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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.
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
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!
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)
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!
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.
The horse also put on its native costume~
While waiting, the staff invited us onto the stage to take photos. Yippee~
About Calgary StampedeDowntown Attractions: http://www.stampede-downtownattractions.com/ Calgary Stampede Official Website: http://cs.calgarystampede.com/
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