The Stampede makes Calgary a political hot-spot as elected officials of every stripe want to meet voters and be seen.
But the outsiders do a handful of events and leave.
For Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, it's a marathon.
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Between the line dancing, meeting kids and posing for thousands of pictures, every day of Stampede is a full day for the mayor, who told CBC News he expects to hit about 80 Stampede events this year.
With such a packed schedule, it's no surprise this is the only week of the year Nenshi has a driver to ensure he gets places on time and doesn't have to worry about parking.
"You just got to enjoy the moment," the mayor said. "You've got to enjoy the absurdity of a giant moose mascot photobombing you; or the kid who you want to take a picture with who immediately goes to hide under her hoodie."
But there can be other hazards, Nenshi said.
"I may have embarrassed somebody the other day," the mayor recalled, when he was offered a "'beautiful bacon pancake for you to try.' And I said, 'Well, we've got two problems.'"
Because Nenshi, a Muslim, is observing the holy month of Ramadan, he isn't allowed to eat any of the many Stampede breakfasts, even though he's often flipping a few of those flapjacks to waiting plates.
Nenshi compares his schedule this week to an election campaign: There can be some long days but it's something he enjoys doing.
"My advice to my new members of council very much was 'just choose things you think would be nice and just do it, and over time you'll figure out what you enjoy and what you don't enjoy," Nenshi said. "And if you're the mayor, don't go to an event at 10 o'clock at night where the bar was open at 8 a.m."