Stampede 2021 a go, says organization

The Calgary Stampede says it intends to go forward with the 10-day event this year, but it won't look like any of its previous events.

'The Safest and Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is what we're going to call it this year'

The event will be much more spread out, according to the Calgary Stampede. (John Gibson/CBC)

The "Great Outdoor Show on Earth" didn't happen last year, but Calgary Stampede organizers say it'll be back this year, and unlike any others previous.

Whether that includes a midway, rodeo or grandstand show is still being determined.

"The Safest and Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is what we're going to call it this year," Kristina Barnes, communication manager with the Calgary Stampede, said Friday on the Calgary Eyeopener.

"It won't be your typical Stampede … it's not the experience that you had in years past."

Barnes says there will still be the quintessential elements that make up the event such as the fair food, rides, animals and Indigenous cultural exhibits.

The changes will come in how these elements are presented, with safety as the No. 1 priority, she says.

"We're working directly with Alberta Health to ensure that those Stampede experiences are within the guidelines that may be in effect in July," she said.

Barnes says people can expect a lack of crowds and more spacing out as the grounds will be laid out differently to allow for more space.

"We have over 200 acres. We have the ability to spread things out," she said.

Barnes says the event will provide much-needed summer jobs and a boost for businesses in the province.

The specifics about what events will be included in the Stampede have not been announced. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Community planning

The news that Stampede intends to move forward with its 10-day event means other organizations in the city like the Ramsay Community Association must spring into action.

Erin Joslin, vice-president external with the association, says as soon as she heard the Stampede was on, she starting making calls to set up a planning meeting for the community that is located immediately east of the Stampede grounds.

Joslin says there are "standard plans" that get executed each year in the neighbourhood to handle the overflow of people from the Stampede.

The association always co-ordinates with the city to arrange road closures, the drop-off of extra garbage cans and implementation of traffic controls.

"Those are the kinds of things I'd really be worried about this year … it's one thing to control people on the ground, but it's more of a free-for-all in our neighbourhood."

Joslin says she understands the city needs this kind of economic boost but she still has concerns over safety.

"It's the kind of the boost we need, but it's a struggle knowing where we are at with the COVID cases," she said.

She hopes the event is balanced with proper precautions and planning for the community as a whole.

Twitter abuzz

Reaction poured in online to the announcement that the Stampede will happen this year.

Some, like twitter user Ursrula Da Rugan, who goes by the handle @hartell1, say they would attend, if there aren't too many rules to follow.

"I'd love to go if the restrictions aren't too cumbersome," wrote Da Rugna.

Others voiced that they were firmly opposed to the event going ahead, given the state of the pandemic in the province.

"The optics are so wrong, when people cannot gather outside beyond five people, the ICU numbers are breaking records every day, and funerals can have 10 people only," wrote one Twitter user with the handle @MusicFaninYYC.

Others wondered how this event could be green-lit when other celebrations and events such as high school graduations must be taken online.

Twitter user Sarah B, who uses the handle @sjb1971sjb, said if the event were more spread out, she would be interested.

"Absolutely not interested in a mass event on the grounds. However, If its vendors were to spread out all over the city, I WOULD absolutely patronize them."

The event is set to run July 9-18, according to the Calgary Stampede.

With files from Colleen Underwood and the Calgary Eyeopener.


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