Monday, July 8, 2013

Calgary Stampede 2013 and Post Flood Pics

The Calgary Stampede is pretty much an annual visit for me and my family.  If I can visit, I do so.  I actually lived for a few years when I was a kid just across the street from the old front gate where the LRT platform on 17th Avenue is now.  Way back then I'd watch the nightly fireworks by just stepping outside onto the front sidewalk of the family restaurant that my parents operated.  I've always liked Stampede and I have to say that this is one event that most of the city gets behind to support in some form.  All the businesses and malls put up western themed decorations, there are free Stampede breakfasts, and dress codes become casual.  Everyone dresses up in cowboy attire or at least a pair of jeans and if they have a cowboy hat, then they are wearing it.  There are people who hate the crowds and don't like the event, but I'm not one of them.
Front Gate Area with Bronco Rider
Stampede Midway
The Stampede started out as a rodeo over 100 years ago (101 years this year) and grew to be an agricultural and livestock show along with a carnival that visits once a year.  There are carnies with prizes to win from, midway rides for the brave or those with stomachs of iron, and there is country music and dancing and drinking and partying and all that.  You can pick what you want to see and do.  I like to try a few fairground foods every year like mini-donuts, potato chips on a stick, and CORN DOGS!  Lots of high calorie food to try.  This year I visited on the slightly stormy Saturday on the opening weekend.

Carney Game Prizes
Ring Toss Game - where do they get glass bottles?
Corn Dogs!
Mini Donuts!
Chips on a stick!
There is also an art galley with tons of western and contemporary art.  Wine bar too!
This year Calgary had the worst flooding in modern memory.  The flooding was so bad that pretty much most of the Stampede grounds and a massive chunk of downtown Calgary was flooded.  Just two weeks later, an army of volunteers and heavy equipment from contractors cleaned up the grounds so the Stampede could be held.  The fair attracts about 1,000,000 people a year and it would be a blow to the local economy if it couldn't be held.  There are also a fair number of international visitors who come for the Stampede and a visit to the Canadian Rockies / Banff / Lake Louise which are only an hour and a half outside the city.

I was also curious as to how some of the areas looked like post-flood near the Stampede and did just a little walking around to see what state things were in.
This street Macleod Trail up to the hill was under a foot or two of water.
Macleod Trail looking north towards City Hall was again under water.
People are still tearing up their flood damaged basements and main floors.
You can see several inches of mud from the river in this alley.  There were pump trucks operating even when I was taking the photos on the opening weekend of Stampede.
Restaurant that was water damaged.
The cleanup job was pretty amazing with plenty of muck removed.  Plenty to do still.  There were also places on the ground that were spray painted to indicate they were slumping and I hear there were sink holes appearing in some places.

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