Everyone loves a parade and today is the day for the Calgary Stampede Parade.
We start our day much to early by getting up at 6am…We are on a 2 month vacation, we shouldn’t be getting up at this hour. To add insult to injury, it is only 10 degrees Celsius at this hour… brrrrrr.
We have a quick breakfast at the hotel, then we walk over to the C-Train station and purchase our day pass and board the train.
This station is the first stop or the last stop on the line, depending on which way you are travelling. So even though it is the first stop, we got the last 2 seats, so we are ok, but at every stop on the way downtown, more and more people try to cram in. I wouldn’t want to be standing all the way to the downtown.
When we arrived downtown the whole train emptied out and we walked the short distance to our Parade Bleacher Seats. It was well worth the investment to pre-purchase these seats, otherwise you would never have found a decent place to view the parade.
I am just going to post a few photos in this blog, but if you want to see all the photos from todays parade, you can find them on my FLICKR site. There are over 400 photos and videos, so be patient till I get a chance to upload them all.
Here are some to get you started.
There were over 130 entries in the parade and it lasted just over 2 hours.
The parade was 2 miles long, and with all the horses in the parade, the city did a good job of interspersing decorated street sweepers throughout the parade to clean up the droppings.
This is going to be a long blog if I keep adding parade photos, so I will just add a few more.
The one entry that Karen and I both especially enjoyed was this guy riding the bull. Everyone else was riding horses, he was the only one riding a bull.
Once the parade was over we went to a small cafe for a bite of lunch and I texted our friends Don and Shirley to see about getting together for a visit. Don and Shirley are staying in their motorhome which they drove from Midland Ontario, they are with a large organized group of other motorhomes and all of their events are scheduled and pre planned, but we knew they had some spare time after the parade so it was a good time to meet up and chat.
Don and Shirley had passes for the Stampede Grounds and they wanted to go and see some of the events taking place at the Saddledome, so we thought we would tag along and pay the entrance fee to get in. However the crowds of people waiting for the C-Train from the downtown area out to the Stampede Grounds were all over crowded and the lineups to get on the trains were long, people were cutting the line and jostling for position.
I came up with an alternate plan, which involved getting on a comparably empty C-Train heading in the opposite direction of the Stampede Park and riding that out of the downtown core, then getting off and re-boarding one coming back into the downtown core and on to Stampede Park. Don and Shirley did not want to part from their group though, so Karen and I headed off.
When we made it to the Stampede Grounds, the line up to purchase entry tickets had to be 500 people long, just crazy. We found Don and Shirley and their group, but they already had pre paid tickets as part of their group tour package, so they were able to go right in, but there was no way Karen or I were going to stand in line to purchase tickets. By that time we were pretty much exhausted, remember we have been up since 6am. The crowds were starting to get to us, so we decided to forget about Stampede Park for today and just head back to our hotel.
Tomorrow we have pre paid purchased tickets for the Stampede Grounds, so that will be our day to get inside the grounds. I also suspect it won’t be so crowded. When there is already 500,000 people downtown and the parade had ended, all those people immediately headed for the Stampede Grounds, that won’t be the case tomorrow… I hope not anyways.
On the walk back to our hotel from the C-Train Station we stopped at a CO-OP Grocery Store and picked up a few things we needed.
Tomorrow we can sleep in, Yaa Hooo
Here are a few more photos from todays parade.
To see all of today photos you can find them on my FLICKR site.