Many Calgarians seem to have a love-hate relationship with the Stampede, but I say that you can't knock it until you try it! No matter if you're going for the concerts, the rides, the food, or the rodeo, we can almost guarantee you won't be disappointed.
If you're a Stampede newbie, or just want some helpful tips on what's worth checking out, consider this bucket list to be your ultimate guide:
1. Watch the Rodeo
For a lot of people, the rodeo is the main event of the Stampede! I personally haven't yet gone, but I plan on checking it out this year to see what all the hype is about.
2. Pull out your best Western Wear
Even if you don't wear cowboy boots for the other 364 days of the year, the Stampede gives you an excuse to let out your inner cowgirl/cowboy.
3. Watch the fireworks
Whether you watch them from the top of the Ferris wheel, or away from the crowds at one of your favourite lookouts, it's definitely a spectacular show that you won't want to miss.
4. Get your fill at one of the many pancake breakfasts
The best way to start your Stampede off is with a pancake breakfast! Sure you could cook your own, or you could head to one of the many free ones happening around the city.
5. Survive a night in the Cowboys Tent
Anyone who's spent a night in the Cowboys Tent during Stampede will tell you first hand, it gets f*cking WILD. Props to you if you can handle more than one night.
6. Watch the Stampede Showband perform
The Stampede Showband is a seriously talented group of performers, and if you have the chance to see them live, you definitely shouldn't pass it up!
7. Conquer the 2-foot tall mini donut tower
The Stampede is the perfect time to grab some mini donuts. They're usually sold in bags or buckets, but this year, you can grab a 2-foot tower to devour!
8. Check out the view from the top of the Ferris wheel
Any Stampede expert will tell you that the best view of the grounds comes from the top of the Ferris wheel. Whether you ride it in the middle of the day, or during the amazing fireworks display, you won't be disappointed!
9. Try the insane Cricket Grilled Cheese
The Stampede is known for its often outrageous foods, and this year is no exception! It seems that crickets are on the menu this year, sprinkled on top of everyone's favorite... Grilled Cheese.
10. Browse the Indian Village
The Indian Village has been a part of the Stampede since 1912 and is a great way to learn about the Indigenous culture. Try some bannock, watch some traditional song and dance, and check out the tipis!
11. Catch Daniel Caesar performing at the Coca-Cola Stage
Last time Daniel was in Calgary, the show was insane! If you missed it, don't worry. You can catch him for free at the Coca-Cola Stage on July 8th.
12. Catch a show at The Grandstand
If you want to rest your feet for awhile, be sure to head over to the Grandstand! There's always some sort of live entertainment happening, from chuckwagons and musical performances to acrobatics and fireworks!
13. Watch some death-defying stunts at the Bell Adrenaline Ranch
Every year, the Bell Adrenaline Ranch becomes home to some seriously insane athletes that perform death-defying stunts that will have you on the edge of your seat.
14. Cool off with a drink from the Big Four Roadhouse
During this year's Stampede, the Big Four Roadhouse will be home to 32 unique Alberta brewers, all serving up their finest selections for you to sip on. You can also stop in for some amazing eats to go with your brews!
15. Catch Luke Bryan at the Scotiabank Saddledome
The Stampede is known for its country roots, so you'd be crazy not to catch at least one concert! This year, Luke Bryan is just one of the many talented artists performing. You can catch him at the Saddledome on July 14th.
16. Ride the zip line over the midway
When your feet get tired, you can always hop on board the sky tram for a quick trip across the park! This year though, the Stampede is taking it one level higher and setting you up with the opportunity to zip line across the park!
17. Check out the Stampede Kick-Off Party in the Knoxville's Tent
As one of Calgary's premiere country bars, we're expecting a lot from Knoxville's for the Stampede! On July 5th, they'll be hosting a kick-off party for you to enjoy, featuring guests like Loud Luxury!
18. Ride every ride on the Midway
This may sound like an easy enough task, but some of those rides can be pretty daunting! Make sure you don't eat too many mini donuts before you hop on something that will take your upside down.
19. Win a giant teddy bear for yourself, or your boo
You may set yourself back a few dollars in the process, but there's definitely a sense of satisfaction that comes with winning one of those crooked midway games.
20. Shoot your shot during the Stampede Talent Search
Think you've got what it takes to be a star? Competitors ages 6 - 21 can show off their singing, dancing, and performing skills in front of an audience to win $15,000 in prizes! If you've got stage fright, you can always spend time watching the competition.
21. Get your hands on some edible cookie dough
As a child, people always tell you not to eat cookie dough. Now that you're an adult, and can make your own informed decisions, we ENCOURAGE you to eat the dough, especially if it's topped with other tasty treats like cotton candy and whipped cream.
22. Spend some time with the baby animals at the petting zoo
Nobody in their right mind would pass up a chance to pet baby animals! The Stampede usually has some super cute critters, including donkeys, llamas, pigs, cows, and horses.
23. Fulfill your sugar cravings with a Donut Ice Cream Sandwich
Yet another amazing food you can expect to see at this year's Stampede is these amazing Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches. Eat just one, and you'll be feeling a sugar high for the rest of the day.
24. Head downtown to watch the Stampede Parade
One way to know for sure that it's Stampede szn is the infamous parade. If you don't mind crowds, it's definitely super cool to head downtown to check out the amazingly talented Calgarians that are participating!
25. Practice your two-stepping
Country fan or not, if you're at Stampede, you're going to want to know how to two-step. Hit up one of the amazing tents or afterparties and get ready to impress all your friends with your dance moves.
26. Try some Prairie Oysters
Although I don't totally understand why, there's no denying that many Albertans love Prairie Oysters. This year, you'll be able to order mini donuts topped with the Alberta classic, as well as a blueberry sauce. Try them, if you're brave enough!
27. Double fist your drinks, no matter what tent you end up in
Let's be real, is it really Stampede if you aren't double fisting? When ordering drinks, make sure to get two of your favourite; that way you can't text people you're not supposed to.
28. Shop around the Western Oasis
If you need to get away from the heat, head on over to the Western Oasis. They've got plenty of vendors selling amazing products, including clothing, jewelry, food, and other services!
29. Get rowdy in the Nashville North Tent
If you can handle the insane lineup, that is. The Nashville North tent is no joke, and it's the perfect spot to hangout if you love country music, two-stepping, and drinking!
30. Cheer on the talented pups at the Dog Bowl
The Stampede hosts many amazing events, but a favorite for many people would have to be the Dog Bowl! Watch some super cute pups compete against one another in events such as high jumping and dock-diving.