2016 Calgary Stampede Parade
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 musicians Jann Arden and Paul Brandt who acted as parade marshalls.
Floats were judged in several categories, such as best local entry, or best western themed entry, and 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.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi rode amidst the Calgary Stampede parade July 8 with a huge grin, tipping his white hat to the crowd along the way and encouraging everyone to get into the Stampede spirit. Photo by Jodi Brak
First responders to the Fort McMurray wildfires were guests of honour during the parade, and some in the crowd couldn’t help but show how grateful they were to the men and women who help Fort Mac residents live though a dire situation. Photo by Jodi Brak
Directly following the parade marshal vehicle, the first responders of the Fort McMurray Fires, led by Regional Wood Buffalo Fire Chief Darby Allen, were honoured with a special place in the procession. Their surprise appearance was met with a standing ovation and deafening cheers from the crowd. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
Paul Brandt served alongside Jann Arden as co-parade marshalls for the Stampede parade. Both of these iconic Canadian musicians hail from the Calgary area, making them prime candidates for the job. Photo by Deanna Tucker
A pair of Calgary Police Service officers salute a group of young cadets marching by in the parade, showing respect for the young men and women learning what it means to serve their country. Photo by Jodi Brak
Overcome by the sheer volume of the crowds’ cheering after having tipped his hat to them, co-marshal of the Stampede Parade Paul Brandt rises to his feet to greet his hometown with an emotional wave. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
This kind clown from Alberta Bike Swap was on hand with her crew during the pre-parade, answering any and all questions about bike safety that she could between wheelies. After stopping briefly for a photo, she raced off towards an obstacle course being set up for the cyclists in the street. “Oh my god!” she exclaimed as she sped away, “There’s a barrel! I love barrels!” Photo by Michaela Ritchie
Colourful, energetic displays of traditional Aboriginal dance and culture were a big part of the parade, with members of several First Nations communities showcasing their rich heritage, including this hoop dancer performing along to the music of a small group of drummers. Photo by Jodi Brak
A pair of drummers who sang and kept rhythm for the aboriginal dancers during the parade, showcasing the rhythm and singing of their culture alongside the traditional dance. Photo by Deanna Tucker
Along with the easily recognizable hoop dances and traditional drumming audiences have come to know and love over the years at the Stampede parade, the prelude to the festivities also included traditional eagle dancing, a display that emphasizes graceful, sweeping arm movements, accented by wing-like beaded regalia. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
A group of Ukranian dancers showcased their grace and acrobatics to an eager crowd during the prelude to the parade. The group danced along to traditional music and spun around the street in individual, paired and large group dances. Photo by Jodi Brak
Dancers and drummers from the Yakthung Chumlung Association of Calgary helped entertain crowds in a pre-parade display at the intersection of 9th Avenue and 6th Street, where an intricate circular dance was performed for patient, but eager, onlookers. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
The parade featured displays from many cultures that call Calgary home, with music, dance and costumes from around the world being showcased to parade viewers. Photo by Jodi Brak
Oblivious to the danger or simply un-phased, this young lady rode through the parade standing atop her horse, even turning around occasionally to bow to the crowd. Photo by Jodi Brak
It's not often that Ninth Avenue is this empty of traffic, but to kick off the Stampede much of downtown traffic was shut down for the morning of July 8 to accomodate the parade. Photo by Deanna Tucker
Although an estimated 200,000 spectators flooded the 9th Avenue sidewalks to catch a glimpse of the parade, that didn’t stop the masses from finding unique ways to get comfortable and relax in the limited space. “Let’s kick it up,” this pair of patrons laughed as they posed in their highly coveted seats. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
The Canadian Forces had a massive marching section in the parade, and a few eager soldiers hopped into the crowd to high five, hug and take photos with the crowd. Photo by Jodi Brak
Young and old alike took part in the parade, with many youngsters joining friends or family in the parade to kick off the Calgary Stampede. Photo by Jodi Brak
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
The Chinook Country Line Dancers were one of the first to show off their moves during the 2016 parade, dancing to popular line dancing tunes such as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's classic Fishin' in the Dark. Photo by Deanna Tucker
In a colourful display of cultural grace, several dance groups took part in the parade, spinning in their flowing dresses to the beat of Latin music. Photo by Jodi Brak
Following in the wake of the Calgary Round-Up Band, a group of young baton twirlers juggled their colourful props with great skill. Photo by Jodi Brak
This Stampede entertainer moved up and down the street during the parade showing off his skills performing tricks with a whip, among other western themed props. Photo by Deanna Tucker
A Falun Dafa drummer smiles wide as he enthusiastically beats in time with his fellow ambassadors. Members of the organization marched in three separate floats, this particular group all in silken yellow uniforms. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
Among the many groups marching in the parade were many marching bands, varying in size from modest groups of around 10 musicians to massive ensembles numbering close to 100 with a full group of dancers in tow. Photo by Deanna Tucker
Members of Calgary’s Arabian Horse Association decked out their stallions in intricate tasseled saddles, with each rider donning a matching traditional robe. Far from the Western tack parade-goers have grown accustomed to seeing displayed in the Stampede Parade, this float was just one of many to offer up a uniquely visual cultural feast to patrons. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
The Lakeside Lutheran High School marching band, hailing from Lake Mills, Wis., travelled quite a distance to be a part of the Stampede parade. Partway through their march, the whole group split in two and each moved to play right next to the crowd. Photo by Jodi Brak
A bevy of cultural associations brought out their best dancers to flaunt during the parade, each equal mesmerizing in their own way. The Spanish were particularly colourful, making sure audiences caught every angle of their elaborate gowns by twirling down the street in an almost ceaseless fashion. Photo by Michaela Ritchie
Even the City of Calgary street cleaners that appeared at intervals between floats to polish the roadway had taken the time to decorate their vehicles with a variety of animals from horses, to cows, and even buffalo. Photo by Michaela Ritchie