The headlines have been loud and clear this year: corporate bookings are down, office parties aren’t as big as they used to be, and stampeding is likely to take on a quieter tone.
But you still want to get your ride on, right? From cheap ways to check out the chucks, to limitless ways to eat for free for 10 days, you can still stampede and save money, here’s how to get it done:
This time of year, the grocery stores are stocked with specially marked packs of Coke with coupons for free admission on them.
Costco offers $50 worth of Stampede bucks for $40, which can be used on things like admission, rides, games, parking, rodeo tickets and food.
Get Ride & Play cards at Safeway & Sobeys and pay $37.85 for sixty coupons or a Ride All Day Wristband.
Head to Mac’s to pick up 2 general admission tickets and a couple of cokes for $27.
Parking on site is $25. Take transit (you can get discounted transit passes during Stampede). Or try out those fancy bike lanes everyone has been talking about.
Suncor Family Day – July 10 – free admission 6-9am, free grandstand show, free pancake breakfast for first 20 000.
Western Heritage Day – July 12 – free admission for seniors over 65 all day, free coffee and pastries on Saddledome steps, free rodeo and evening show standing room tickets available
BMO Kids Day – July 13 – Free admission for kids under 12 and accompanying adults 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. There’s also a free pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to – 9:30 a.m. and a free grandstand show from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
With so much free entertainment on the grounds from bands like Simple Plan and The Sheepdogs on the Coke-Cola stage to the acrobats, the dogs, and just people watching, the biggest expense for a day at the Stampede is food. So bring your own. The new Enmax Park is a great green space to stretch out and explore, on the grounds. Stuff a backpack with some snacks or pull a wagon with your provisions around and you’ll avoid the high ticket midway prices.
If you don’t jump on the midway ride deals listed above in advance, skip them. Seriously. For what you pay in one day at the Stampede, you could have an entire summer of riding at Calaway Park. Go there instead.
Reserved rodeo tickets can be expensive (starting at $40 each). Standing room tickets aren’t (starting at $14), and the huge tarmac is a great place to get close to the action. Standing room tickets are sold on the day of the show. You must be at the Grandstand ticket office or BMO Centre ticket office before 11:00 a.m. on the day of the show that you wish to attend. There’s only a limited number of tickets go on sale each day, so arrive early.
To efficiently get around the grounds, and hit all the stuff for free, make sure you load up the official Stampede app and set up an itinerary before you go.
On site, BMO customers can use their BMO debit or BMO MasterCard to get 15% discounts at the Stampede Stores.
There is free food all over Calgary. And you can eat it. A few years back, Jamie Bater vowed to eat only free Stampede food for 10 days. Could you do it? Grab the Flapjack Finder app to get started on the breakfasts near you.
The Stampede fireworks go off after the Grandstand Show each night during the fair at 11. You can see them around town from Ramsey to Hillhurst.
During the Calgary Stampede, the city is dressed up with windows painted for the week, and people are dressed up in cowboy hats, jeans, and western wear. It’s like Christmas in July.
It’s about the spirit of the Stampede more than the Stampede grounds, so head off to Fluor Rope Square, find a free pancake breakfast in a community near you, and just say Howdy, or Yahoo to someone new and you’ve experienced the Calgary Stampede.
Daily Hive Calgary is a proud media sponsor of the Calgary Stampede