It could be said Stampede is every Calgarians favourite S-word. From the rodeo and chuck races to mid-way style to tent debauchery, the Calgary Stampede offers shenanigan fuelled fun on every level. Not only does the Stampede bring forth the largest outdoor show on Earth, it entices local businesses to get involved within the community on a larger level. As the Stampede comes a knockin’ every year it brings a commercial aspect for YYC habitants as well as companies to utilize as a way for further promotion of its brand, products and overall message.
It’s a remarkable sight to see a city embrace its roots, continually celebrating over 100 years of tradition and producing an overwhelming sense of metropolis love. People of Calgary are honoured to tell outsiders, “I’m from Calgary,” because more often than not, non-YYC dwellers will relate Calgary to the Stampede as a stamp in it’s cultural history. It’s amazing to witness citizens of Calgary gushing about their love affair with their beautiful city, delighted to tell anyone with ears they are proud to be Calgarians – heck we’ve made an entire business from that one feeling; feeling proud.
Whether you are a friend or foe of Stampede, I feel we all can admit the city is buzzing and even more so alive with vivacious energy, from everyone that calls Calgary home and those flocking to it for a visit. While I was walking through Stephen’s Avenue on Thursday morning to catch a taste of the pre-stampede stampede breakfast, you could tell everyone and their cat were feelin’ the vibes; stampede was in the air. Storefront after storefront each was decorated with Stampede themed items. Everything from hay bales to cowboy boots to straw hats, made its way into the eyes of the on looker. Below are some of our favourite local companies that amp up our Stampede experience.
One of my favourite things to do in anticipation of the Stampede is go cowboy, or cowgirl should I say, boot shopping. Perusing the isles of Alberta Boot Company, lusting over the new colours, styles and shapes while concocting up Stampede outfits worthy enough for envy. I love the feeling of walking through the gates of Stampede for the first time; it’s like galloping down the stairs on Christmas morning. The gust of memories that flood your mind as you walk the mid way thinking about years past, while you scourer the booths for the Family Squeezed Lemonade stand to be greeted with more feelings of nostalgia. It’s funny what we associate one with the other with. When I think lemonade I think of the brightly coloured yellow stands of Family Squeezed Lemonade, traipsing around the stampede grounds in search of an ice cold drink on a hot summers day to watch the plastic cup sweat, along with my top brow; oh the power of nostalgia.
So if we’re talking local love, one of my wondering thoughts lately have been if Stampede empowers the pursuits of local Calgarian companies, why aren’t locally brewed craft beers served on tap on the grounds? I mean if we’re handing over eight bucks for a can of beer I would much rather it be a Village Blonde or Tool Shed’s People Skills, instead of the usual culprits of Kokanee and Bud Light. However it’s just a thought, guess we’ll have to set up camp at the new Trolley 5 for a night and get our fill that way.
As Stampede rolls in every year to show us a boot skootin’ boogeyin’ good time no matter what shape the economy is in, Stampede always brings it’s A game. A city witnessing the results of an aggressive economic downturn has still managed to empty its piggy banks and put some of its salvaged dollars back into Stampede activities. If there’s a will there’s always a way, as Calgarians have proved to be accurate after the 2013 flood – the Stampede will always go on!
Each year the Stampede continually offers up a dish of Calgary’s finest local businesses, ice-cold brews, chuck races, fireworks, late night antics and more. It’s hard to resist the feeling of loving what so many of us have built memories and shared stories repeatedly throughout the years and have no intention of stopping. We heart YYC.
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