This year is special for Canadians as our nation celebrates its 150th anniversary, and in keeping with the spirit Stettler Board of Trade (SBOT) will be hosting a two-part event. “What better way to celebrate our culture, people and community than by encouraging events through Open Farm Days,” said Stacey Benjamin, executive director of SBOT. “We feel that the bus tour will be a family-friendly option to showcase the lifestyle of our agriculture producers, while the Taste of the Heartland will build a sense of community, tempting the palette with all local cuisine.”
While discussing unique and interesting events, SBOT staff members came up with this idea together.
Open Farm Days is a provincial initiative and with Stettler being deeply rooted to agriculture, this event would be an ideal way to showcase that.
“This would be a great way for us to give guests and our community members what the Town and County of Stettler stand for and to shine a light on the agriculture industry from the ground up,” explained Benjamin. “Agriculture is one of Stettler’s major economic drivers and ag tourism is a growing industry in itself.”
According to Benjamin, there’s a large number of people who do not get an opportunity to experience where their food comes from and the farming lifestyle.
“We expect the majority of attendees for the events will be coming from cities and we look forward to hosting them for the weekend and sharing our rural hospitality,” Benjamin added.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests will travel to various farms to learn about a variety of agriculture in the county.
The County of Stettler’s Ag Services board will be on the bus to talk about farming and some of the challenges farmers face on a day-to-day basis as they travel from farm to farm.
Lunch will be served at the family farm Buffalo Hills Beef overlooking Buffalo Lake.
From 5 to 9 p.m., “Taste of the Heartland” long table dinner will be held on Main Street.
“We will be closing off Main Street from the Wells Furniture and Buzz & Baked crosswalk to the TD Canada and Party Max crosswalk,” Benjamin said. “One long table will be set up to seat 150 attendees.”
Local entertainment and five celebrity chefs including Brenda Brinson will prepare and build a fine dining menu from local produce, with Stettler Ag. Society being the rain-out location.
Benjamin said that each of the events are focused toward a different demographic so they expect very few to take in both the bus tour and the long-table dinner.
“We expect to have 100 on the buses and 150 for the meal. This will mean that people who may not necessarily be in Stettler on that day will be learning about our community,” Benjamin stated. “We are encouraging participants to take in our sights and attractions including shopping! Ideally, we would like to see attendees stay for the weekend and take in more than just the event planned.”
Although a large component of the day is ag education, Benjamin said that her hope is that participants will fall in love with Stettler as a great place to live, work or play.