It’s about that time of year, when thoughts turn to the upcoming world renowned Calgary Stampede. We experienced it for the first time last year and are definitely looking forward to it this year. The kids are coming for it, too, so that makes it doubly exciting!

We started things off right last year with the Calgary Stampede Parade, which wends its way from East Village up into the center of downtown and back to the Stampede grounds. This year, the route will be a little different: starting near the Stampede grounds and ending near East Village. Last year, it was tough. Once the parade had passed us at the beginning, it was hard to get to the Stampede grounds because the parade was still continuing on the second half, which blocked access to the grounds. This new routing will free up the streets so that people can get to the Stampede grounds without having to wait to cross the parade or go way out of the way to bypass the parade. Good call, planners.

We were fortunate to get tickets to sit in the bleachers just at the start of the parade, but the entire route was lined with people sitting and standing, young and old, in rows several people deep. The stands were an excellent option for first-time viewing.

If you love horses, the Calgary Stampede Parade is definitely for you! Horses of all shapes and sizes, decorated or geared up for work. Marvelous!

Along with the horses, there were numerous bands, all of which stopped to play right in front of us, another great advantage to having those seats.

The military and police also marched, a site that always stirs me.

My favorites, though, were the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), or Mounties.

The Shriners went higher tech: as well as driving their little cars and airplanes, they rode Segways!

And there was even a contingent of farm equipment.

Oddly enough, we even saw a float from Vulcan.

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The parade lasted about three hours and was definitely worth every minute. If you ever get the chance, go see the Calgary Stampede Parade.