Monday, 4 August 2014


Albertans take summer very seriously; they have to because it is short but delicious. "Yolo" acquires a very different meaning when three months of the year are gorgeous and sun dappled, and the rest is buried in snow. They take July, however, the most seriously; it is the single month of the year when you are basically guaranteed good weather: May is often still chilly, June is too rainy, and August in all likelihood will also be lovely but there is always the chance of snow hanging like a shadow over any occasion. But July is perfect, and so all the long-planned festivals, celebrations, outdoor cookouts, camping trips and lakeshore vacations are, if possible, scheduled during July. (As one might expect, the pace of working life slows a bit during this time).

The largest of these celebrations in Calgary is the Stampede. A combination state fair/rodeo/racing event/carnival/city holiday/heritage festival, accompanied by concerts, parades, neighborhood block parties, arts exhibits, and company parties. Any entity that is an entity within the city throws a Stampede breakfast - free pancakes for everyone and sometimes bacon or sausage or live music depending on how much money they've thrown at it - at some point during this time. The neighborhood association throws one, the mall throws one, your employer may throw one... our grocery store throws one? You get the idea.

The focus of all of the festivity, though, is on the actual Stampede grounds, where the fair, the rodeo, the headlining concerts (Shania Twain! Reba! Keith Urban!), the chuckwagon races, and the extraordinary variety show+fireworks they use as a closing event every night takes place. Tickets are worth it, but don't eat too much of the food, it's all fried. 

We didn't take too many pictures, but Jennifer Percival arrived just in time to hit the town during Stampede before our weeklong vacation in the mountains!

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