My first recollection of the word “stampede” dates back to my childhood in Nepal when I heard about the death of hundreds of people when fans watching a football (known as soccer in this part of the world) match at the stadium in Kathmandu, rushed to get away from hailstorms. As a young kid, every time I hear the word stampede, it takes me back to those days when I heard people talking about the incident of crushed lives, sadness and mourning that I heard on the radio.
It is therefore, not surprising that “stampede” evoked unpleasant emotions in me.
In the past two years I have heard about Calgary Stampede and read about the festivities. Thus began my new reckoning with stampede. If you are a new immigrant and have been in the same boat as me, we’re friends!
So, let us talk about the Calgary Stampede – one of the largest festivals, exhibition, and celebration in Canada. After its cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now back with special safety measures in place and ready for you to enjoy. This year it began on July 9 and will go on till the 18 of July. If you’ve been thinking about it, now is the time to get moving to get a taste of this unique western Canadian heritage.
Called the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” this is a unique experience you should not miss if you are in Calgary or anywhere. Now that the pandemic restrictions are easing you can plan on visiting Calgary and enjoying this fun summer event.
Calgary Stampede is a true testament of people coming together as it is organized by thousands of volunteers and supported by civic leaders. It is the labor of love of more than 2,500 dedicated volunteers who embody western values by hosting events across the city, supporting community celebrations. Its rodeo, exhibition, and festival mixed together attracts people from all over Canada and beyond (maybe not this year). It features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing, and First Nations exhibitions.
A research on Calgary Stampede takes you back to its roots that are traced to 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair. In 1912, American promoter Guy Weadick organized his first rodeo and festival, known as the Stampede. He returned to Calgary in 1919 to organize the Victory Stampede in honour of soldiers returning from World War I. Weadick’s festival became an annual event in 1923 when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to create the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.
While many native-born Canadians are familiar with the idea and spirit of the festival, immigrants like us may still not feel that we understand the buzz around it. The city and various groups are trying to make it easy for us. The Calgary Stampede is welcoming new Canadians to the city and introducing them to the Stampede spirit with travelling pop-up events. Twenty-four newcomer families are being visited and white-hatted around Calgary by Stampede royalty, mascots, horses and volunteers. The initiative began in 2020 and is co-ordinated by the Calgary Stampede’s community projects and development committee. It is a partnership with Immigrant Services Calgary.
If you are still unsure and need a lesson on what it is all about, here is Annual Stampede 101 for you.
Here are 10 reasons to attend Calgary Stampede.
Learn about the history of Calgary Stampede.
Things are changing and now with the Calgary Stampede, you can enjoy 10 days of fun and awesome networking. Get to experience the culture uninhibited and enjoy with stampeders. For me, Canada and its way of life is changing my emotions about many things, and currently, it is “stampede”. Hope they do to yours as well!