It’s that time of year again. That time when the entire city comes together to celebrate a single event. When all the decorations come out of storage to adorn shopping malls and office spaces. When the music playing is that familiar theme you can’t help but hum along to. Think you know what I’m talking about? Maybe you’re confused. Christmas is in December, after all.
I’m talking about The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The Calgary Stampede. Every year it seems to catch me by surprise. This year, maybe it’s because we had such a crappy spring that summer seems to have sprung right out of winter. All I know is that I get caught up in the whirlwind of BBQ’s and partying like every other veteran of this city does. I start to understand why so many citizens of Calgary leave town on holidays this week.
At the same time, I love this week. I love the atmosphere. Not just the partying, but all the fun and excitement. The rodeo is never the same, and walking the Midway at Stampede Park feels new every year. I love that the weather seems to cooperate this week, if no other time of year, though I’ll tell you about this one ride I had when I was nineteen. It involves a thunderstorm and being suspended about thirty feet in the air. 😉
Maybe some of you have never even heard of the Stampede. That’s all right. Now you know. 🙂 If you have heard about it, trust me when I say there’s more than rides and food. There’s more than the rodeo and grandstand show.
There’s an entire city full of parties and free food and people visiting from all over the world and locals who are all in the festive spirit. There are fireworks that would rival any Fourth of July celebration, let me tell you, and more beer than you could drink in a lifetime. I’m not beer lover myself, but I just thought I’d throw that out there.
The city is also suddenly peopled with all cowboys and cowgirls. Here’s an actual bus ad from last year, I think, and it’s so perfect it makes me smile every time I see it.
Hell, even the visiting royals this week got into the spirit, good sports that they are. And might I just add as an aside here, that Prince William makes a fine-looking cowboy? 😀
For my part, I don’t do the Western wear thing. I prefer my regular, light clothing.
In a lot of ways, Stampede is Calgary’s week-long holiday. You’re forgiven for coming in late to work or for being too hungover to focus on work. It’s understood if you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend the week before – if you’re not serious – because there’s more opportunities for single people this week than any other time of year. Seriously, come July in Calgary, all bets are off.
I usually go every year, see the rodeo, play some games, eat every kind of food-on-a-stick you can think of, walk through the stables, laugh at the clowns. I attend work parties – everyone throws a Stampede pancake breakfast or a BBQ lunch or dinner. I even went to a bar downtown called The Roadhouse with two coworkers on Thursday night. There was an event on called “Studs & Spurs.” It was a charity even to raise money for the local firefighter’s burn recovery centre. There were firefighters and cowboys everywhere you looked. They were friendly and spent time chatting up all the ladies. For my part, I made sure we got our fireman’s calendar autographed by all the firemen. 😉 This is a blurry picture, but I’m the shorter one. 🙂
Boy, do I sound like I’m writing an article for Calgary Tourism or something? LOL. I don’t mean to. I genuinely love this time of year. Yes, it gets busy and there are a ton of tourists but it’s so much fun and you’ll never find another event like it.
I guess I don’t really have a point this week except that I wanted to share my excitement and affection for this time of year in my city. I love this place, I love this event and I love summertime.
So I’ll leave you all with a big, loud YAHOO!!
Take care and happy reading!