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Tara Dreger: Igniting Arts and Culture in the Peace Region

Tara Dreger: Igniting Arts and Culture in the Peace Region

Tara Dreger embodies the spirit of community and empowerment, her support touching the lives of residents and businesses alike. Whether lending a helping hand or championing local causes, Tara's presence is felt in every corner of the Peace Country.

Tara’s journey is deeply rooted in family ties and a profound love for her home, "My roots run deep in the Peace Country and are generational," Tara shares, "Both my parents and their parents before worked in various industries throughout the Peace Region and contributed to the community in a variety of different ways. I’m very proud to call the Peace Region my home." Tara continues, "My biggest inspiration to become involved in my community started with my parents," she reflects. "Once I became a mom, that also fueled the fire for me to get involved and volunteer for various things my kids were involved with." She finds further inspiration in the women who paved the way before her, particularly her mother, whose strength and resilience serve as a guiding light in Tara's own journey.

It's this profound connection to her roots that serves as the cornerstone of Tara's commitment to her community. Inspired by the altruism of her parents and fueled by a desire to instill positive change, Tara embarked on a journey of community involvement that has left a beautiful mark on the region.

Tara has set forth tireless efforts instrumental in planning weekends at the Grande Prairie Stompede filled with state-of-the-art cultural events and world-class entertainment. But her impact extends far beyond event coordination; Tara's boundless enthusiasm and unwavering support have encouraged local artisans to showcase their talents, breathing life into the cultural tapestry of our community.

As an artisan herself, Tara has always had an admiration and respect for others who share their creativity with the region, which eventually ignited her spark to create a larger stage for its presence:

“I personally enjoy making jewelry and creating different items, most of which have a ‘western flair’ to them. Although I don’t do a lot of markets anymore I typically take part in the Teepee Creek Cowboy Christmas as well as the odd pop up shop. I like to think that what small amount of creativity I have I inherited from my mom who is very creative. She’s spent years knitting, crocheting, doing cross stitch, sewing, baking and many other things. 
In 2016 and 2017 I had been reaching out to many different women who were artisans, creators and small business owners to have pop up markets. I thought it was a great way to offer a wide variety of wares to people who were interested in supporting local artisans and small businesses. Collectively as a group we would all throw in just enough to cover the cost of the space and have some fun and hopefully make a few dollars. 
Along the way I quickly discovered that the Peace Region is filled with an astounding number of artists and artisans that many people are unaware of. We have so much to offer and my hope is that everyone becomes aware of it. 
I’ve always loved the Grande Prairie Stompede, and I am a huge supporter of maintaining our western heritage and the way of life. Many people are unaware that my dad was the first president of the Grande Prairie Stompede Association, as well he had a 50 year career in thoroughbred chuckwagon racing. I grew up a “chuckwagon kid“ as many would call it, and that was a very interesting and wonderful way to grow up in my opinion. Many of the places that my dad raced at had fantastic exhibitions and markets with artists, artisans, handmade wares, along with live music sometimes, and my mom never hesitated to take myself and my siblings to explore and experience these events. 
Early 2018 I met with two directors on the  Grande Prairie Stompede board (Cheryl Kimble and Dave Anderson) and proposed an idea that I had in hopes of making a new and exciting addition to the Stompede. I proposed the idea that I would organize an artisan market and an art competition. My thought process behind the idea was that there should be something for everyone should they attend the GP Stompede, and I wanted to bring exposure to all the incredible talent we have in our amazing Peace Region. With the help of a wonderful group of people believing in me I was able to organize the event and work as a volunteer at Stompede 2018. In October of 2018 I became the director of the Arts & Cultural Expo on the GP Stompede board, as the Stompede has always been such a big part of my family’s life this makes me very proud. 
The Arts & Cultural Expo has grown leaps and bounds since then and is now an integral part of the show.”

In crafting the Art Expo, Tara has fostered a nurturing space where individuals from all walks of life feel embraced and empowered to share their passions and creative endeavors. 

Tara’s involvement has only grown since then, now finding passion in the Unbridled Program in partnership with the Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS) and Grande Prairie Stompede:

Being a director on the Grande Prairie Stompede board brought me an amazing opportunity to work alongside my fellow directors with PARDS to create a much needed charitable program that is profoundly important for the children and youth in our community. It’s the first time PARDS has partnered with another organization to create a unique program separate from the amazing things that they offer to the Peace Region already. In the Fall of 2022 I met with Chair, Tyla Savard, and Executive Director, Jennifer Douglas, to discuss Stompede and PARDS collaborating to create this new program. After much discussion back and forth the GP Stompede board and PARDS formed a contractual agreement and the Unbridled program was born. 
The Stompede board works tirelessly to raise funds specifically for the Unbridled Program.The GP Stompede started fundraising for the Unbridled Program in April of 2023 at the Stompede WPCA Tarp Auction & Gala Fundraiser. I am incredibly proud to be a small part of this amazing new program that will help the children and youth in our community with all and any challenges related to mental health. 
A bit about the Unbridled Program: 
Being subjected to something traumatic can have a profound effect on your life. It changes the way you think, feel, and experience life daily. Experiencing abuse in any of its devastating forms, being involved in an accident such as a car wreck or house fire, suffering the violent or sudden loss of someone you love, or being exposed to high-stress situations or environments regularly can all result in trauma. Unbridled brings the expertise of a Mental Health Professional (Registered Psychologist) together with a strong, confident horse to support youth in processing and navigating through lived trauma, becoming more confident, empowered, and resilient. Unbridled was launched in Fall 2023, and is proud to have 8 active participants as of January 2024. This program and partnership is unique within Northern Alberta; both organizations are proud to be a driver behind this extraordinary, non-traditional mental health support for the incredible youth within our community.”

Tara's dedication to making a difference shines brightly through her involvement in the Arts & Cultural Expo and the Unbridled Program. These initiatives are not just projects; they are catalysts for lasting change, touching the lives of countless individuals, including a significant number of youth, with impacts that will resonate for years to come.

Tara has also made contributions to organizations that lie close to the heart of Grande Prairie such as Odyssey House, Suicide Prevention, Tiny Hands of Hope, The Children’s Memorial Garden, Stars, Big Hearts For Big Kids, The Teepee Creek Stampede, and many others. 

As Tara continues to champion causes close to her, she imparts invaluable wisdom to aspiring changemakers. Her advice is simple yet profound: "Go the extra mile. Learn from remarkable women who came before you and be open-minded while listening to those who follow in your footsteps."

In Tara Dreger, we find not just a community leader, but a testament to the transformative power of one individual's commitment to making a difference. As we celebrate her legacy as part of the '30 Women for 30 Years' campaign, Tara leaves us with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”



Grande Prairie Stompede Arts & Cultural Expo

Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society

Unbridled Program


To learn more about 30 Women for 30 Years or to nominate a woman who you think has made a positive impact on the Peace Region, click here