This is one of the events in Canada that I dreamed of attending as soon as I heard about it. All that country music, dancing, rodeo, day drinking – bliss. We flew into Calgary to meet up with our friends Tim and Sam to spend the weekend catching up and getting amongst all the festivities. It was incredible how the whole city of Calgary got involved in the ten day event. Everywhere we walked there was music, country garb and pancake breakfasts. Just spending some time walking around downtown Calgary during Stampede is a lot of fun. We were also lucky enough to catch the tail end of the parade on the first day, seeing a man riding an incredibly large bull! And horse everywhere, obviously.
The Stampede grounds themselves are buzzing and full of live country music and hundreds of options of fried foods. So it was a given that we would try to eat as many fried cheese options as possible – from deep fried coffee to deep fried philly cheese steak, we tried them all. There are a lot activities to keep you busy as well. We loved the dog show, it was a couple of hours filled with tricks and skits and highly entertaining! There are also tonnes of rides and games to keep you occupied. Andrew’s favourite was the axe-throwing, it was super entertaining.
Two of the main events to attend at the Stampede are the Rodeo and the Evening Show. We had really enjoyed the rodeo that we attended in Texas and were keen to experience another one. It really was a great show but did seem to go on for a bit too long. However, it ended in a really entertaining way with the wild pony riding – basically, kids try to rope a wild pony and ride it for a bit. We also got tickets for the Evening Show which consisted of a bunch of heats of chuckwagon racing (fun to bet on between us!) followed by a show that was very cirque-du-soliel-esque. Both were a blast to attend and definitely worth it.
The Stampede grounds are also filled with beer gardens and concert tents. The sun was blasting all weekend so chilling in the beer gardens, drinking beers and listening to music is the perfect way to spend your afternoons. Get to the beer gardens in the afternoon as the line-ups to get in are crazy in the evening. The most popular tent to go and party in is called Nashville North and it is crazy fun. The later you go then the quicker the line moves so its a good option to head there after the beer gardens. The vibe and the music is so much fun and we partied here both nights.
Overall, you’re looking at an expensive weekend and if you really want to get involved with everything that the Stampede has to offer then be prepared to spend some money – don’t worry its definitely worth it. A good way to save money is on accommodation. We stayed at the SAIT campus which was really cheap and right on the train line. They alway have availability so you can book last minute which is ideal.
Here is a breakdown of our costs for 2 people for 3 nights:
Accommodation – NZ$310 / CA$288
Food/drink – NZ$551 / CA$512
Activities – NZ$280 / CA$260
Transport (train/uber) – NZ$83 / CA$77
Total = NZ$1,225 / CA$1,137