Calgary Stampede parade is back with floats, bands and Kevin Costner
Last year's parade was forced to go virtual due to COVID-19
The Calgary Stampede parade is back in full force to kick off the city's biggest event of the year.
The parade was cancelled in 2020 and last year it was broadcast without any spectators in attendance due to the pandemic.
Stampede president and chairman, Steve McDonough, said last year's parade was still a chance for the city to celebrate.
However, this year's parade and ensuing 10 days of festivities is an opportunity to show what Calgary is made of.
"I think starting parade day, you're going to see all the colours, the sights, the smells and everything like that. That was one of the reasons for choosing such a iconic parade marshal," said McDonough.
Actor and director Kevin Costner will be leading the charge as the 2022 Parade Marshal, with his recent role on the award-winning television show Yellowstone serving as a nod to the Stampede's celebration of western culture.
"We want people to see what we're doing and we are relevant," said McDonough.
Costner will be among a lineup of 92 entries that include floats, marching bands and horses, bringing together more than 4,000 participants for the four hour performance.
Those parade will also showcase Calgary's relevance in a global context.
"The Ukrainian community will be marching in solidarity with their entry, 'Glory to Ukraine'," said Dwayne Spence, chair of the stampede parade committee.
"The consulate of Mexico in Calgary will be making their Stampede parade debut as well, collaborating with a beautiful, festive entry, and might be a must-have picture for this year's parade photograph."
However, Spence adds there will be more local Alberta bands than usual due to the pandemic creating obstacles for coordinating performers who would need to travel for the event.
The parade will begin July 8 at 9 a.m. along Ninth Avenue at Third Street S.E. and is expected to get to the midway point at 10th Street S.W. at 11 a.m.
From there, the march will head east along Sixth Avenue S.W. with a planned arrival at Stampede Park for 1 p.m.
Admission is free to the Calgary Stampede between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. the day of the parade.
With road closures in effect in the area, parade officials recommend spectators use Calgary Transit to get downtown.