Stampede 2021: What five key attractions could look like this year

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Here’s what five top Calgary Stampede attractions could look like this year

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After the COVID-19 pandemic ended last summer’s event for the first time in its history, the Calgary Stampede will return this year from July 9-18.

The event will be very different from the pre-pandemic version familiar to most Calgarians, however, as organizers work to keep the Stampede safe in a COVID-19 world.

Here is what five top Calgary Stampede attractions could look like this year.

Opening parade

The Stampede’s opening parade served as the kick-off for the event for decades, with Calgarians thronging to their hearts to watch dozens of colorful floats go by.

But Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the off-field show will not go as usual.

“The challenge with the parade, of course, is that you can’t control how many people come. You have a lot of people sitting side by side for three or four hours, so it’s a long time, ”Nenshi said.

A parade could take place to be broadcast at home, Nenshi said, with potential for a small number of distant attendees.

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Premier Jason Kenney noted during his announcement on Wednesday of Alberta’s plan to reopen that Nenshi had said Calgary would not grant a permit for a Stampede parade this year.

Nenshi argued with Kenney over the comment, saying it was “a remarkably strange thing the prime minister needed to focus on.”

Grandstand show

The iconic Calgary Stampede grandstand show scored two big hits on Thursday, with the cancellation of chuckwagon races and the removal of local country musician Paul Brandt, who was scheduled to headline the show.

But a scaled-down “evening show” will always take place, including rodeo events, live music, performances by Young Canadians and a large fireworks display.

“These will be some of the events and experiences of the West that you’ve seen in the gallery before and some that you haven’t yet,” said Calgary Stampede spokesperson Kristina Barnes.

Capacity limits will also be in place for the show, Barnes said, with tickets being released as decisions are made on how many spectators can safely attend.

Midway

The Midway Stampede, complete with rides, food vendors, and games, will have a new layout this year, aimed at reducing high traffic points where there is often congestion.

“We’re creating bigger gateways that are more open, with less congestion,” Barnes said.

Midway operator North American Midway Entertainment will be bringing fewer rides and staff to Stampede than usual this year.

Rodeo

Stampedes organizers are working with the federal government to determine how to bring international rodeo athletes across the border for the event, such as those who have come to the city in recent months for curling competitions.

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Last week, Health Canada told Postmedia the agency was reviewing proposals to allow rodeo athletes from abroad to enter Canada for competitions.

Nashville North and live music

Workers began erecting the Nashville North tent on the Stampede grounds on Wednesday afternoon, in a new location due to the expansion of the BMO Center.

Organizers are planning a sit-down table service at the Country Music Hall, with potential for additional opening if circumstances permit.

“Sure, if it can’t be done safely, we won’t do it,” Barnes said.

There will also be live music at the Stampede, with a few reserved Canadian artists, Barnes said.

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Twitter: @jasonfherring

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