Calgary Stampede Parade to march in a new direction

Swing your partner 'round and 'round, and turn your corner upside down. The iconic Stampede Parade is reversing direction.

Officials announce July 7 parade will follow the same route but in reverse direction

Calgary Stampede board chair and president David Sibbald, centre, with the world famous Stampede Showband at Tuesday's announcement. (Mike Spenrath/CBC)

Swing your partner 'round and 'round, and turn your corner upside down.

The iconic Calgary Stampede Parade is reversing direction.

Kicking off July 7 at Ninth Avenue and First Street S.E., this year's parade will head west to 10th Street S.W., where it will turn north to Sixth Avenue S.W. then east to Third Street S.E.

Stampede goers will also get free admission to the world famous grounds until 1:30 p.m. on parade day.

"The Stampede is now, and always will be, a gathering place for the community to celebrate western traditions and enjoy western hospitality with friends, family and guests," said David Sibbald, president and chair of the Calgary Stampede board.

"Today is about an invitation to come watch the iconic Stampede parade travelling in a reverse direction on the same route. Make a day of it, come down to the park."

This year's Calgary Stampede Parade will follow the usual route, but do it in the reverse direction. (Calgary Stampede)

The sheer size of the parade was part of the reason for the change, said parade committee chair Michael Wetherup.

"The parade today has such a large footprint. Just imagine all the floats, the bands, our four-legged friends, all the participants and all the space it takes to form that up, and we occupy that space for a full two days," he said.

"So this year, we're moving our form up area to the south end of the East Village, which will allow us to lessen our impact on the congestion and the residential part of the community."

The change has been in the works for three years, said Wetherup.

The 105th Calgary Stampede Parade, which draws hundreds of thousands each year, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. on July 7.

With files from Mike Spenrath