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Discover the hidden gems of the Calgary Stampede

Discover the hidden gems of the Calgary Stampede
Discover the hidden gems of the Calgary Stampede

By Maggie Hsu, July 8, 2024—

The rodeo, parade, carnival rides, and fried food are the things most associated with the Calgary Stampede. However, several lesser-known attractions embody the culture and energy of the Stampede. Let’s explore the diverse offerings that make the Calgary Stampede “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.”

Western Oasis: An Escape to Art and Culture

For those looking to escape the bright and energetic middle ground, the Western Oasis is a perfect retreat. It is an escape into a fusion of art and music where visitors can wander through beautiful art exhibits featuring works by local artists and artists from across North America that capture the essence of western culture and landscapes – with the Creative Arts and Crafts competition, exhibition and judging promising to engage the community and visitors with the Calgary Stampede, while striving to preserve traditional art forms and showcase emerging art forms. The Western Oasis also houses Artists’ Studios which offer booth spaces for artists to showcase their art for sale to the public; an art gallery for artists to display and sell their original works; a photography contest where photographers can submit their work for a chance to be chosen for the 2024 Calgary Stampede Art Show Photo Exhibit; a photography gallery; and the West Stage Window where musicians can perform and showcase their talents.

Agricultural Shows: Celebrate Alberta’s Agricultural Heritage

Stampede’s Agricultural Showcases offer a chance to gain insight into Alberta’s close ties to agriculture. These exhibits feature a wide variety of farm animals, from horses and cows to adorable baby chicks. Visit the Horse Haven Stables at the southern end of the Agriculture Barns to “discover the different breeds of horses found throughout Alberta.” When you’re done, head over to the Northern Lights Arena to learn more about miniature donkeys and the special role they play in the agricultural industry. If the mini donkeys don’t satisfy your cute aggression, head over to the Sheep Showcase to get a glimpse into how these furry little creatures are cared for to make up Alberta’s sheep industry. These exhibits and more are held at various locations throughout the Stampede, so check out the Stampede website for more information.

Agricultural competitions: showcasing the best of the best

Building on the agricultural theme, the Agriculture Competitions are a testament to the skills and dedication required by farmers and ranchers to keep the agricultural sector going. These competitions feature the best livestock, crops and agricultural products, judged on their quality and excellence. Visitors can witness the competitive spirit and pride of these competitors and the diverse aspects of agriculture.

Elbow River Camp: Celebrating Indigenous Cultures

Elbow River Camp is a bright and vibrant celebration of indigenous cultures. This space offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the traditions and heritage of the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina First Nations of Treaty seven. The camp hosts daily exhibitions of traditional dance, storytelling and hosts a craft market that showcases handmade goods. This space at Stampede Grounds is a powerful reminder of the rich cultural tapestry that shapes the region and aims to promote respect and appreciation for indigenous traditions.

These five gems are just a handful of the many experiences on the midway that offer a diverse and enriching experience that goes beyond the usual associations we have with the Calgary Stampede. By exploring these hidden gems, visitors can discover the charm of the Stampede and connect with the aspects of Albertan and Western Canadian heritage that shaped the original version of “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.”