Six of the best…Calgary Stampede experiences

The Calgary Stampede is the city’s biggest festival of the year, and it’s been a summer tradition for more than 100 years. The 10-day festivities, also known as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, are a time to celebrate Calgary’s western roots, culture and community spirit.

Start with a pancake breakfast (or two)

The Stampede pancake breakfast is something of a tradition. You could eat pancakes every morning for 10 days if you wanted to. Most breakfasts are free — like the one at Fluor Rope Square downtown, which also hosts a variety of performances during Stampede. MaKami College Alberta’s pancake breakfast will feature live music, a fun kids zone with games and a petting zoo. There’s even a pancake breakfast calendar and map to steer you in the right direction.

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Experience one of the world’s largest rodeos

The rodeo is one of the main events of the Calgary Stampede. Located at Stampede Park, the rodeo draws some of the world’s best rodeo competitors in barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc and more. You’ll need to get tickets for these events (which include main gate admission). The action gets underway every day at 1:30 p.m. building towards Showdown Sunday, where some of the largest prize purses are up for grabs.

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Take in the spectacular evening Grandstand Show

Acrobatics, pyrotechnics, music, dancing, fireworks – you name it, the Bell Grandstand Show has it. It’s part of an exciting double-header evening show that combines thundering chuckwagons followed by a spectacle on the grandstand as the sun sets over Stampede Park. It’s the perfect way to cap off a day of Stampede fun. Tickets for the Bell Grandstand Show include gate admission.

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Sample some tasty midway food

The midway is where you’ll find some of the best treats to eat. There are classics like corn dogs and cotton candy, but sampling the inventive fare on the midway is a Stampede tradition. You might try a honey habanero ice pop, deep-fried strawberries, or a glazed donut grilled cheese sandwich. And you simply must try the sugared mini donuts, a staple on the Stampede grounds.

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Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture

The Elbow River Camp is where you can learn about the five First Nations – Siksika, Piikani, Kainai, Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda – who have called these lands home for thousands of years. There are 26 teepees to visit at the Elbow River Camp, where you’ll find talented artisans selling jewellery, jam and traditional food. Each nation is also celebrated on a different day of the Stampede (catch all the action at the Arbour Stage), along with lively performances and a powwow competition – the Calgary Stampede Powwow at the Saddledome is a the three-day competition celebrating traditional dances.

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Follow the music

Discover a wide range of music on the Coca-Cola Stage. You’ll hear everything from rock to pop to electronic and everything in-between. Shows are free with gate admission. In previous years, big bands have included Alexisonfire, Broken Social Scene and Sheryl Crow. Those looking for a dance floor to two-step to should head to Nashville North. Think of Nashville North as the country counterpart of the Coca-Cola Stage. Every day there’s another artist and another party. The Nashville North tent is also the ideal place to perfect your two-stepping dance skills. Put on your cowboy hat and boots and you’ll fit right in.

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Calgary Stampede runs from July 5-14, 2024. Please visit the Stampede website for the most up-to-date information on hours, showtimes and news.