The Calgary Stampede has been dubbed the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. It’s an annual 10 day event, since 1912, that includes a rodeo, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions and a whole lot more. It attracts over a million visitors per year and a great time to visit the city. All of the formal events, aside from the parade, take place at Stampede Park, located just south east of downtown Calgary. The famous Stampede Parade marks the official start of the 10 day event held on the first Friday of July.
There are many traditions associated with the Calgary Stampede, making it the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. So here’s a few to give you a better idea of what it’s really like to be in Calgary during this fun time of year!
These are typically organized by businesses and community groups. There are several held all over the city every day. During the 10 day event, if you love pancakes, you could find a free breakfast every day!
During this 10 day period, the “cowboy attire” is the norm. There are many interpretations, but expect to see people in jeans, cowboy boots and hat, a fancy belt buckle and some kind of plaid shirt. It is even acceptable business wear; you will see CEO’s and executives dressed like this at work during that time.
Stampede parties are held by businesses for staff and clients. Some of these parties are legendary… Expect plenty of drinking and relaxed morals. Allegedly, the number of divorce filing go up significantly in the weeks following Stampede and the area hospitals see an increase in births during the month of April – 9 months after the event.
Midway and food
Every year they keep trying to make everything bigger and better. This year’s great addition was the ability to zip-line above the Stampede grounds. Lots of people seemed to take part and a great way to get a bird’s eye view.
The various food vendors are always a popular draw and each year they keep changing things up. This year there are a few items that are definitely not for everyone, we’re talking the cricket grilled cheese and the cricket caramel apple.
For the adventurous ones, you might want to try the kangaroo stuffed burger, the cactus juice, the giant squid on a stick or a serving of prairie oyster balls.
If you are a little on the pickier side and looking to take a bite out of something new the deep fried pineapple rings, chimney cones, Mexican-style street corn, banana corn-dogs, kit-kat fries and deep fried peanut butter cups are all safe bets.
Any blog post about the Calgary Stampede must mention the mini doughnuts. Get the mini doughnuts! They have been a staple for many many years.
Rodeo and Rangeland Derby
The reason for being of the Stampede is the rodeo and other competitions. While everyone else is out having a good time there are plenty of cowboys and cowgirls competing for some serious prize money.
The rodeo takes place every afternoon where can see the best competing in bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, saddle bronc and bareback riding. You can even see the stars of tomorrow completing in evens like junior steer riding, novice bareback, novice saddle bronc and wild pony racing. These little ones are very entertaining!
The Rangeland Derby or chuck-wagon racing competition is by far the most popular event of the Stamped. For those of you that don’t know what chuck-wagon racing is, it’s where a chuck-wagon is pulled around a track by a team of Thoroughbred horses. It’s very exhilarating to watch!
During this time, many of the most popular Country Music acts schedule concerts in the city during this time. In recent years, there has been more and more artist of other genres also performing during this 10 day event.
Every night on Stampede Grounds, at the Coke Stage, there is a free concert. It’s free for those that have paid admission to the grounds. The lineup is typically to please the younger non-country music loving crowd.
If you ever have the chance to visit Calgary during the 10 day event, you should. It is something absolutely unique where you can experience the warm Canadian hospitality, the Western Canadian culture and have lots of fun! Yahoo!