By ADELE BRUNNHOFER
“Come Hell of High Water”—that’s the new motto of the 2013 Calgary Stampede, the city’s world-renowned, 10-day Wild West carnival pays homage to Alberta’s pioneer heritage and takes over the city from July 5 to 14. Despite the Stampede site being seriously affected by the Alberta Flood, organizers have worked around the clock to return the site to normal.
While several concerts held at the flood-damaged Scotiabank Saddledome have been cancelled, many aspects of the Stampede are expected to procede as usual. However, the information listed below is subject to change, and we will provide updates via Twitter and Facebook. Below is our up-to-the-minute guide to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
Grills are fired up across the city during Stampede time for numerous, free pancake breakfasts. The Stampede Caravan holds breakfasts at shopping centre parking lots across the city over the 10-day event. Use the Flapjack Finder to locate breakfasts around Calgary.
The Calgary Stampede Parade officially kicks off Stampede 2013 festivities the morning of Friday, July 5. The Stampede Showband is the centerpiece of the parade, which winds through downtown Calgary. Recently retired and returned to Earth, Canadian astronaut and parade marshal Chris Hadfield is beloved around the world for his inventive updates from the International Space Station. Elaborate floats, horses and riders, numerous show bands and costumed dancers delight spectators. Limited bleacher seating is provided along the parade route.
RODEO AND CHUCKWAGON RACING
The Stampede’s main rodeo attraction is the GMC Rangeland Derby. The world’s premiere chuckwagon racing event features 36 drivers and 216 horses. Drivers compete nightly at 7:45 pm for over $1.15 million in prize money, with derby finals being held July 14.
The world’s best rodeo athletes compete daily at The Calgary Stampede Rodeo starting at 1:15 pm. The tournament-style rodeo includes steer wrestling, bareback riding, bull riding, barrel racing and more. The tournament ends with Showdown Sunday on July 14.
Visitors flock to the scream-inducing carnival rides and games that line the midway. Ride tickets can be purchased throughout the midway. The Stampede’s famous food kiosks serve classic treats such as mini donuts, corndogs and barbecue beef-on-a-bun as well as more adventurous dishes like deep-fried butter. If you can put a stick in it, you’ll find it on the midway.
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
Featured nightly, the TransAlta Grandstand Show is an entertainment extravaganza featuring local performance group the Young Canadians, Soprano Michelle Minke of the Calgary Opera and violinist Donovan Seidle of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra performing with musicians from the Treaty Seven First Nations. As well, dancers with Alberta Ballet will perform Love Lies Bleeding, the company’s co-production with Sir Elton John. Each performance is capped with a dazzling firework display that can be viewed far beyond the grounds.
Due to serious flood damage in the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Virgin Mobile Stampede Concert Series featuring Carly Rae Jepsen (July 10), Tim McGraw (July 11), The Dixie Chicks (July 12) and KISS (July 13), has been cancelled. Ticket holders are asked to hold onto their tickets to gain entry to the grounds on the date of the concert and Stampede organizers hope to reschedule the concerts at later dates. Click here to see the Stampede cancellation announcement.
Other musical performances take place at the Coca-Cola and Nashville North stages. For game show fans, the ENMAX Corral Show features Family Feud LIVE hosted by actress and stand-up comedian Caroline Rhea.
The Western Oasis in the BMO Centre is a tranquil venue where spectators can take a break from the fun and frenzy of Stampede Park and enjoy the works of more than 62 world-class artists at the Western Showcase. Most artists will be in attendance 2 pm to 8 pm daily to discuss their work, and an art auction will be held July 11.
The whole city parties when Stampede time rolls around, so keep an eye out for special events and deals across Calgary.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
•The Calgary Stampede runs July 5 to 14. Stampede Park hours are 11 am to midnight daily. Admission is $16 general (13 to 64), $8 senior, $8 child (7 to 12), under six free.
•Get in early at Sneak-a-Peek on Thursday, July 4, 5 pm to midnight, $8. Find daily admission deals and ticket packs online at cs.calgarystampede.com/info/deals-and-days.
•Several full-day, two-day, concert and rodeo ticket packages are available at cs.calgarystampede.com/tickets/packages.
•The 2013 Evening Show package is available nightly. Starting at 7:45 pm, catch a double header of the GMC Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races followed by the TransAlta Grandstand Show. Ticket prices range from $17 to $109. “The Lazy S” tickets include lounge access and a gourmet three-course meal for $399.75.
•Visit store.calgarystampede.com to purchase the authentic “Come Hell or High Water” Calgary Stampede T-shirt. Proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund. So far, the shirt campaign has raised over $500.