The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!
Calgary Stampede Parade – Anna Webber.
Have you noticed a lot of hay bales around lately? Seen a lot of Western wear for sale? That is because it is almost time for the Calgary Stampede! This annual show is, for many tourists and locals alike, the event of the summer. This year, the week long event runs from July 3rd to July 12th.
Touted as “the greatest outdoor show on earth”, this weeklong extravaganza has something for almost everyone. From the rodeo to the fairground, from family friendly fun to a night out with friends, you are sure to never be bored. Here is a quick guide to help you plan your stampede week.
1) Stampede breakfast
Pancake breakfasts are a long time Stampede tradition. Many companies host free pancake breakfasts for the public, usually consisting of pancakes, bacon or sausage, and juice or coffee. To find a lank age breakfast near you, please visit http://www.freestampedepancakes.com
2) The “duds”
Many people opt for traditional cowboy and cowgirl outfits, usually consisting of jeans, a plaid shirt, a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. That being said, be sensible. Cowboy boots are not comfortable walking shoes, and jeans can get very hot if you are outdoors. If you are visiting the fair ground, opt for comfortable summery clothing such as shorts and T-shirts. A sun hat and sunscreen are both must have items. Nothing ruins the day like sunstroke and a sunburn. If you plan to be out after dark, bring a sweater and long pants to keep warm and keep Mosquitos at bay. On a related note, drink lots of water throughout the day, and make sure to spend at least some time in the shade.
3) Getting there
Parking is at a premium at the stampede grounds, and the cost can be prohibitive for some. If you are looking for a more budget family ride, try taking the C train. The C train has two stampede stops, one at each end of the grounds. Victoria Park – Stampede station stops by the midway rides, and Earlton – Stampede stops by the Agricultural exhibits. Tickets can be purchased at the grounds, or in advance from select retailers. For more information, please visit http://www.calgarystampede.com/stampede
4) The Rodeo
The rodeo is what really sets Stampede apart from other summer carnivals. The rodeo hosts eight different events, from ladies barrel racing to bull riding. For more details, and ticket prices, visit http://www.calgarystampede.com/stampede/rodeo
5) The Faire
Especially for younger Stampede-goers, the midway rides are the main attraction. From terrifying roller coasters to kid friendly airplane rides, the midway has all your bases covered. There is even a special children’s ride section that hosts a variety of rides that are sure to delight, not terrify, the little ones.
6) The Food
Faire food is a cuisine all to itself, and the Stampede is no exception. The midway boasts all the classic foods like corn dogs and hamburgers, but the traditional Stampede lunch is beef on a bun. Slathered in rich barbecue sauce and served on a soft bun, this tasty treat is sure to delight. And for desert? Try some fresh, piping hot mini donuts made right before your eyes! These delightful snacks are covered in cinnamon and brown sugar and are sure to delight. Feeling adventurous? The midway now offers more exotic foods such as sour cream, onion and cricket pizza or a “beef sundae” consisting of beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and cheddar cheese served in a plastic parfait cup.
7) The Nightlife
Though the Faire grounds may close, the celebration is just beginning! Check out the nightly Grandstand Show (starting at 7:45 pm
), a family friendly event featuring singing, dancing and fireworks! Up for something a little more wild? The party unofficially continues on 17th avenue, the Restauraunt district close to the Stampede Grounds. Many bars are open late all week long.