Friday, March 29, 2013

The Calgary Stampede

Barrel racing at the Calgary Stampede. Photo b...
Barrel racing at the Calgary Stampede. Photo by Chuck Szmurlo taken July 10, 2007 at the Calgary Stampede with a Nikon D200 and a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens. Please note that the logo for the Calgary Herald has been painted over. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every July, Calgary comes alive with over a million visitors laughing, shouting, and enjoying a ten-day festival extravaganza. The Calgary Stampede serves as an iconic preservation of traditional Western culture and entertainment, notably featuring one of the largest rodeos in the world.

Historically, the Calgary Stampede began with agricultural exhibitions and industrial fairs, but as early as 1912, rodeo elements were added into the experience. One of the first great successes of the event was the 1919 “Great Victory Stampede” which served to welcome back war veterans after the First World War. With the advent of cinema, the Calgary Stampede gained exposure across the continent after several movies were filmed there in the 1940s. The event continued to grow throughout the 20th century, and now enjoys audiences of over a million each year.

The Calgary Stampede rodeo features the very best competitors and livestock, and is thus by far the largest attraction of the festival. The tournament-style competition offers over $2 million in prize money, creating a high-stakes atmosphere that is exciting both for competitors and spectators. While the rodeo is the main attraction at the stampede, there are hundreds of other events to entertain all of its patrons. A parade kicks off the event, featuring marching bands, floats, and more. The event stays true to its roots and still hosts an agricultural exhibition, which draws a huge audience despite the fact that the demographics of Alberta have shifted to the point where only about two percent of the population is employed in agriculture. Other popular attractions include a derby, a market, and an area with carnival rides and games.

The Calgary Stampede generates a tremendous amount of economic value in tourist revenue, promotion of commerce through trade shows, and overall exposure and promotion of Calgary to the public at large. This extravagant event has made Calgary an extremely popular tourist destination during the summer. Additionally, the Calgary Stampede as an organization promotes volunteerism year-round, and utilizes over two thousand volunteers each year to make the festival happen.

For a tourist looking to attend the Calgary Stampede, the festival makes it easy and relatively affordable to select only the events of interest and purchase individual tickets or discounted packages. Calgary may seem like an inconvenient destination, but tourists actually have many options when it comes to visiting Calgary for the stampede. The Calgary International Airport is located a convenient twenty minutes away from Stampede Park, and there are ample accommodations for the large tourist surge in July. Additionally, there are many other options to get to Calgary such as a Canadian train tour which includes the Calgary Stampede as well as many other exciting destinations.

With its rich history and exciting events to thrill any audience, the Calgary Stampede seems like an experience that needs to go on everyone’s bucket list. For an unconventional and exciting vacation, look no further.

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