There are two Oases that offer a break at Stampede Park

Most people know about the Western Oasis, retreat for Cabernet cowfolks who prefer a civilized glass of wine to mud and beer.  In that quiet murmuring space visitors can enjoy the variant colours and textures of the different works on display in the western art show and the western photo gallery. My personal favourite is Bonnie MacRae-Kilb’s work, featured in the Artist Ranch Project, as striking and energetic as the artist herself. That Oasis is a wonderful spot, reminding us that celebrating our western heritage is tied to image and art, which speak for both memory and vision.

Photo Credit: Andy Nichols / Calgary Stampede

The other is Enmax Park, the new Indian village, which combines the best of the old village with a better location, the striking Treaty 7 family teepees set into the crook of the confluence of the Elbow and the Bow.  The new setting is lush and well planned, now slightly apart from the hurly burly of the midway and the bustling crowds. The Bannock Booth is busier than ever, and I tasted the best bannock I have ever eaten the other day.  The grassy expanse, the picnic area, and the serenity of the new spot all combine with the interpretive programs and dances, and celebrate the powerful cultural heritage of the people who have gifted us this land. The 26 tipis representing the Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani nations are circles of memory and respect, of the ongoing traditions of the land and the indigenous people and their continuous role in our history.

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede

Both are worth visiting, offering a chance to spend a few quiet hours away from the muddy infield, a small circle of stillness and quietude at the heart of Stampede’s celebration.

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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Calling all Calgary foodies!

Whenever I tell family & friends that I am a Calgary Stampede volunteer on the Western Showcase, Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre committee I generally receive the same response.  What’s Kitchen Theatre? 

Short answer – great local chefs and food lovers prepare fabulous food on stage in the Western  Oasis, BMO Centre Halls D & E during the 10 days of Stampede.  

Kitchen Theatre has evolved over the past 60 years from its roots as a kitchen display of the “past, present & future” to the current stage where you will find the very popular Dueling Chefs competition, the Kids’ Chili cook-off and the Police and Firefighter cook-off with Angela Knight of CBC as our MC. 

Police_Firefighter_2013
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An Oasis in the Heart of Stampede Park

This summer, while exploring the many events and sights on Stampede Park you may find that you want a change of pace. Maybe you want to get out of the weather, or the crowds, or just to relax and unwind. You are in luck! We have an Oasis in the middle of the Park just for that!

 

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

 

Located inside halls D & E of the BMO Centre, you will find a calm, creative retreat known as the Western Oasis. One of the best parts about the Western Oasis, besides the air conditioning, is the feeling you get the moment you walk through the doors. The Western Showcase committee creates such a welcoming, intriguing, and calming atmosphere which makes the buzz of the Midway and Stampede Market feel like they’re 1,000 Kilometers away. Imagine a gently lit room that is illuminated by 2000 soft lights, the feeling of a relaxing breeze, the sounds of trickling water and hushed voices, and the beautiful scent of 1,600 flowers, shrubs, and plants.

 

Photo Credit: Mike Ridewood

 

One of the most magnificent sights is the breathtaking water wall that is highlighted by the glow of twinkling lights and colours. As you’re walking through, make sure you take a peek in the galleries and studios of the artists, as the artwork is simply amazing. You’re also welcome to take a seat at one of the barrel tables and enjoy a glass of wine in the wine garden. For your entertainment, the favourite Bronze Living Statues will also be in the Oasis throughout the day. Do they even blink?

 

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

 

This year, there will also be a very unique collection of corkscrews that will be on display. Paul Squires is bringing his personal collection of antique corkscrews that date all the way back to the 18th century. If the corkscrews are anything like the wine, they can only get better with age. The Remington Carriage Museum will also be providing the Stage Coach where you, friends, and family can have a great western photo opportunity.

 

Corkscrew

 

 

 

Below is a list of areas to see within the Western Oasis:

Artists’ Studios offers a unique opportunity to meet and purchase art directly from the artists. The artists are on hand daily so you can learn about how that ‘must have’ piece of art was created.

Western Art Gallery features new and emerging Western artists whose original work reflects the life and times of Western Canadians of the past and present.

Western Art Auction – North America’s finest western art auction is held on Thursday, July 11. Auction pieces may be previewed in the Western Oasis until Wednesday, July 10. For ticket information visit http://westernshowcase.com/tickets.php

Western Photo Gallery showcases spectacular photos capturing the rich history of the West and the Calgary Stampede.

Artist Ranch Project Inspired by a visit to Scott Ranch, a working historical ranch in Alberta, contemporary artists will present their creations.

 

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

 

You can also experience a taste of western lifestyle and culture in action by visiting some of these areas in the Western Oasis:

Window on the West Stage – Guests will enjoy the eclectic mix of live music and cowboy poetry.

Creative Arts and Crafts - Daily demos take place in the Creative Arts & Crafts area where you can see traditional to modern crafting techniques. Maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new!

Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre features the best of western cooking with daily, non-stop cooking demos and the very popular Dueling Chefs competitions.

Wine Garden presented by Co-op, offers a selection of over 20 wine varieties of Canadian and international wines. Indulge in a glass of wine, along with a cheese plate or evening flambé. Wine specialists are featured daily between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

 

Wine Garden

 

Did you know in the 2012 Western Oasis…

  • 2,000 lights were used
  • 100 trees were brought in and cared for
  • 1,600 shrubs, flowers, and plants were brought in and cared for
  • Over 200 tons of rock were lifted and placed

 

Written by:

Jillian Cook

Lindsey Kendrick

 

Indoor Adventures at Stampede

With all the rain we’ve been having, you may be tempted to stay home instead of venturing down to the grounds.  I can’t say that I blame you; the prospect of pouring rain and cold winds is not appealing in July.  However, I decided to venture down to Stampede Park last night with a friend as I figured that we could enjoy lots of indoor attractions with fewer people there.

As soon as we arrived, we immediately ducked into the BMO Centre which is right by the main entrance so we weren’t wet at all.  I’m a bit of a photography nut so we took in the photography exhibit in the Western Oasis, then moseyed over to the ATCO Kitchen Theatre where Josef Wiever and Linda Sautner showed everyone just how versatile bison can be.  I won’t lie, I was definitely interested in the samples at the end!

From there, we did some wine tasting and pairing in the Western Oasis…before heading over to the Acrobatic Ice Show in the Corral.  (We were able to stay inside the whole time so the rain was a non-factor).  If you haven’t seen the Acrobatic Ice Show yet (it’s new this year) I HIGHLY recommend it.  It’s set to rock music and features a number of Canadian Olympians skating, doing amazing stunts on ice.

Finally, we finished up our evening with a wee bit of shopping at the Stampede Market.  There are tons of great vendors selling a huge variety of both western and non-western items.  The food vendors also have super tasty treats so we even got our mini donuts without having to go outside!

So, even though the rain might keep you from going outside, don’t let it stop you from coming down to the grounds and trying out some new indoor attractions.

Spotlight on: Western Oasis

Western Oasis

Making a return this year is the Western Oasis, one of the best places on Stampede Park to get away from the elements and the hustle and bustle of the midway.

Long-time Stampeders may remember the Western Showcase in previous years; the Western Oasis combines everything that the old Western Showcase had and adds lush vegetation, water features, a wine garden, and low-key lighting to create a very calm and relaxing atmosphere. Add in plenty of free space, places to sit, and live performances throughout the venue, and the Western Oasis truly becomes worthy of its namesake.

Located in Halls D and E of the BMO Centre, the Western Oasis features Canada’s finest display of western art and culture.

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