Stampede 101 introduces newcomers to the 'Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth'
'It's to help them nurture that connection to Calgary,' Immigrant Services Calgary co-ordinator says
A group of newcomers in northeast Calgary learned Thursday all about the event that bills itself as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth" — and how to take part in what will be, for many of them, their first Stampede.
Called Stampede 101, the event was held by the Calgary Stampede and Immigrant Services Calgary at the Marlborough Community Association.
It featured lessons including how to wear a belt buckle, the difference between a yeehaw and a yahoo, and a rundown on this year's midway menus.
"I've never seen so many varieties of international and Canadian food combined — fried," said Sergio Rivas, who is from Chile and came to Calgary two months ago.
"I'm looking forward to everything."
'Sense of belonging'
Stampede 101 started during the pandemic, and 2022 represents the first year it has been held in person instead of online.
That meant in-classroom visits from Stampede mascot Harry the Horse, Stampede Princess Jenna Peters and First Nations Princess Sikapinakii Low Horn.
It's intended to be a primer for the Stampede. Rebeca Andrada, an outreach co-ordinator with Immigrant Services Calgary, says it helps new Calgarians feel included and connected.
"It's to help them nurture that connection to Calgary, that connection to the city, and to grow that sense of belonging," Andrada said.
Marcela Aquea had been to the Stampede before the pandemic, but said she hadn't known a lot of what she learned at the session.
"It was wonderful," Aquea said.
"I'm really looking forward to taking my children, so they can see all the animals and they can experience the parade and be part of this beautiful event."
The 2022 Calgary Stampede kicks off on July 8.
With files from Dan McGarvey