8 Things You Should Know Before Your First Calgary Stampede

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Tips that you should know before attending Canada’s Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede has been running since 1886 and it has grown from a small agricultural fair into one of the largest rodeos and festivals in the world. It is held every year in July and draws over a million people to Calgary, Canada

1. Stay Hydrated

Walking around all day in the Calgary summer heat requires plenty of water. Don’t buy water bottles in the Stampede Grounds – you’ll save a lot of money by bringing your own water bottle and filling it up at the water fountains that are dotted around the park. Every year there are people who need medical attention due to becoming dehydrated at the Stampede.

2. Don’t Miss Out on the Free Pancakes

Photo credit: freestampedepancakes.com

At the 2017 Calgary Stampede there were 105 free pancake breakfast events held throughout Calgary – so don’t miss the chance to start your day off with some delicious , fluffy pancakes soaked in maple syrup! Here are some tips for finding a free pancake breakfast near you.

3. Don’t Bother Bringing Your Car

Parking is limited on the grounds and the time you spend driving around looking for a parking spot could be spent riding the ferris wheel or eating deep fried pickles. So, instead consider taking the CTrain – Calgary’s light rail system. It will be running for 24 hours during the days of the Stampede.

Plus, day passes for the transit system will be offered at a discounted price during Stampede – making it even cheaper to get around.

4. Stampede is Not Just Limited to the Park

Calgary Skyline. Photo credit: calgarystampede.com

The entire city of Calgary gets involved. There will be events going on at bars, pubs, restaurants and venues all over the city. Plus, there will be 11 nights of fireworks that you can watch from anywhere in the city.

One of the best places in the city to watch the fireworks is Scotsman’s Hill, where you can grab a spot on the grass in the large park located in the southeast community of Ramsay.

5. Visit During Value Days

You can save a lot of money by attending the Calgary Stampede during one of the “value days.” There is the “Sneak-a-Peek” day or the “Western Heritage Day.”

If you have kids, “BMO Kids Day” is a great chance to take them to the Stampede. Children 12 and under get free entry from 7am to 9am. Also, if you plan on visiting the stampede numerous times, you could consider getting a Super Pass which allows for unlimited entry during the 10 days of the Stampede.

6. Try the Weird Food

Waffle Taco anyone? The ice cream is rolled and comes in a waffle cone shaped as a taco and dipped in chocolate. Photo credit: calgarystampede.com

Part of the fun of Stampede is all of the ridiculous, unhealthy midway food that you can sample while enjoying the festivities. Your crazy Stampede food crawl may include deep-fried Doritos, deep-fried cheesecake, deep-fried mac n cheese, chocolate bacon on a stick, frozen bananas and much more.

7. Get a Map of the Free Events

Make sure that you get a map of the park and a program which lists the free events and shows throughout the day – there are plenty of things to do! There’s also a free app, if you prefer to see the event listings on your phone.

8. Explore Beyond Calgary

Get out in to the Rocky Mountains. Photo credit: minniemouseaunt

If you have come all the way to Calgary to attend this epic event, make sure to take a day or two to explore some of the other amazing destinations in the area. For example, it’s only a short drive to the gorgeous scenery and outdoor adventures of the Rocky Mountains.

Have you been to Stampede? Do you have any great stories or tips? Share them with us in the comments below.

For more information about things to do in Calgary and the surrounding area head to Visit Calgary

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Kelly Dunning

Kelly Dunning is a freelance writer, travel blogger and digital nomad. She and her partner Lee, a web designer from Northern England, have been working remotely while backpacking around the world with no fixed address since May of 2011. Together they created Global-Goose.com, a resource of information and inspiration for other travellers.


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