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Discover the Hidden Gems of the Calgary Stampede

By Maggie Hsu, July 8 2024—

The rodeo, parade, midway rides and fried foods are the things that are most commonly 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 into art and culture

For those looking to escape the bright and energetic midway, the Western Oasis is a perfect retreat. It is an escape into an amalgamation of art and music where visitors can wander through beautiful art exhibits featuring works from local artists and artists from across North America that capture the essence of Western culture and landscapes — featuring the Creative Arts and Crafts competition, the display and judging promises to engage the community and visitors with the Calgary Stampede while aiming to preserve traditional art forms and showcasing emerging art forms. The Western Oasis also hosts Artists’ Studios that offer spaces in the form of booths for artists to offer their art for sale to the public; an Art Gallery for artists to show and sell their original works; a Photography Competition that allows photographers to submit their work for a chance to be chosen for the 2024 Calgary Stampede Art Show Photo Exhibit; a Photo Gallery; and the Window on the West Stage where musicians can step up and showcase their talents.

Agricultural Showcases: Celebrate Alberta’s agricultural heritage

The Stampede’s Agricultural Showcases provide the opportunity to gain insight into Alberta’s close ties to agriculture. These exhibitions feature a wide array of farm animals, from horses and cows to adorable baby chicks. Visit the Horse Haven Stables on the South end of the Agriculture Barns to, “discover different horse breeds found throughout Alberta”. When you’re done, you can head over to the Northern Lights Arena to learn about miniature donkeys and the special role they play in the agriculture industry. If the mini donkeys don’t satisfy your cute aggression, stop by the Sheep Showcase to take a peek into how these fluffy little beings get taken care of to form Alberta’s Sheep Industry. These exhibitions and more are running throughout Stampede at various locations, so check out Stampede’s website for more information.

Agriculture Competitions: Showcasing the best of the best

Building on the agricultural theme, the Agriculture Competitions are a testament to the skill and dedication required by farmers and ranchers to sustain the agricultural industry. These contests feature the finest livestock, crops and agricultural products, judged for their quality and excellence. Visitors can witness the competitive spirit and pride of these participants and the diverse aspects of agriculture.

Elbow River Camp: Honouring indigenous cultures

Elbow River Camp is a bright and vibrant celebration of Indigenous cultures. This space provides an opportunity for visitors to learn about the traditions and heritage of the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina First Nations of Treaty seven. The camp runs daily exhibitions of traditional dance, storytelling and hosts an artisan market that provides a showcase for handcrafted goods. This space on Stampede Grounds is a powerful reminder of the rich cultural tapestry that shapes the region and aims to foster respect and appreciation for Indigenous traditions.

These five gems are only a handful of the many experiences of 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 uncover the charm of the Stampede and connect with the aspects of Albertan and Western Canadian Heritage that formed the original rendition of “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth”.

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