Calgary

Big Stampede parties said to signal economic rebound

The return of lavish Stampede parties can be seen as a sign that Calgary's economy is back on track, say some people who sponsor the big events.

The return of big, expensive Stampede parties can be seen as a sign that Calgary's economy is back on track, according to some people who sponsor the big events.

In recent years corporate soirees had been scaled down because of the recession, said Paul Vickers, whose Cowboys nightclub hosts several parties during Stampede week.

But ticket sales have been brisk for one of Vickers' largest events, Rob Laidlaw and the Cowboy Posse — a good indication that the slump is over, he said.

"I've already eclipsed my record of 2009, so that's encouraging," he said, adding that the numbers haven't yet recovered to 2007 levels.

Vickers said if the economy continues to perform at its current rate, 2012 will be a record year for sales and attendance.

Kinnear Financial Ltd. is also stepping it up a notch for the firm's Stampede party this year, booking Randy Bachman, formerly of The Guess Who, to highlight the hoedown.

The company had trimmed its guest list in the last couple of years. But this year, more than 1,000 people are invited, said the firm's Kelly Dinning.

"So we've just increased it a little bit as far as the entertainment goes," she said.

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