8 Common Questions Answered About the Calgary Stampede

Whether you are a chuck wagon veteran or this really is your first rodeo, there is always something new to experience at the Calgary Stampede.

As such a large event, you may have some questions, or even concerns, about whether the Calgary Stampede experience is actually for you.

Because it is such a huge event, the Stampede truly offers something for everyone and is a great environment for all visitors and participants.

Here are answers to 8 common questions about the Calgary Stampede that may change the way you think about the annual city-wide party and ease concerns you may have about attending this great Canadian event.

1. Why go to the Stampede when I’ve already been? Is there any reason to go this July instead of putting it off until another year?

The Calgary Stampede has changed a lot since it started in 1912 and each year brings new opportunities to experience an entertainment spectacular that brings visitors from around the world. Even if you have been to the Calgary Stampede before, there is always something new to see and do. The world famous Grandstand Show is reimagined each year for a new audience that is sure to make your jaw drop.

2. Can I afford to go to the Stampede? How can I save money at the event?

A few simple tips and tricks can get you into the Stampede action and keep you on budget. Value Days, like Parade Day, Cenovus Family Day, and BMO Kids’ Day, get you on Park and save you money. There are so many things to see and do that are included in your admission, be sure to check them out! 

3. How can I make the Stampede safe for my kids?

Safety is priority number one for everyone at the Calgary Stampede. There are a few things you can do to make sure everyone sticks together and has a great experience. Take a picture of what your kids are wearing before you arrive, get a wristband at one of the Lost Kids booths located at each entrance and point out Police and Stampede employees as you walk around Park. They are there to help. If anyone gets separated, call Lost Kids (403-232-9090) immediately.

The Lost Kids Patrol will take your child to the ATCO Lost Kids Centre across from the south end of the Big Four Building, where you will be reunited. The ATCO Lost Kids program operates daily during the Stampede. The BMO Kids’ Zone is an interactive area perfect for families. Free activities, face painting, prizes, and meet and greets with popular characters make this a family-oriented spot you can count on during all 10 days of Stampede.

4. Is the Stampede a family friendly event?

Absolutely! From toddlers to seniors, music fans to shoppers, and adrenaline junkies to foodies, the Calgary Stampede has something for everyone. Take advantage of free admission for the whole family on Cenovus Family Day. BMO Kids’ Day includes free entry for kids 12 & under, and kicks off with free breakfast on July 12. These days are especially filled with families, though every day at the Calgary Stampede is a great experience for both kids and adults.

Get up close and personal with various farm animals in the Agriculture Discovery Zone while learning about the roles they play in our everyday lives. You can also experience a combination of demonstrations and hands-on experiences and interactions with Alberta-based commodity groups.

Don’t forget to visit the Great Funtier – everything a family could want all in one place. Located alongside the Agriculture Building, this zone features all your favourite family activities including specially sized kids’ rides, games and treats.  

5. How is the Calgary Stampede different from other festivals?

There are plenty of festivals and exhibitions across Canada and North America, but this really is a city wide celebration, similar to how Mardi Gras takes over New Orleans or Carnival is in every corner of Rio de Janeiro. Nothing brings Calgary to life like The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

The city wide event transforms restaurants, shops, and office buildings for ten days each year with hay bales, barn board signs, and western themed murals. The western spirit begins with the Stampede Parade, featuring 40 floats, 750 horses, and over 4,000 people each year that travels through the heart of the city. Ride the C-Train through downtown and you might notice a few cowboys and cowgirls making their way to the rodeo after work.

6. How does the Stampede provide care for animals?

With more than 7,500 animals taking part in the exhibitions, educational programs, and competitions at the Calgary Stampede, the organization is both passionate and vigilant about animal care. The Calgary Stampede follows all regulations set out by Alberta’s Animal Protection Act and is monitored by the Calgary Humane Society.

Focused on animal care best practices, the Stampede has a full team of veterinarians on Stampede Park, carrying out daily individual assessments on each and every animal guest, as well as providing medical care when needed. With an aim at continual improvement, the Calgary Stampede works year-round to further enhance safety measures in all of its western and agricultural events and competitions under advisement of an independent Animal Care Advisory Panel. You can learn more about the Calgary Stampede Animal Care program.

7. How does the Stampede work with First Nations groups?

The Indian Village is a great way to experience First Nations traditions and has been a highlight of the Calgary Stampede since 1912. A collaboration between the Indian Events Committee with Treaty 7 families, the 26 tipis on Park represent the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. The Indian Village is a space for inter-cultural sharing and celebrating Treaty 7 First Nations cultures. Learn more about the history of the Indian Village and Treaty 7 at the Calgary Stampede.  

8. Can I get an affordable hotel during the Calgary Stampede?

Finding accommodations for the Calgary Stampede is the first step in planning your trip. While hotels book quickly each year for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, there are many outside the downtown core with great rates and easy accessibility to the grounds.

Because Stampede Park has ample transit service, including two C-Train stations, getting to and from the grounds is easy, no matter where you’re staying in the city. Some hotels will even offer a shuttle service during the Stampede. If you can’t find a hotel in the downtown core during the Stampede that fits your budget, try searching (you can use this handy tool) in other areas of the city for hotels that provide exceptional experiences on a trip to Calgary. 

The Calgary Stampede runs July 7-16, 2017. More information on everything to do with the Stampede can be found at calgarystampede.com.

Book your Calgary Stampede adventure to Calgary now with Air Canada - Tourism Calgary's official partner airline, flying from over 35 destinations directly into YYC Calgary International Airport.