Conducted in Stampede Park, Canada, the Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition, and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta. A festival is a ten-day event that attracts over one million visitors per year. The Stampede features a parade, concerts, midway, stage shows, chuckwagon racing, agricultural competitions, First Nations exhibitions, and one of the world’s largest rodeos. They advertise themselves as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
History and Growth of the Stampede
The Calgary and District Agricultural Society was formed in 1884 to encourage the farmers and ranchers to move west and promote the town. They held their first fair after two years that attracted a quarter of the town’s 2000 residents.
Due to major crop failures, poor weather, and a declining economy, the society had to cease its operations in 1895 even though they had already gained lands on the Elbow Riverbanks by 1889 for the exhibitions.
In 1908, Canada’s government announced that Calgary would host the federally funded Dominion Exhibition following its annual growth. Even though the Stampede was successful in 1919, the attendance declined until 1920. It grew annually and peaked at 258496 in 1928; but resulted in a decline again, including financial losses for the Great Depression.
Over a million visitors joined the Calgary Stampede for the first time in the year 1976. The park continued to grow, and in 1979, The Round-Up Centre was opened as the new exhibition hall. The Olympic Saddledome completed in 1983 replaced the Corral as the city’s top sports arena that hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The most profitable out of the seven movies filmed in the Stampede was the 1925 silent film, The Calgary Stampede, which used footage from the rodeo and helped North America learn about the event. The Queen opened the 1973 Stampede.
Events Taking Place in the Calgary Stampede
There are a lot of fun things to witness at the Calgary Stampede. People from all over the world visit each year to enjoy and have a good time.
The parade begins shortly before 9 a.m. and takes place on the first Friday of the event. It serves as the official opening of the Stampede. A different parade marshal is chosen every year to reflect the public’s interest. From, Politicians to athletes to actors, and other dignitaries have all served as marshals over the years.
The event combines western and modern themes featuring dozens of marching bands and hundreds of horses with entrants from all over the world.
The Rodeo at the Calgary Stampede is most famous for being the world’s largest rodeos. To be the highlight of the event, Cowboys perform daily in front of over 20,000 fans. The rodeo’s six major disciplines include bull riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and saddle bronc. The four novice events include novice bareback, junior steer riding, wild pony racing, and novice saddle bronc.
3. Rangeland Derby
Weadick invented the chuckwagon racing in 1923, and it was believed that he was inspired by a similar event he may have seen in the 1922 Gleichen Stampede. The chuckwagon racing, officially known as the Rangeland Derby, quickly became Stampede’s most popular event.
Each year before the Stampede, the driver’s auction advertising space on their wagons, and a record $4 million revenue was generated for the Stampede in 2012. The same was considered an indicator of Calgary’s economic strength.
The agricultural exhibition was launched in the year 1886 when Alberta was a rural province. The scenario has changed over the years, and today agricultural producers make up less than two percent of the province’s population.
The exhibition comprises fifty agricultural programs, is organized by over 1,000 exhibitors, and is attended by nearly half of all visitors. The exhibition comprises many competitions; remains an integral part of the Calgary Stampede.
Photo by Jason Woodhead/ Flickr, Copyright 2021
The Calgary Stampede midway has been conducted since 1976 and is the only part of the event that is not operated on a non-profit basis. It has been operated by North American Midway Entertainment and Conklin Shows. The midway is separate from the western theme but remains an essential part of the Stampede.
The Coca-Cola stage, previously known as the Nashville North, was a large party tent used as a country music venue; it now offers family entertainment during the day and rock-pop acts during the evening.
The Stampede market in the BMO center on the northwest corner of the park offers 38,000 square meters of retail space. It has 181 vendors selling toys, household goods, artworks, food items, and other products.
The vendors wait for years to gain admittance because they believe it is a one-time experience. Items like wine, craftwork, food, bronze statues, and artworks can be found in The Western Oasis, a subsection of the Stampede market.
The Best Places to Stay During the Calgary Stampede
Here are a few places to choose from while planning to stay for the Calgary Stampede:
1. Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel
Located at 110 9th Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 5A6 Canada, the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel is one of the top-rated places to rest while visiting the Calgary Stampede. The hotel is rated 4.8 in cleanliness, 4.7 in service, and 4.6 out of 5.0 in overall ratings by 1028 confirmed guests.
Their key amenities include a fitness center, pool, pet-friendly environment, and meeting event space.
The hotel is 6.2 miles from the airport and approximately 1.6 miles from the Calgary Stampede.
2. Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Calgary
The hotel is located in Suite A – 711 4th St. S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G-1N3, Canada, in the heart of East Village, one block from the City Hall light rail station.
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by 381 reviewers, the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Calgary is 15 minutes away from the Calgary airport and approximately 0.6 miles from the Calgary Stampede.
Their key amenities and services include free Wi-Fi, non-smoking rooms, on-site restaurants, indoor pool, fitness center, business center, pet-friendly rooms, room service, and meeting rooms.
3. Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary Downtown
Located in Suite B – 711 4th St. S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 1N3, Canada, this hotel can be found less than a mile away from downtown Calgary. St. Patrick’s Island Park is just five minutes away, and the scenic River Walk is within a small distance.
Rated 4.5 based on 273 reviews, the Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary Downtown provides services like free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly rooms, indoor pool, free breakfast, non-smoking rooms, fitness center, business center, and room service.
This resting place is 11.6 miles away from the Calgary airport and just 3 minutes; that is 0.4 miles away from the Calgary Stampede.
4. The Fairmont Palliser
The Fairmont Palliser rated 4.5 based on 2295 Google reviews; it is a 4-star luxury hotel located at 133 9th Avenue SW, Calgary – Alberta, Canada T2P 2M3.
Their Downtown Calgary accommodations are provided with the latest business facilities. In-room entertainment aspects include valet parking, self-parking, and three tiers of rooms to choose from, namely Fairmont Gold, Guest rooms, and Suits.
The Calgary airport is approximately 12 miles, and the Calgary Stampede is approximately 0.9 miles from the hotel.
5. Le Germain Hotel Calgary
Nestled at the Calgary Tower’s foot, the Le Germain Hotel Calgary is at 899 Centre Street SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2G 1B8, in the city’s downtown core. Rated 4.6 based on 714 Google reviews, this 4-star luxury hotel comes with added benefits such as flexible checkout time, free Wi-Fi, room service, 24-hour gym, mini bar, pet-friendly rooms, and more.
The Calgary stampede distance is approximately 0.9 miles and 12miles from the airport; standing as one of the top-rated places to rest, this hotel is just a few steps away from Arts Commons, the Telus Convention Centre, and Stephen Avenue Walk.
6. Hyatt Regency Calgary
The Hyatt Regency rated 4.5 based on 879 reviews, is only 0.6 miles away from the Calgary Stampede, making it one of the best places to stay while planning a trip to visit the festivals.
Located at 700 Centre Street South East, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2G 5P6, this is a 4-star resting place with additional digital check-ins, free internet access, spa, pool, pet-friendly zones, room services, and many more.
The Calgary International airport is an 11.8 Miles journey.
7. Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire
With a 4.5 rating based on 1536 Google reviews, Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Clair is another 4-star hotel just 1.6 miles from the Calgary Stampede, making it one of the event’s closest ones. The location is 255 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 5C2 Canada, making it easier for customers to reach the area’s premier destinations easily.
Their key amenities include a fitness center, pool, pet-friendly environment, and meeting event spaces apart from their high-class suites.
Just 12.2 miles from Calgary airport, this is one of the best places to check in during the festivals.
Once someone makes their mind to attend and witness the grand celebration, namely The Calgary Stampede, there are several places to choose from, near the Stampede or the airport, depending on their choice and preferences in services.
There is a lot to choose from to see and enjoy in Calgary. The availability of hotels, restaurants, and luxury suites is more than enough to meet the expectations to satisfy people’s needs and demands worldwide. Choosing a safe and comfortable place to rest is a must so that one doesn’t miss the feeling of being at home.