For 10 days every summer, the city of Calgary is home to “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”! Every year over 1 million people attend this huge festival. This year is extra special, because it’s the 100th anniversary!
This article will tell you all about the Calgary Stampede! You will learn new words about festivals and the western lifestyle, and by the time you finish reading this, you will want to travel to Calgary to see the Stampede!
What is the Calgary Stampede?
Calgary is located in western Canada. It’s in the province of Alberta, which is often called the “Texas of the North”! The Calgary Stampede is a great celebration of Alberta’s heritage. During the Stampede, the entire city is transformed into a huge outdoor party. There are pancake breakfasts all over the city, and people wear cowboy hats & boots! Many of the Stampede events are shown live on TV across the country.
There are many parts to the festival:
The festival kicks off with the Stampede Parade on Friday morning. It is led by Harry the Horse, the official Stampede mascot. The parade includes marching bands, horseback riders, and floats of all shapes and sizes. The parade travels along two-and-a-half miles of the downtown city streets. Last year, over 400,000 people attended the parade!
The Calgary Stampede includes one of the largest rodeos in the world! The rodeo is a huge show where cowboys and cowgirls compete in different events such as:
- competitions to see who can stay on a bucking bull or horse the longest
- barrel racing (riding a horse around a series of barrels as fast as possible)
- competitions to catch and tie up animals
Rodeo events are based on skills that cowboys and cowgirls need to master when working on a farm.
A chuckwagon is an old-fashioned type of transportation. It is usually made out of wood, has 4 wheels, and is pulled by horses. The back of the wagon is covered by a huge tent that protects the people or contents in the wagon. In chuckwagon races, teams of 4 horses pull a chuckwagon around a track. The first chuckwagon to cross the finish line wins! This is a very popular part of the Stampede.
This part is the most fun for kids! A midway is an area that includes lots of rides like roller coasters and ferris wheels, games where you can win prizes, and lots of food! The midway is located at Stampede Park.
The festival also includes fireworks, concerts, an agricultural exhibition, an Indian village that celebrates the heritage of the First Nations people who were here before the Europeans arrived, and a market where you can buy western-themed and handcrafted artwork, toys, household goods, food, clothing and many other items!
Want to see more pictures? I have been collecting photos of the Calgary Stampede on a Pinterest board! You can see photos of the chuckwagon races, the midway, the parade, the rodeo, and much more!
heritage = the culture and history of a city, country, place, group etc.
to kick off = to begin
a mascot = an animal, a person or other object that represents a team, a group of people, an organization, etc.
a parade float = a vehicle that has a large platform for people to decorate and stand on
to buck/bucking = this verb describe the movement of a horse or bull (male cow) as it jumps violently in the air, arches its back, and kicks its back legs
First Nations = the official name for the Indian/Aboriginal people that lived on this land before the Europeans arrived.