features over 25 food vendors available on-site with some new culinary treats being offered, sponsored by rdnewsNOW. (Watch for video coming Thursday).
Day two on Thursday saw one of the most popular off-site events take place with. The BIG 105 and 106.7 THE DRIVE Chili Cook-off in support of the Kidney Foundation held at Southpointe Common.
Thursday is also Tim Hortons Kids Day where kids 12 and under get free gate admission until 6:00 p.m.
Also on Thursday, the TD Main Stage has Red Deer's own Iron Buffalo opening up for Lee Aaron and then Helix, presented by 106.7 The Drive. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show to follow at 8:00 p.m.
Learn more about what’s on tap for the next few days by visiting westernerdays.ca.
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