Category: Events

Taste of Red Deer comes to CentreFest this Friday

CentreFest is teaming up with the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s to bring some new flavour to a popular event.

Taste of Red Deer is now a part of CentreFest and will bring delicious food tastings to the already popular event this Friday, July 26 from 6-9 p.m.

Officials say the partnership between the two organizations seemed a natural fit, both set on bringing young and old alike to Red Deer’s downtown core for unique entertainment, delicious food, and family fun!

“Taste of Red Deer has been a staple at Festival of Trees for years, and we decided to recreate it in the summertime,” shared Manon Therriault, CEO for the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. “It just makes sense that two non-profit organizations would work together for the betterment of our community. We are very proud to have CentreFest as a partner.”

Taste of Red Deer will feature up to 30 Central Alberta restaurants, each sampling some of their best menu items. Guests will purchase food vouchers to spend on whatever tantalizes their taste buds. Proceeds from the Taste of Red Deer event will go directly to purchasing equipment for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

“Our goal is to create an exciting family experience for Central Albertans, and our partners at Taste of Red Deer will add a new dimension to CentreFest that increases the excitement our event already creates,” explained Jan Penney, CentreFest Board Chair.

A full slate of CentreFest performers will be on hand Friday night to provide unique & fun-filled entertainment while guests sample an array of food items from local vendors.

Learn more at

(With file from media release)

Chuckwagons, fireworks cancelled on day three of Westerner Days

Westerner Days organizers have cancelled a pair of events scheduled for Friday, which is day three of the fair.

“The APCCA and Westerner Park have mutually agreed that The Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagons have been cancelled for this evening,” a statement reads.

“The safety of both the riders and the animals is of upmost importance to both organizations. After inspection of the track by both organizations we have mutually agreed to cancel the Chuckwagons for tonight.”

In addition, Friday’s fireworks have been postponed until tomorrow night due to weather conditions.

On day two of the fair, 11,862 people came through the gates, which is down substantially from day two of the fair in 2018. However, the weather was not conducive to Westerner Days enjoyment in the slightest.

Wednesday (day one) saw a slight increase in attendance from last year.

rdnewsNOW showcases the Westerner Days Grub Hub

Who doesn’t love fair food?

Westerner Days is on until Sunday, June 21, and when you’re there, make sure to stop by the rdnewsNOW Grub Hub where you’ll find many a type of culinary creations.

For the second year, the rdnewsNOW team hit up the Grub Hub to show you what’s cookin’…

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s “Donate to Dunk”

RED DEER- Make a splash in your community by taking part in the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s”Donate to Dunk” event at Westerner Days.

Come on down to the fair grounds and take part in their first ever dunk tank fundraising effort.

This Thursday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. take your best shot for a good cause.

You’ll get three throws for $5 and all proceeds from the event are in support of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre.

Can’t make it down to Westerner Days but still want to make a donation?

Head over to the donation Website and #DonateToDunk by following these steps:

1. Choose your donation amount – Any donation made equals three throws.
2. Pick your “Dunkee” – A number of community members are ready to be dunked.
3. Leave your name and a message if you would like them to know who is “virtually” dunking them.

There is a full line up of community “dunkees” including: RCMP members, Holly Erb, Ian Ihme, MJ Ball and Michelle Fritz.

The all-star dunk line-up includes Alex Wood, owner of Ryde RD, Landon Resta of MNP, Dustin Eckstrand, Josh Tarzwell from the Red Deer Rebels, and Mark Jones representing the CACAC.

Jazz at the Lake returns to Sylvan Lake

SYLVAN LAKE- The 17th annual Jazz at the Lake festival takes place August 16-18.

The town will host a variety of artists, the ever popular “Pubs & Clubs” event as well as the newly added “Party in the Park.”

Headliner Laila Biali (who recently won the JUNO for “Vocal Jazz Album of the Year”) is returning by popular demand.

“Party in the Park” takes place in Centennial Park Sunday afternoon.

Dance along to Saskatchewan bluesman Jack Semple and Argentinian keyboard phenom Gabriel Palatchi with their respective trios.

Admission is $10 for adults and free for kids.

In celebration of Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary – come dressed in your best 60’s flower power outfits.

Johnny Summers is back for the 11th year with his Little Big Band in a Swing Dance on Saturday night at the Legion.

“Pubs & Clubs” is also returning this year and will feature eight different live jazz and jazz-oriented bands at seven different venues around town.

Bands start at 4 p.m. and continue every half hour into late evening.

All admissions to this event are free.

Festival tickets are on sale now.

Visit for more information.

Rope for Hope Red Deer returns to support children with critical illnesses

An 84-year-old Red Deer man is aiming to be the top fundraiser in Canada at this Saturday’s third annual Rope for Hope Red Deer, a Make-A-Wish Foundation event held in support of children with critical illnesses.

Joe Hittel rappelled down 12 stories of Stantec Executive Place in downtown Red Deer last year, raising over $14,000 for Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta – the second highest fundraising amount in Canada.

RELATED: Dozens rappel down Stantec Executive Place in support of Make a Wish

This year, Hittell will join several others in rappelling down Executive Place on Saturday, and also up the ante by working to be the number one fundraiser across the nation.

“I’m going to be wearing my leprechaun suit like I did last year,” says Hittel. “This year, the second time around, I’ve heard lots of stories from customers that had Wish Kids and how happy they were to get their wishes granted. So with those stories, I just kept going and going and now I’m over $30,000.”

Hittel says that amount of money raised will allow for three children to have their wishes granted, costing roughly $10,000 to grant each wish.

“I had a phone call one night from Make-A-Wish and this young girl said, ‘Could I speak to Joe Hittel please?’ and I said, ‘You’re speaking to him.'” he recalls. “And she says, ‘I just want to thank you very much for all the work you’re doing for the Make-A-Wish Foundation,’ so that just brought tears to my eyes to hear that.”

In 2018, Hittel’s efforts allowed 16-year-old Anakin Suerink’s wish to come true – meeting his favourite characters from Star Wars and being presented with a trip to Walt Disney World by Darth Vader himself.

RELATED: Red Deer teen’s galactic dream comes true thanks to Make-A-Wish

“About a month later, Make-A-Wish had a party for us and I met him and his family and my family came down and we had quite an afternoon,” says Hittel. “That was another tearful afternoon. He was so happy.”

Hittel says his fundraising totals have come from the generous support of local businesses, raising money through silent auctions, online auctions and other events where local businesses have donated merchandise or portions of sales.

“I just went from business to business every day and kept on getting donations,” adds Hittel. “Some couldn’t do anything with the economy and some gave me more money than they did last year. The more news I heard from customers about their Wish Kids and stuff, the more it got me going.”

Jen Garden, Development and Events Coordinator for Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta says the event is a chance to achieve something great and help out a great cause at the same time, noting there are eight children in Red Deer currently waiting for a wish.

“People often have the sense of accomplishment because it’s counter-intuitive to rapel off a building,” says Garden. “There’s a lot of pride coming off of that event, so I’d like to see the rest of the Red Deer community come out and support these incredibly brave people who worked really hard at meeting that $1,500 minimum or go beyond that like we’ve seen with Joe and a whole bunch of other people.”

Communications and Marketing Officer Leanne Gullekson says a granted wish is a true game-changer for the kids that receive it.

“They get a chance to focus on something beyond doctors appointments and medical procedures,” explains Gullekson. “They get a chance to hang out with their family outside of a hospital setting and it gives them a chance to sort of remember what its like to just be a normal kid.”

Gullekson adds for the kids to know that donors and people they don’t even know are raising money to make it possible for them to have their wish, makes them feel the whole world is enveloping them.

“That’s really important for a kid whose living with an illness to know that people have their back.”

The third annual Rope for Hope Red Deer takes place Saturday, July 20 at Stantec Executive Place in downtown Red Deer (4900 50 Street).

Registration runs from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with the event itself running from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

According to the Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope website, this year’s fundraising goal is $68,700.

So far, over $44,000 has been raised or 65 per cent of the organization’s fundraising goal.

What you need to know for the Westerner Days Parade

What you need to know for the Westerner Days Parade

The Westerner Days Fair & Exposition Parade, the traditional kick-off to Central Alberta’s largest summer celebration, gets underway at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Over 30,000 people are expected to line the streets of downtown Red Deer to enjoy the decorated floats and vehicles, collector vehicles, local celebrities, marching bands and livestock entries as they meander through the heart of Red Deer.

What you need to know for the Westerner Days Parade 1

Multiple road closures, traffic detours and transit disruptions will be in effect during the parade.

Roadways on the parade route will be closed from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and parking will not be permitted along the parade route.

When it comes to city transit, the last departure from Sorensen Station prior to the parade will be at 8:45 a.m., while the last arrival into Sorensen Station prior to the parade will be at 9:10 a.m. The first departure from Sorensen Station after the parade will be at 12:15 p.m.

There will be no transit service during the parade with a couple of exceptions. They include Route 12 and 2A South Connector which will continue to run from Bower Mall.

Bolt will depart at 9:15 a.m. from 49 Avenue and 54 Street.

Transit users can visit to look up schedules, get up to date departure times and see where buses are in real-time with GPS tracking.

If you can’t make it to the parade in person, or want to watch it all over again, rdnewsNOW will have the parade available for viewing in its entirety starting on Thursday.

Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic returns for 12th year

The Gord Bamford Foundation is pleased to announce the 12th Annual Charity Golf Classic, will be taking place August 7-8, 2019 at the Cambridge Hotel Resort & Conference Centre in Red Deer.

JEDCO Energy Services Corp is returning as the presenting sponsor for the two-day event.

This year’s emcee is Paul McGuire, formerly of ET Canada. The star-studded gala includes appearances from sports icons and performances from Canadian country music stars Gord Bamford, Jess Moskaluke, Aaron Pritchett and JoJo Mason.

“No other event in Canada is doing what we are doing. We bring in top athletes, exciting acts, and incredible experiences to be bid on during our auction. The goal is to create a unique experience every year. Every year the organizing committee does an incredible job. I am so grateful to have the team I do, they see my vision and my passion to support kids and communities,” said Gord Bamford.

“We anticipate raising enough funds to make a difference in the lives of 1000’s of kids this year. Thanks to everyone for their support over the years – I look forward to the 12th Annual!”

Hosted by Bamford, the gala evening will see an auction packed with unique items and delicious dinner for attendees. The second day will see a full day of golf at the beautiful Lacombe Golf & Country Club.

The charity golf classic is the primary source of fundraising for the Gord Bamford Foundation, with an incredible $469,720 raised at 2018’s sold out event. The funds raised were shared between the MusiCounts, Big Brothers Big Sisters – Lacombe, Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, and supported music therapy programs is childrens’ hospitals across Canada.

To date, the Gord Bamford Foundation has raised over 3.6 million dollars to support organizations making a difference in children’s lives across Canada. Aligning with the mission of the Foundation all funds raised are used to support youth-centered initiatives that include or involve music, education, healthcare, sports, and multi-use facilities.

Safety a top priority for Westerner Days chuckwagon events

Following the deaths of six chuckwagon horses at this year’s Calgary Stampede, the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association (APCCA) says it will do everything it can to prevent similar tragedies from happening during Westerner Days this week in Red Deer, and beyond.

Association President Dwayne Dubuc says they are saddened by what happened in Calgary and are aware of the heightened scrutiny the sport of chuckwagon racing is under.

However, he says there are two very distinct differences between the chuckwagon competitions at Westerner Days and what goes on at the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby, which is a World Professional Chuckwagon Association event.

“We don’t have outriders. We just have the wagons on the tracks, so the only other guys on horseback would be our judges,” he explains.

“We also restrict the size of our horses, and that allows us to use a smaller wagon which takes up less space on the track. It’s also a little bit easier to maneuver and maybe not as hard of a pull either for the horses.”

Dubuc says his association believes they have a good track record.

“We do everything we can, and Westerner Park does what they can to make sure that the track is safe, so that’s first priority. If it’s not safe, we don’t run.

“But even on a safe track, the horse is just an athlete, and like any athlete, can make a mistake, take a bad step and fall down. I’m not going to deny that.”

Dubuc added, “We’re very restrictive in our memberships, as well. Memberships can be denied or revoked if we feel that someone’s out there just looking out for their own win and not taking the horses’ safety seriously.”

Dubuc dismissed calls from humane societies to bring an end to Chuckwagon racing altogether.

“Protesters that say the horse doesn’t have a say whether or not it runs, and that it doesn’t choose to do so, just tells me that those people really must not have any experience working with a horse or having a bond with a horse.

“It’s plain and simple. We cannot make the horse run. If the horse does not want to be on that wagon, it’ll plant its feet and it’ll balk. It won’t move. Literally speaking, of course the horse cannot speak, but the horse can definitely communicate.”

Calgary Stampede officials have committed to undertaking a review of how it operates its chuckwagon events, something Dubuc adds they’d be silly not to pick up on should changes be made.

Westerner Park CEO Bradley Williams says staff will be inspecting the track daily to ensure it is in top shape for racing.

“If we get severe weather, we will note that and postpone the race until the track can be brought back up to its proper standard,” he shared, adding also that park staff inspect the track to ensure it is free from deep ruts or debris.

Whether it’s Westerner Days, Canadian Finals Rodeo, or other smaller events which involve cattle, goats or otherwise, Williams says safety is their top priority.

Open houses this week for AltaLink project

Two open houses are coming up to allow people to learn more about AltaLink’s Central East Transfer-Out Project.

AltaLink’s proposed project affects residents in the counties of Red Deer, Lacombe and and Stettler.

If approved, the project would see 55-60 kilometres of new 240 kilovolt transmission line connecting the Gaetz Substation, located east of Red Deer, to a new ATCO electric transmission line southeast of Alix.

The company is proposing two options, which you can learn about on their website.

The open houses are happening on the following dates:

Tuesday, July 16 – 5 to 8 p.m. at the Alix Community Hall (5008 49 Avenue, Alix, AB)

Wednesday, July 17 – 5 to 8 p.m. at Canyon Ski Resort (38433 RR 264A, Red Deer County, AB)