Calgary keeps Stampede spirit alive at drive-thru pancake breakfast
People kept the annual tradition alive despite the pandemic
For the first time in nearly a century, Stampede Park was quiet during the first weekend of July.
But about 20 kilometres north, Calgarians with access to vehicles had the chance to keep their Stampede spirit alive.
Thousands of Calgarians donned cowboy hats and checkered shirts for a pancake breakfast drive-thru on Saturday at Cross Iron Mills mall.
For Kailey Folan, that meant a new twist on Stampede attire.
"Because I wasn't supposed to leave the car today it was going to be Stampede on the top and joggers on the bottom. So it's called Stamp-leisure — it's great for COVID-19," she joked, adding that she planned to rewatch old rodeo events later in the day.
The annual rodeo and festival, which draws more than one million visitors to Calgary each year, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 'It was mandatory': Calgary Stampede cancelled for 1st time in almost a century due to pandemic
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Instead, organizers have found physically distant ways to celebrate, from drive-thru events to two fireworks displays.
Saturday's pancake breakfast required attendees to register in advance, so organizers could better manage traffic flow. Cyclists or pedestrians weren't allowed to attend.
Stampede princesses perched in the back of a pickup truck, wearing masks, waving as vehicles went by.
Rachel Talavlikar and her family set up a tailgate party in the mall's parking lot to enjoy their flapjacks slathered in syrup.
"It was fun, but it was, you almost get emotional going through because it feels like — God this is hard but better than nothing," she said.
For more details on the Stampede's unique offerings this year, visit the Calgary Stampede website.
With files from Helen Pike