Cowgirl in Cowtown – all the fun you could have at Calgary Stampede (downtown attractions)

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Arriving Calgary this time last year, my first impression of this city was- “Wow, there are so many cowboys at this place!”

Every July, the city hosts Calgary Stampede, an annual 10-day rodeo festival. It is known as the “greatest outdoor show on Earth”, which attracts tons of visitors from all over Canada to celebrate together. During this time, the whole city transforms into a cowboy town- you can see billboard posters all around town promoting the festival; citizens dressing up as cowboy/cowgirl; or stores and restaurants with cartoony window paintings about the festival.



This was my second year attending Calgary Stampede. At first, I wasn’t planning to go to the stampede park or any of the events (I’ve been there, done that, and I thought it wouldn’t be interesting to me). Then, I thought to myself it would really be a shame if I didn’t at least go downtown and immerse myself in the festive atmosphere.

First, made sure I was dress in appropriate cowgirl attire. Then, we were ready to go~


Our first destination was getting free breakfast at Olympic Plaza. It isn’t just a regular breakfast. It is chuckwagon breakfast! Throughout the stampede week, chuckwagons can be found at the plaza making fresh pancakes to feed hungry visitors from 8:15 am to 10:30 am.


Chuckwagon breakfast at Olympic Plaza

We were each given a napkin as a plate and a pancake. The pancake was extremely yummy because they added maple syrup in the batter and pan-fried it with bacon. >:D

bacon pancake

Bacon pancake

After breakfast, as we walked along Stephen Avenue, we could see vendor tent being set up on the street. Quite a few selling cowboy hats.



Mini-donuts are considered one of the “must-eat” carnival food during Stampede. Don’t miss out!


Mini donuts

Coincidentally, we saw the old time rigs parade. Starting from 10:20 am, 15 wagons took passengers on a tour parade throughout downtown. We were wondering how to become a passenger on a wagon. It turned out that we had to arrive early to get free tickets, which were distributed each day at 8:30 am. (Darn! maybe next time then)


Old time rigs parade


Old time rigs parade


Old time rigs parade

That’s okay. We still had lots of fun taking photos with horses and mascots. 😛



All of a sudden, we heard cheerful country music playing in the distance. It was square dancing!


Square dancing

I’d never seen or learned square dancing before. Out of curiosity, I joined the crowd ^^’


Square dancing is a traditional folk dance with four couples dancing in a square. My partner is an experienced dancer, also the leader of our group. He quickly explained the moves to me before we started. After a few repetitions, I mastered the dance just as everyone else!





It was such an interesting experience! I had so much fun XD

Ahead of us was the Indian Parade. Members of the 5 tribes from Southern Alberta were dressed in their traditional costume, waiting for the parade to proceed.


Indian parade


Indian parade

The horse also put on its native costume~


While waiting, the staff invited us onto the stage to take photos. Yippee~


About Calgary Stampede

Downtown Attractions:
Calgary Stampede Official Website:

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Attending Calgary Stampede for the first time? This post highlights all the fun things to do in downtown Calgary at annual rodeo festival in Alberta.
Attending Calgary Stampede for the first time? This post highlights all the fun things to do in downtown Calgary at annual rodeo festival in Alberta.
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3 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Pingback: Cowgirl in Cowtown- ending Calgary Stampede with Rangeland Derby and Grandstand Show | For Two, Please

  2. Bacon pancakes are a thing?? Wow!! The dancing looks similar to something we do here in Scotland. It’s called Scottish country dancing. Reminds me a lot of home 🙂

  3. I have been following your work so so long, I have to go way back to find material I haven’t seen before. Today, I just started at the back cover and worked forward. The Calgary Stampede has been lingering on my bucket list ever since I read about Blackjack strategy, especially counting cards. They say dealers there are so green and the pit bosses don’t have the everything wired, that you actually have a chance to beat the house. What’s more, they often deal 1-2 deck games and don’t continually shuffle so you have a chance to develop a very high count. I guess it’s a physics nerd way to view the world and pick their travel destinations.

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