Calgary Stampede announces free admission for all on final day
10-day event hasn't been releasing attendance numbers this year
The Calgary Stampede has increasingly given away free admissions this year, first to all front-line workers and their friends, and later to recent graduates.
Now, the outdoor event will be opening its doors to everyone — free of charge — for the final day of the 10-day festival.
"This celebration is for Calgarians, and we would like to invite everyone to ride with us one more time on Sunday," said Steve McDonough, president and chairman of the Stampede's board, in an emailed release on Saturday.
Gates open at 10 a.m. Sunday and the offer will run until midnight, subject to park capacity.
The Calgary Stampede has said it isn't releasing daily attendance numbers this year, but that attendance is expected to be roughly half of what it was pre-pandemic.
"In past years, attendance numbers were seen as a metric of success for the Stampede," a Stampede spokesperson said in an emailed statement last week.
"It wouldn't be appropriate to make a comparison to this year as we are focused on operating a safe Stampede and providing a good experience for our guests with an overall reduced Park and Grandstand capacity."
A Stampede spokesperson declined to answer questions on Saturday, and said more information would be provided at a Sunday news conference.
The Stampede said tickets were also still available to be purchased for the Rodeo and Grandstand Show.
Front-line workers were allowed to bring up to three friends, free of charge and with no proof of employment required, during the first five days of Stampede, and recent graduates and three guests were given the same offer for the final five days.
The festival, which was cancelled last year for the first time in nearly a century, is one of the first large events to take place across Canada since the pandemic began.
Staff and volunteers were required to wear masks and sanitation stations were set up around the grounds. However, videos from the grounds show masking does not appear to have been enforced for third-party vendors.