Skies clear, rain stops just in time for start of 107th Calgary Stampede parade

The Calgary Stampede parade officially kicked off the annual 10-day celebration of cowboy culture Friday morning as hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets. Watch the full parade here.

Parade is 2nd-largest in North America

The Calgary Stampede Showband marches down Ninth Avenue S.W. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Mother Nature gave a reprieve to hundreds of thousands of people lined up to see the Calgary Stampede parade.

Umbrellas and plastic ponchos covered a sea of cowboy hats and western shirts as a night of heavy rain continued into the early morning, but the rain stopped just before the procession started.

"Folklore tells us that it has never rained on a Stampede parade and look, it stopped!" said Mayor Naheed Nenshi before he removed his rain jacket and got on his horse.

There were 112 entries — including 32 floats and 19 bands — and more than 200 horses, making it the second largest parade in North America after the Rose Bowl's in Pasadena, Calif., the Stampede says.

The route through downtown Calgary is 4.8 kilometres long. It's estimated takes about two hours for the parade to pass any given point.

Watch the full parade in the video below:

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney rode in his first Stampede parade since winning the April election. He says the event is an opportunity to forget the economic downturn that has left many in the province down and out.

  • CBC broadcast the parade on CBC-TV with the CBC's Doug Dirks and Angela Knight and Heartland's Graham Wardle doing on-the-street coverage. Missed the live coverage? Watch a recording above.
  • CBC will broadcast an encore presentation of the parade on Saturday on CBC-TV from 10 a.m. to noon.

The marshal for this year's Stampede parade was Amber Marshall, one of the stars of the CBC Television drama Heartland. Marshall, 31, is best known for her role as Amy Fleming, "the horse-whispering miracle girl" on the long-running hit series.

A view of the 2019 Calgary Stampede parade from a Plus-15 walkway over Sixth Avenue S.W. (shellgeorge13)

Marshall and her husband own their own ranch and are active in the rodeo world. This year, the Stampede is celebrating women in western culture.

This year's parade also marks the 100th anniversary of what was called the Victory Stampede after the First World War.

  • Admission to Stampede Park is free between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on parade day.

The event in 1919 was the first after the Great War and was officially opened by Brig.-Gen. H.F. McDonald, who was commanding Military District 13 at Camp Sarcee in Calgary.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he practised for two hours to ride this horse, Texas, in Friday's parade. (Geneviève Normand/Radio-Canada)

As a tribute to the soldiers of the First World War, Brig.-Gen. Stephen Lacroix rode in the parade, escorted by two officers from the Lord Strathcona's Horse Mounted Troop.

  • Were you at the parade? Send your photos to, post them to our CBC Calgary Facebook page or tweet them to @CBCCalgary with the hashtag #StampedeParade

It's "a spectacular entry paying homage to that Stampede and Canadian men and women who have served our nation in that war and in the century following," the Stampede said in a release.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march past the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in the 2019 Calgary Stampede parade. (Charlotte Dumoulin/Radio-Canada)

This year featured more marching bands than you can shake a baton at, since Calgary is the host city for the 2019 World Association of Marching Show Bands competition, which started Thursday and ends Sunday at Stampede Park in and around the Scotiabank Saddledome. 

Bands from around the world, including Germany, Austria, Taiwan and New Zealand, and more than 1,400 participants are marching in Friday's parade.

Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk, centre, rides in the 2019 Calgary Stampede parade. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
A stagecoach is reflected in a puddle during the 2019 Calgary Stampede parade. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Ella Baboneau, three, stands in a puddle during the 2019 Calgary Stampede parade. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Calgary Stampeder Grey Cup Champion, Rocco Romano, right, waves to the crowds the Grey Cup during the 2019 Calgary Stampede parade. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

With files from The Canadian Press