The second week in July means different things to everyone. To me, it's the time when the city I live in is overrun with tourists and locals alike donning cowboy hats clumsily two-stepping their way around town. To visitors, the Calgary Stampede
is the real deal: a place where the old west meets consumer culture and the result is non-stop fun. To us locals, Stampede
is a time when gals have an excuse to wear barely-there mini jean skirts (aka Skankpede
), when everything's more expensive (aka Scampede
) and when the rich executives wander through the midday streets more drunk and obnoxious than usual (aka drunkpede
Sure, it's usually a good time, but it's so commercialized
. When did we get away from what Stampede is really about: agriculture, rodeo, chuckwagons and good old-fashioned square dances?
Fortunately, Southern Alberta offers many more authentic (and affordable) ways to get in touch with your inner cowboy, like:
- Bar U Ranch: Once important ranch-turns-National Historic Site
- Glenbow Museum: Yeah, it's a museum, but it's a cool one, especially their Western exhibits.
- Fort MacLeod : The birthplace of ranching in Alberta; a place full of small-town charm
- The Great Canadian Barn Dance : Three words: Kunkel Family Band. Yee haw!
- The Cowboy Trail: Also known as highway 22 -- the convergence of mountain foothills and prairie makes this one of the most scenic drives around. Now, imagine doing it on a horse.
Check out Travel Alberta
for more cowboy inspiration.
Filed under: Festivals and Events, Canada