Thousands of eager parade goers gather downtown to kick off the Calgary Stampede

Ninth Avenue was packed with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds on July 8 for the Calgary Stampede parade, an annual celebration to kick off the self-styled "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth."

The parade featured floats, dancers, music and entertainment from across cultures and borders, offering an upbeat, colourful spectacle for anyone watching. Among the many faces in the this year’s parade were Mayor Naheed Nenshi on horseback sporting the signature white cowboy hat, several MPs and MLAs, and Calgary-born musicians Jann Arden and Paul Brandt, who acted as parade co-marshals.

Floats were judged in several categories, such as best local entry, or best western themed entry. Parade viewers could vote for their favourites by sending a text message to a certain number.

First responders to the Fort McMurray wildfires were also given a special place in the parade, and many in the crowd could not resist shaking hands or hugging the men and women who were on the frontlines in the fight to save that city from flames.

The parade, while quite the spectacle, is only the beginning of the 10 days of Stampede celebrations, and things just get wilder from here.

Photos by Jodi Brak, Deanna Tucker and Michaela Ritchie. 

Published on July 8, 2016.


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Without missing a beat, the Calgary Stetson Show Band marched through the Calgary Stampede Parade twirling batons and flags to the tune of their massive marching band July 8. Photo by Jodi Brak