Stampede team volunteers for The Alex Centre’s debut Community Meals program

“This is a place where everyone is welcomed with dignity; nobody is tested for the income they make to feel good about themselves. It’s a place where we can overcome barriers – both  physical and mental – and where community members don’t have to choose between rent and dinner,” explained Renee MacKillop, program manager at The Alex Centre, as she welcomed a team of Calgary Stampede employees to volunteer at the first ever community meal at the Calgary Community Food Centre.

Stampede employees arrived on the Stampede Trolley for a day ahead of helping out the community.

Stampede employees arrived on the Stampede Trolley for a day ahead of helping out the community.

The Alex Centre, since its inception in 1973, has saved millions in taxpayer dollars by moving people from poverty to stability and from crisis to wellness. Its focus is crisis prevention; as such, the community health, housing and food programs are aimed to break down social barriers.

The Alex Community Food Centre (CFC), the organization’s newest program, focuses on the importance of healthy food. The centre teaches community members the skills of cooking and shopping for healthy foods, and the importance of eating healthy to maintain energy and physical and mental wellness.

The Alex Centre focuses on providing individuals with the power, knowledge and skills to take control of their own lives.

The Alex Centre focuses on providing individuals with the power, knowledge and skills to take control of their own lives.

The Stampede Marketing & External Relations team was fortunate to be able to participate in the centre’s first ever community meal on Wednesday, January 25. The debut community meal was a partnership with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide social, cultural, education and employment services to Aboriginal people within the Calgary area. MacKillop provided insight into the collaboration for the debut event by saying “The Alex Community Food Centre is really a place for joy, health and sharing culture.”

To prepare for the community meal the Stampede team helped set up the space to welcome visitors – including preparing place settings for 120 guests, organizing the food health library, cleaning the area and helping to build furniture.

Two Stampede team members helped organize the community library of health-focused books.

Two Stampede team members helped organize the community library of health-focused books.

Before the meal began, representatives from the Aboriginal Friendship Centre blessed the space to provide positive intentions for moving the future. During the delicious, locally-sourced, meal, the Stampede team helped plate foods, serve guests and wash dishes. The menu consisted of fresh foods such as root vegetables, roasted acorn squash, beet salad, elk stew and home-made bannock.

The meal served was all locally-sourced and prepared in-house.

The meal served was all locally-sourced and prepared in-house.

“My favourite part of the day was when, after the guests finished eating, they all joined together to do a traditional dance, led by the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. I was so honoured to be invited into the dance circle where we all joined hands,” shared one Stampede participant. “It made me feel like we are all part of something greater, and all part of one community.”

The success of the debut community meal forecasted a busy future for the centre. Community meals will be served every second Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. at 3920 17 Ave SE. Fridays are fun too – The Alex provides drop-in smoothie making, where the smoothies are blended by the pedal-power of community members on stationary bikes. Learn more about The Alex Centre’s community programs here.

Unofficial gay day celebration at Nashville North, officially one of the best parties yet

With more than 350 confirmed attendees, Charles Macmichael encouraged members of the LGBTQ community to celebrate together in Stampede Spirit at Nashville North on the first Saturday of Stampede. “We have been doing this unofficially for [a while] now and it continues to be amazing, grow in number and in fun. Last year we had over 300 attendees! This is a great way to enjoy new friends, meet amazing guys and gals and get your western wear on,” Macmichael wrote on the Facebook event page.

The Facebook event page was shared with approximately 1,500 people – among them, were Stampede employees – team lead, marketing, Jenn Mayuga, and manager, organizational communications, Kathryn Jenkins. Mayuga and Jenkins immediately got to work to help Macmichael’s guests feel welcomed by creating and printing out Calgary Stampede stickers featuring a rainbow cowboy boot beside the CS logo.

“We wanted to show support and extend our western hospitality to all of the attendees of this unofficial event,” explained Mayuga. “As the gathering place for the community during Stampede time, we were excited and appreciative that they chose Stampede Park as the venue to come together to celebrate; and we hope they have a good time today!”

Adam Burlock (L) with Alex Garcia (R) sporting their Stampede stickers.

Adam Burlock (L) with Alex Garcia (R) sporting their Stampede stickers.

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10 things to see and do at Stampede 2016

Axe throwing, deep fried tequila shots, a 45-foot tall spinning ride, an international pavilion, a fire-lit tight-rope walker and a beautiful, new, 16-acre park are just a few of the new offerings to check out this Stampede. What’s your Stampede thing?

1. Ride the Stampede’s new ride

A new ride means a new opportunity for challenging yourself and your friends; Spin Out is a 45-foot tall rotating claw that spins you in every way imaginable – including spinning while you’re hanging upside down! For information on our other rides and ride packages, check out: http://www.calgarystampede.com/stampede/attractions/midway

Spin Out

Spin Out

 

2. Watch rescue dogs perform jaw-dropping tricks at the Dog Bowl

These rescue dogs and dogs adopted from shelters, of multiple sizes and breeds, prove that you can do anything you set your mind to, and overcome any obstacles in your way; watch as these dogs defy gravity through freestyle Frisbee disc, flyball racing and high jumping agility demonstrations. Be sure to stay until the end of the show for the exhilarating dock diving act. Canine Stars will motivate you to go home and train your pooch a new trick or two.

The Dog Bowl will feature six shows daily with room for more than 2,000 dog lovers per show. Daily shows are at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. In addition, on Suncor Family Day and BMO Kids’ Day, the first show will be at 10:30 a.m. Sneak-A-Peek on Thursday, July 7 will feature two shows at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Canine Stars

Canine Stars

 

3. Relax by the river in Indian Village’s new home in the brand new ENMAX Park

Stampede Park’s newest green space, a beautiful inner city public park and gathering space, is the new home to Indian Village presented by Penn West. Located by the MacDonald Entry, and across the bridge from Kids’ Midway, you can experience a number of activities at Indian Village including daily dance demonstrations and  tipi raising competitions, cooking demonstrations over a an open fire, and traditional arts and crafts created by Treaty 7 artisans. Don’t forget that the Bannok Booth has also moved with Indian Village to ENMAX Park so be sure to grab some doughy goodness and relax and enjoy it on the lush green grass.

Indian Village’s first event, the Opening Ceremonies and Camp Moving Ceremony on Friday, July 8, the first day of the 2016 Calgary Stampede.

Indian Village has moved to beautiful ENMAX Park!

Indian Village has moved to beautiful ENMAX Park!

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New adventures, new home for Aggie Days!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to kiss a llama? Or how a tiny bee can turn nectar into honey? At Aggie Days the answers, adventures and wonder await! And this year you will be able to find them in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

“The new location means a new way of exploring Aggie Days. As you walk through the Agrium Centre and wander through AltaLink Hall you will find new things to see and do,” says Aggie Days committee member Josh Traptow. “Our Aggie Days team has also been working hard to ensure there are brand new experiences for our visitors, many who join us year after year, but also familiar ones as well.”

Children can get up close and personal with a variety of animals at Aggie Days

Children can get up close and personal with a variety of animals at Aggie Days

Aggie Days is a place of wonder where children can see and learn about where their food comes from, how animals can be hard working helpers and of course, have a lot of fun. From farmers and ranchers, bee keepers to weavers, many different experts will be sharing their love for what they do and just how exactly it all happens. Continue reading

Calgary’s community enriched by Stampede Lotteries’ partners

This is a special time of year for the Calgary Stampede Lotteries. It’s a time of giving and sharing, as the proceeds of the 2015 program are shared with many deserving charities and organizations in our community.  It’s also a time of celebration, as we reflect on the many amazing things those same charities and organizations are able to do throughout the year.

Calgary Stampede Lotteries is a partnership between the Calgary Stampede and four service clubs: Kinsmen Club of Calgary, Rotary Club of Calgary South, Calgary Stampede Foundation and the Calgary Marching Show Band Association. Every year, proceeds from the lottery support the Calgary Stampede, a not-for profit organization, and our youth and agricultural programs. Shared proceedsare directly reinvested in the community through these service club partners. This year, $1.172 million was distributed to benefit community programs.

 

CSlotteries Kin Rotary Showband

Calgary Marching Showband Association receiving their cheque

Calgary Marching Showband Association receiving their cheque

Enviros is one of the many not-for-profit social service agencies the Kinsmen Club supports with funds from Stampede Lotteries.  “These programs are offered to youth who may be recovering from adictions or need intensive therapy in order to return back to their home,” explains Jennifer Harbour, manager of fund development at Envrios, adding “[The funds received] are used to help Enviros with building maintenance and renovation projects for the residential programs we operate.” Continue reading

Thanks a brunch, Stampede Food & Beverage team!

When Karen Monaghan, catering supervisor, and William Kwong, executive sous chef, heard about opportunities to contribute to the Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern Alberta they decided to put their western hospitality skills to the test. They rounded up other employees to help cook for the families through the “Home for Dinner” program (which also includes breakfast, brunch and lunch).

Pictured: Brenna, Stampede Concession team and Julia, Stampede front of house serving captain.

Pictured: Brenna, Stampede Concession team and Julia, Stampede front of house serving captain.

The Ronald McDonald House in Calgary provides a home away from home for out-of-town families with sick children receiving medical attention in the Calgary Children’s Hospital. More than 18,000 families have stayed at the House since it opened and it is one of 14 homes across Canada and one of more than 300 Houses worldwide. Continue reading

AltaLink and the Calgary Stampede team up to promote farm safety!

On Thursday, November 26, AltaLink generously announced that they will donate $1.5 million to create AltaLink Hall, a 20,000 square foot multi-purpose space within the Agrium Western Event Centre, and support agriculture programming. One of the fantastic new initiatives is Farm Safety Day, a one-day farm safety program aimed at rural youths in grades six to nine.

Pictured: (L) (R)

Pictured: (L) Scott Thon and (R) Warren Connell

“AltaLink’s generous donation to create Farm Safety Day and AltaLink Hall is a milestone in the Calgary Stampede’s effort to continue to showcase agriculture and western experiences,” said Warren Connell, chief executive officer of the Calgary Stampede. Continue reading

Introducing the 2016 Calgary Stampede Royalty

Anticipation filled the air on Stampede Park throughout the months of September and October as the competitions for Calgary Stampede Queen & Princesses and Calgary Stampede Indian Princess were underway. To narrow down to the final three Stampede Queen and Princesses, 21 hopeful contestants took part in a four-week long contest with numerous competitions such as public speaking, equestrian, personal interviews and more. The Indian Princess pageant took place over two weeks, with five applicants and several events, including speech training, horsemanship and attending community events.

Excitement reached its highest peak with the crowning of Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt, Stampede Princess Chelsey Jacobson, Stampede Princess Baillee Billington and Stampede Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm. These four new Calgary Stampede ambassadors have already begun the journey of a lifetime; the Royalty have already attended events representing the Stampede and will make more than 400 appearances throughout the year. So just who are these four young women and what are they looking forward to this year?

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2016 Calgary Stampede poster and the poster artwork legacy

The Calgary Stampede unveiled our 2016 poster in the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery of the Calgary Public Library’s central branch on October 5, 2015. Community members and Stampede volunteers and employees were thrilled when the curtain pulled back to reveal the priceless piece by award-winning local artist, Michelle Grant: Born to Buck, pictured below.

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“When you visit the Stampede Ranch in Hanna [Alberta], you witness many scenes of horses running freely in the fields together,” said Bill Gray, president & chairman of the Calgary Stampede board of directors, “and that was the inspiration for the poster.” Continue reading

Doors Open YYC is returning to the Calgary Stampede Grandstand!

On September 26 and 27, come get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the Calgary Stampede’s most unique areas. The Stampede tour was among Doors Open YYC’s most popular last year, and we are thrilled to be participating once again. This year, check out the Young Canadians’ costumes, enjoy the view from the Eye in the Sky, get an up-close look at the chutes, and new this year, tour the Infield suites.

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede

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Western Oasis trees donated to help create Calgary Board of Education outdoor learning areas

The Western Oasis is renowned for its one-of-a-kind art, peaceful ambiance and lush greenery. It’s truly an oasis at the heart of Stampede Park!

Photo Credit: Tye Carson / Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Tye Carson / Calgary Stampede

Illuminated by more than 2,000 soft lights, the sound of trickling water and the beautiful scents of more than 1,600 flowers and shrubs, as well as dozens of trees, Western Oasis is a welcome sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Stampede Park.

While it would be wonderful treat to keep Western Oasis as a permanent fixture inside BMO Centre, we are excited for these trees to become part of the Calgary Board of Education’s (CBE) outdoor learning areas. All 68 Western Oasis trees, Brandon Elms, Dropmore Lindens, Sargent’s Poplars and Witchita Blue Junipers, have been donated to the CBE.

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Pancake breakfast at sunset?

That’s right – it’s a Calgary Ismaili Muslim community tradition that happened last night. Calgary Stampede volunteers and employees came out to help celebrate the 19th Calgary Ismaili Muslim community pancake breakfast.

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Many Calgarians look forward to attending this annual pancake breakfast because while it’s a traditional pancake breakfast, there is also a midway, family friendly events and live music. It’s also a great way of breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. This year, the 19th Ismaili Muslim Community breakfast (second annual Break the Fast), is raising funds for Calgary Reads.

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Pictured: Harry the Horse helpfully showing Break the Fast attendees how to successfully win on the mini midway. It’s all the writs! 

 

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Sharing the local love

We’ve seen some really good online discussion on local products at the Calgary Stampede, and wanted to provide some context about the nature of local at the annual Stampede and some of the local initiatives we have running year round…

With our origins as a fair, festival and exhibition it’s always been a mix of showcasing our community to the world by highlighting local talent, businesses, farmers, producers, artists and artisans and bringing entertainment, products and services from outside of Calgary to our community.

We’re thrilled that the Stampede is more than just what happens at Stampede Park. It’s the Amber Approved breakfast at Hotel Arts, it’s the Citadel community barbecue, and it’s the Calgary Ismaili community’s sunset breakfast. Stampede is the sum of all the different celebrations, barbecues, concerts, customs, pancake breakfasts and community connections that make Calgary extra awesome in July.

Back at Stampede Park, when we organize the annual Stampede we are always balancing things: old and new, tradition and modern, local and global.

Pictured: downtown Calgary

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First pancake flip of 2015 on Stephen Avenue!

4240 hungry pancake fans were able to get their fill on Stephen Avenue as we teamed up with SAIT Polytechnic to celebrate Calgary’s diversity through pancakes! This year we thought that it would be a great way to shake things up by offering different types of pancakes that pay homage to Calgary’s diverse and ever evolving food scene.

When the Stampede initially approached SAIT back in January, we had a simple dream: to host a summit around the ultimate worldwide comfort food, pancakes! We connected with Chef Mark Beattie and Chef Bruno Lesage– who brilliantly interpreted four international pancake recipes.

Pictured: Harry the Horse and Troy the Trojans Warhorse horsing around on Stephen Avenue.

Together we kicked off the first pancake event of the season on Stephen Avenue and served up five unique pancakes for our guests to try: Venezuelan cachapas, Swedish potato pancakes, Eastern European blintz, Korean kimchi pancakes and Calgary’s own, the western pancake.

Korean kimchi pancake stack– orange you impressed by the innovation of the SAIT Culinary Campus chefs?!

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You’re invited to a Family Barn Dance and Western Market this weekend!

Do you have your weekend plans set yet? Because there are two awesome Stampede-inspired events happening this weekend on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at the Red Barn in Shawnessey, Calgary.

FamilyBarnDanceInvite

Friday, May 8 kicks off the two-day event with a family barn dance! Matt Maters will be playing songs and leading the dance party, getting you into the western spirit. There will be light snacks and drinks, and the Holy Smokes food truck, providing refreshments for sale throughout the evening. This is a great event for the whole family to attend; tickets are just $20 and and kids get in free! Buy your tickets in advance, here!

Then, wake up and continue the fun the next day. Saturday, May 9 is a good ol’ fashioned western market! Begin the day by enjoying a traditional pancake breakfast then walk around and check out the many vendors selling various western themed goods. Activities throughout the day and a lemonade stand are sure to keep the kids entertained. And keep your eyes peeled, because you may see the Stampede Queen and Princesses and Harry the Horse there as well. Continue reading