Lovely Girl’s Guide to Stampede 2016

Country girls at heart, Stampede is our Christmas. There is something about this time of year that makes us giddy (and it’s not only due to the influx of bearded cowboys invading the city) but that everywhere you turn, people are embracing their not-so-country roots.

Heading into our third Stampede, we’ve got the basics down pat. If you’ve got your straw hat, cut-off shorts and plaid shirt tied around your waist (a la Bey) ready to go,  here’s where we will be seeing you:

Catch a Glimpse of the Stampede Parade: The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth kicks off with a downtown parade that will have Jann Arden and Paul Brandt as Parade Marshals. The show begins at 7:30 a.m. but goes on for a number of hours. We’re not under the age of 10 or huge “parade goers” so we like to catch a glimpse of some of the floats (preferably those with princesses, hockey players or firefighters) and photo of the action.

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Stampede Parade

Dance on stage at Cowboy’s: This tent is likely the most popular venue during Stampede. If you’re not going to Stampede grounds, Cowboys is a good option as you won’t need to pay admission fees to the park to attend. This tent gets full-ish pretty early so if you’re planning to arrive after 4-5 p.m. you’ll likely need/want to buy a Chute Pass so you’re not held in line for hours. Once you’ve consumed enough liquid courage, make sure you “sneak” your way onto the stage…all the basics do it. You may even get to dance with a bouncer.

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Dancing with a bouncer on Cowboys stage

Bet loonies at the Chuckwagon Races: According to Wikipedia, the first time chuckwagon races were held as a spectator sport was at the 1923 Calgary Stampede so there’s no surprise as to why this event is so popular. Add a little extra fun to this event by betting loonies with your friends (quarters, if you’re on a budget) on which wagon will win each round.

Save some money with a FREE Pancake Breakfast: To be a part of this, you need to be an early riser and if you are, you can eat for free for 10 days straight. But, realistically, your late night partying will hold you back so try to get you pancakes in early. You can find a calendar of pancakes breakfasts’ around the city here.

Ride the Cowboy Bull at Ranchman’s: Ranchman’s is known for many things- great music (that always includes Cadillac Ranch), awesome stage dancers and it’s mechanical bull. Show your skills off by riding a bucking animal and outlasting your friends on the bull. Remember to wear pants/shorts, but if you’re dedicated to your dress wear really cute bottoms as you’ll be sure to put on a show.

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Bull riding at Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall

Catch a Show at Nashville North: Watching a show at Nashville is one of our favourite venues as they have a nice, big stage and bring in some great performers. This year they will welcome High Valley, Tim Hick’s, Aaron Pritchett and more. Last year, we saw Jason Blaine and he took our iPhone and took a selfie while on stage- definitely a 2015 highlight!

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Jason Blaine seconds before he grabbed our phone to take a selfie

Gain a few pounds eating Midway Food: If you’re trying to rock cut-off shorts and crop tops, this may not be your scene. However, the food at Stampede is ridiculous so you might as well suck in your gut for a night and indulge in this food that you can only find once (if ever) a year. This years line-up includes Oreo Churros, Deep Fried Tequila Shot Bites, The Godfather Mac & Cheese, Poutine Corn Dogs, Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burgers, Garlic Parmesan Poutine, and much, much more.

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Mini donut poutine

What did we miss? what will you be adding to your Stampede itinerary? Let us know!

xo, late & lovely

P.S. It’s not “YeeHaw”, it’s “Yahoo”

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