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The Calgary Stampede Returned This Weekend & It's Like 2019 All Over Again (PHOTOS)

Thousands packed in for concerts on Friday night!

It's just not a proper Alberta summer without the Calgary Stampede, and 2021 is reminding us of that in spectacular style.

The 10-day-long event returned this summer on Friday, July 9, after being cancelled in summer 2020. With concerts, food, drinks and rodeos, and only some COVID-19 restrictions in effect, it felt like Alberta was picking up right where the 2019 Calgary Stampede left off.

The stampede's Nashville North music venue kicked off on Thursday night, and country star Dean Brody played to a packed tent on Friday.

Masking rules are not in effect within the tent, but visitors can only get access if they show proof of full vaccination or take a negative COVID-19 test on-site.

Visitors don't need to take a COVID-19 test or provide proof of vaccination to get into the main park (Stampede Park) — only the music tent. Masks are "encouraged" by event organizers but not required.

The Stampede's eclectic selection of food and drink is still available for Calgarians, but the main park does have reduced capacity this year "to provide an atmosphere that is both safe and enjoyable," the organizers say.

The Stampede runs until July 18, with daily rodeos, rides, concerts and other events.