I have started reading a new blog; it is called Calgary is Awesome and if you are not reading it you should be. Julie Van Rosendaal recently posted her Top 10 list of things she loves about Calgary right now and her list inspired me to do my own. You can find Julie’s list here.
I couldn’t possibly share all my thoughts about my favorite things in a sentence or two so I have decided to start a ten day series of Calgary is Awesome posts. And why not start today, the Calgary Stampede starts today so that makes it easy to track.
Even though some days I will not be talking about food I feel safe to do this here because a lot of my items are food related. Also, I’m afraid to say that I share some of the same items that Julie does. What can I say, she has great taste. So with her blessing, here it goes.
Because the Stampede starts today I must make it post number one. I have a love hate relationship with the Calgary Stampede. I don’t really enjoy country music or dressing western but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Stampede.
I have lived in Calgary my whole life so I have been to a lot of Stampede’s. I don’t actually remember my first Stampede but I have a happy jumble of memories from when I was young. I remember sitting on the curb with my cousin when we were about four and getting really excited about seeing horses and cowboys. Then there was the time my Aunts decided to take my siblings and I (there were 4 of us) down to the grounds. I don’t think they fully realized what they were getting themselves into but we had a great day anyway.
One of the things I love most about the Stampede is that you can never have the same experience. Sure, some of the things are fixtures, like the midway; the rodeo; and the pancake breakfasts, but there is so much more.
Have you ever been to the back of the grounds where the barns are? One year I was down on the grounds by myself and did some exploring back there. I even sat at the show where they were judging the animals and ended up learning more about Alpacas then ever expected that day.
Or have you been to the Western Art Show? It used to be in the Round-up Centre but I think it is now in the BMO Centre. Hidden away back there are bronzes and paintings, many by local artists. Take a minute from the madness and step inside the life of a cowboy through the eyes of these artists.
There are so many other things I could take about. Now that I think about it, I even remember one year they brought an exhibit in featuring The Shroud of Turin. Every year, there is something different.
What kind of a food blogger would I be if I didn’t talk about the food? Of course there are mini donuts, corn dogs and all manner of deep fried things that I can’t eat anymore because I will be sick, but there are lots of other choices. One of my favorites is the food court in the basement of the Big 4 Building. Some local restaurants set up shop down there and you can find things like sushi, baked potatoes and crepes. And of course new this year are our YYC Food Trucks. The Naaco Truck, Los Compadres and The Mighty Skillet will all be on the grounds offering up some tasty bites.
Ok, this is already too long but one last thing. I love how the Stampede brings the city of Calgary together. Generally, we as Calgarians love to welcome the world to our show and in a way it is like welcoming visitors into our home. It is not only a great way to promote our city and our western values but it also brings us together as a community much like a family reunion. And really, that is the best reason why the Calgary Stampede is awesome!