Westerner Exposition Association celebrated its 125th anniversary on October 31st, 2016! For 125 years, Westerner Park has been a celebration of everything it means to be “Central Alberta.” Born from a sense of community and a commitment to agriculture, Westerner Park has always been guided by the people, for the people. Fueled by pride in the region, its people and its potential, Westerner Park embodies the tenacity, determination and strength that define the pioneer spirit. That spirit continues to drive us today as we address the changing needs of a growing community. Westerner Park is a physical representation of the spirit of Central Alberta, blending tradition with vision, rural with urban, and agriculture with entertainment, all the while holding fast to a sense of hope and excitement for the future yet to come.

Throughout 2016 we celebrated our rich history while highlighting the community that supports us. Westerner Park worked with the community to encourage involvement from the people, organizations and businesses of Central Alberta in celebrating their milestone. After working with the community for over 125 years, we proud to be your destination for celebration. Let’s Make History!

Westerner Park's 125th Anniversary


The History of Westerner Exposition Association

  • The Red Deer Agricultural Society was organized on October 31, 1891, with Rev. Leonard Gaetz as the first president. John Jost Gaetz was the first secretary-treasurer.

  • Red Deer's first fall fair was held in the Wilkins Block on Ross Street on October 11, 1892.

  • In May 1894, the Red Deer Agricultural Society helped to organize a statute labour and fire district, the region's first form of rural local government.

  • The Red Deer Agricultural Society purchased the first permanent fairgrounds on the southeastern edge of the Red Deer valley. It was named Alexandra Park, in honour of Queen Alexandra.

  • The Red Deer Fairgrounds were also used as a military training camp during the First World War between the years 1915 to 1917.

  • Katherine Stinson made the first airplane landing in Red Deer's history in front of the grandstand during the annual Red Deer Fair, 1918.

  • The first annual Red Deer horse sale held was held at the fairgrounds, March 1927.

  • The Red Deer Agricultural Society becomes a new legal entity under a private member's bill passed by the Alberta Legislature on March 29, 1949.

  • The Red Deer Agricultural Society was replaced by the Red Deer Exhibition Association, a limited liability, not-for-profit, organization on December 4, 1965.

  • The Red Deer Silver Buckle Rodeo was staged for the first time, April 1966.

  • On April 6, 1976, the shareholders of the Red Deer Exhibition Association voted unanimously to relocate the fairground to a large new site on the southern edge of the City.

  • The Red Deer Exhibition Association was replaced by the Westerner Exposition Association, a limited liability company formed under the provisions of the Alberta Companies Act, 1979.

  • 115 acre land lease agreement signed with The City of Red Deer in 1980. The official sod-turning took place on the site of the new fairgrounds, April 25, 1980.

  • The new Westerner Exposition grounds were developed. The Alta-Plex multi-purpose building was constructed. The Chalet and a number of smaller buildings were moved from the old site to the new location. 1981-1982.

  • The official opening ceremonies for the new facilities took place on December 12, 1982.

  • The first Agri-Trade, a partnership between the Westerner Exposition Association and Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, was staged in October 1984.

  • The Westerner Exposition Association celebrated its 100 year anniversary and construction of the Centrium on the northside of the Alta-Plex complex was completed.

  • Began their partnership with the local WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels.

  • 34,000 sqft addition was added to the Agricentre in 1995 for a total of 40,000sqft of space under one roof and a total of 250,000 sq ft of exhibit space at Westerner Park making them the 3rd largest facility in Alberta and in the top 5 of all of Canada west of Toronto.

  • 1998 was marked as the most successful year in the 107 year history.

  • Seeing the need for smaller exhibit space and meeting rooms, the Harvest Centre was constructed in 2000, adding an additional 18,500 sq ft of meeting and exhibit space.

  • In 2001 the Westerner Exposition Association was facing financial hardship with the deregulation of electricity pricing in the province of Alberta – through this an opportunity was born and a long term partnership was developed with ENMAX Energy Corporation to secure a source of electricity and provide naming rights to the Centrium.

  • A 99 site full service recreation vehicle park was added in 2003.

  • Agri-Trade celebrated it's 20th year in 2004, growing from 70,000 sq ft of exhibit space to 400,000 sq ft.

  • $6.1 million was awarded to the Westerner Exposition Association from the Alberta Lottery Fund for capital funding. $2.1 million was used to complete the Agricentre, and the remainder was used add stabling barns and show rings increasing the stabling capacity to 700.

  • 2006 saw the creation of the Long Term Land use master plan and the completion of the east end race track development.

  • 2007; Jack and Joan Donald donated $1.5 million for the building of an Administration Building.

  • 2009; Economic impact of Westerner Days Fair & Exposition is an estimated $7.3 million, $5 million in spending by non-local visitors. Westerner Park generates $150 million in economic activity, hosts over 1,500 events and welcomes 1.5 million visitors each year.

  • 2010; Hundreds of new trees (225) and shrubs (1,200 were added as part of the Westerner Parks green initiatives.

  • 1891

    The Red Deer Agricultural Society was organized on October 31, 1891, with Rev. Leonard Gaetz as the first president. John Jost Gaetz was the first secretary-treasurer.

  • 1892

    Red Deer's first fall fair was held in the Wilkins Block on Ross Street on October 11, 1892.

  • 1894

    In May 1894, the Red Deer Agricultural Society helped to organize a statute labour and fire district, the region's first form of rural local government.

  • 1895

    The Red Deer Agricultural Society purchased the first permanent fairgrounds on the southeastern edge of the Red Deer valley. It was named Alexandra Park, in honour of Queen Alexandra.

  • 1915

    The Red Deer Fairgrounds were also used as a military training camp during the First World War between the years 1915 to 1917.

  • 1918

    Katherine Stinson made the first airplane landing in Red Deer's history in front of the grandstand during the annual Red Deer Fair, 1918.

  • 1927

    The first annual Red Deer horse sale held was held at the fairgrounds, March 1927.

  • 1949

    The Red Deer Agricultural Society becomes a new legal entity under a private member's bill passed by the Alberta Legislature on March 29, 1949.

  • 1965

    The Red Deer Agricultural Society was replaced by the Red Deer Exhibition Association, a limited liability, not-for-profit, organization on December 4, 1965.

  • 1966

    The Red Deer Silver Buckle Rodeo was staged for the first time, April 1966.

  • 1976

    On April 6, 1976, the shareholders of the Red Deer Exhibition Association voted unanimously to relocate the fairground to a large new site on the southern edge of the City.

  • 1979

    The Red Deer Exhibition Association was replaced by the Westerner Exposition Association, a limited liability company formed under the provisions of the Alberta Companies Act, 1979.

  • 1980

    115 acre land lease agreement signed with The City of Red Deer in 1980. The official sod-turning took place on the site of the new fairgrounds, April 25, 1980.

  • 1981

    The new Westerner Exposition grounds were developed. The Alta-Plex multi-purpose building was constructed. The Chalet and a number of smaller buildings were moved from the old site to the new location. 1981-1982.

  • 1982

    The official opening ceremonies for the new facilities took place on December 12, 1982.

  • 1984

    The first Agri-Trade, a partnership between the Westerner Exposition Association and Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, was staged in October 1984.

  • 1991

    The Westerner Exposition Association celebrated its 100 year anniversary and construction of the Centrium on the northside of the Alta-Plex complex was completed.

  • 1992

    Began their partnership with the local WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels.

  • 1995

    34,000 sqft addition was added to the Agricentre in 1995 for a total of 40,000sqft of space under one roof and a total of 250,000 sq ft of exhibit space at Westerner Park making them the 3rd largest facility in Alberta and in the top 5 of all of Canada west of Toronto.

  • 1998

    1998 was marked as the most successful year in the 107 year history.

  • 2000

    Seeing the need for smaller exhibit space and meeting rooms, the Harvest Centre was constructed in 2000, adding an additional 18,500 sq ft of meeting and exhibit space.

  • 2001

    In 2001 the Westerner Exposition Association was facing financial hardship with the deregulation of electricity pricing in the province of Alberta – through this an opportunity was born and a long term partnership was developed with ENMAX Energy Corporation to secure a source of electricity and provide naming rights to the Centrium.

  • 2003

    A 99 site full service recreation vehicle park was added in 2003.

  • 2004

    Agri-Trade celebrated it's 20th year in 2004, growing from 70,000 sq ft of exhibit space to 400,000 sq ft.

  • 2005

    $6.1 million was awarded to the Westerner Exposition Association from the Alberta Lottery Fund for capital funding. $2.1 million was used to complete the Agricentre, and the reaminder was used add stabling barns and show rings increasing the stabling capacity to 700.

  • 2006

    2006 saw the creation of the Long Term Land use master plan and the completion of the east end race track development.

  • 2007

    2007; Jack and Joan Donald donated $1.5 million for the building of an Administration Building.

  • 2009

    2009; Economic impact of Westerner Days Fair & Exposition is an estimated $7.3 million, $5 million in spending by non-local visitors. Westerner Park generates $150million in economic activity, hosts over 1,500 events and welcomes 1.5 million visitors each year.

  • 2010

    2010; Hundreds of new trees (225) and shrubs (1,200 were added as part of the Westerner Parks green initiatives.

As has been the practice for over 125 years, and will continue for generations to come, Westerner Park Continues to grow resilient connections, allowing our partners to achieve their business and marketing objectives while ensuring Westerner Park remains Central Alberta’s “destination for celebration”.