We arrived in Calgary, Alberta, in time for the Calgary Stampede.
And the opening event is the Stampede Parade. So with some help from some Calgarians, I pushed the right buttons at the appropriate places to purchase the correct ticket for the train downtown and headed to the stop near the beginning of the parade. Just one of the more than 350,000 spectators who annually attend this parade.
Some prelude entries provided some entertainment while the crowd jostled for position along the route. Among these participants were a Greek dance group, a Ukranian dance group, a small chorus, and this group of belly dancers in Western garb.
I anticipated a parade that might be a bit different than others I had attended.
This flyover marked the official beginning of the parade.
Since the parade would require about three to four hours of standing, Kate opted to stay at the RV rather than subject her back to the agony of tryiing to meet that requirement.
I like these counter-parts to the tubas or sousa-phones played by the members of the Calgary Stampede Show Band, but I wonder if there is a comfortable way to carry this instrument over the nearly three-mile parade route.
I think these impressive groups are the Calgary Police Service Department Pipes and Drums, which was awarded "Best Pipe Band,"
the Calgary Police Color Party,
and the Calgary Fire Department Pipes and Drums.
The Calgary Round-up Band members playing the cymbals marched backwards during this segment of the parade while the drummers beat a rhythm on the cymbals. This Calgary band won "Best Junior Band" and "Best Auxiliary."
These miniature horses brought several "Awww"s from spectators around me.
A more common response from the crowd was "Yahoo," often in response to parade participants holding up a "Ya" card and then a "hoo" card. Other participants would put forth a challenge to each side of the street--whose "Yahoo" was louder.
Winner of the "Best Cultural Entry" and "Best Overall Entry," or the President's Award, was United YYC Chinese Association.
The Swendon's Carriage Collection, which featured this kaliope (right), won "Best Miscel-laneous Costume" and "Best Carriage."
There were entries that presented an international flavor: floats from the Brazilian, Indian (India), and Ismaili Muslim communities; a steel drum band from Trinidad and Tabago; the Tian Guo Marching Band of Canada (right); and
a group repre-senting Falun Dafa.
West Jet sponsored one of the two helium balloons. (The other was a figure of a Calgary Flames hockey player.)
I must admit this was the first entry of its kind I had ever seen--from the Ferret Rescue and Education Society. I'm glad somebody is watching out for those little animals.
The Women of the Wild West won the "Best Historical/ Western Costume."
I took the photo of the banner for the Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts of Calgary, because of the school's nickname, but the band was more than an interestig name.
They won "Best Senior Band," "Best Canadian Band," and "Best Overall Band." They placed third in "Best Auxiliary."
Overall, the Calgary Stampede Parade featured more than 260 entries, 3000 people, and 750 horses.
The "Chick-wagon," the entry of the Foundation for Women, earned third place in the "Best Western Entry."
An interesting entry: horse "standers."
An "entry" positioned at varying intervals throughout the parade were street sweepers costumed in honor of their favorite entries--horses.
For the four days we were in Calgary, we did not attend any of the rodeo events. The Humane Society had raised questions about the care and treatment of the animals in various events, and their concerns resonated with us.
In the eight days of events, six horses had to be put down because of injuries sustained in events.