This year I finally took the girls down to the Stampede Parade. I figured they were finally old enough to be patient and wait for it to start and wouldn't cause me to grow multiple ulcers and I was right.
We left our house just after 5am and made our way to the Bridlewood/Somerset station to make our way downtown. Since we were traveling by the train, I decided to forego the chairs and use the pavement for sitting. Greg came with us and got off the train before us and went into his office. He told me to get off at 8th forgetting that when going in this direction, it stops at 7th not 8th and unfortunately I didn't notice this until after the fact and so we had to take the train to Sunnyside, get off of it, cross the tracks and then hop back on the train going back downtown where we then got off at 8th street. We were meeting some friends on 6th Ave and 9th street so we made our way there.
We got to our meeting spot around 6:15am. There was the group you see behind the girls and as soon as i put down our stuff, there were a ton of people behind me as I took this photo. Thankfully I used backpacks and stuff to save the spots for our friends until they arrived. Despite the forecast calling for another super hot day, it was still quite chilly that early in the morning and so the girls were curled up in our picnic blanket while we waited for the sun to get higher and warm us all up. If nothing else, I learned that my girls have got the sleeping on the sidewalks down pat if they should ever become homeless.
Soon our friends arrived and the people to the left of us shared their sidewalk chalk with us and kept the kids busy while we waited for the parade to start. The circles in the middle of the road were targets for horse poop. Whatever kept them occupied haha. They also have like pre-parade entertainment which the kids also enjoyed. One of the performers was the daughter of one of my friends with her dance troop, the girls loved watching that.
All the kids just before the parade started. They were all pretty happy considering how early they all had to be up plus Finley had soccer practice the night before and didn't get to sleep as early as I would have liked.
Finally the parade kicked off and nothing says Calgary Stampede Parade like the Stampede Marching Band. They reversed the order this year, so instead of starting on 6th ave and making it's way to the 9th, it started on 9th and moved to 6th and eventually to the Stampede grounds. The parade started at 9am and got to us around 9:42am. We kept having large breaks in the parade as they had to stop for the c-train to get through which was slightly annoying.
Part of the group of parade marsalls this year. The Calgary Stampede chose to have the Chiefs of all the local first nations bands as the parade marshals. They had to been dying in this heat on the road for so long. Hopefully they stayed hydrated.
Mayor Nenshi riding and waving! We (mostly me) was excited to see him!!
I love the bag pipes and there 2 bag pipe entries into the parade this year.
Every 30 - 40 minutes or so, street cleaners would come through and clean up poop and it wasn't very good. It smelled even worse with it being cleaned haha.
This was my favourite float of the day by a long shot. My second runner up is coming later in this blog post and an honourable mention goes to Kelowna's entry with their ogopogo float. It was just before this float that Greg joined us at our parade stop after his meeting ended. This was his favourite too.
The Shriners had a really big entry this year and the coolest had to be their little airplanes that they drove around. The girls really loved these. They also had mini cars, mini vintage cars and motorbikes I think. They always look like they are having so much fun out there.
This was part of the Heritage Park entry which, outside of this, was not that exciting. Thankfully this made up for it hahah. The YMCA had a cool float that was blaring the YMCA song and nobody on the float or around it was doing the actions but Finley + Saydee were and someone from the float saw them and ran over to give them highfives and they were very excited by this.
They also got a TON of high fives from all the soldiers in the parade and they really loved that.
The Canadian Military also brought a bunch of military vehicles which was a huge hit for everybody! Everybody loved these - especially this one when it spun it self around in circles and left burn out marks on the road. After the parade we went for lunch and the girls talked about how this was their favourite and they drove by the restaurant on the way back to wherever the vehicles come from.
Kent Hehr was his own float in the parade - man can he motor on his wheelchair. We sat just down from his constituent office. We are big fans of his.
Studio Bell had my second favourite float of the day. This was so cool and original and looked like they put a lot of work into it. A lot of the floats looked like they were just thrown together and for the most part, lacked creativity.
The Calgary Flames had a float in the parade but Johnny Gaudreau was on the other side of us so we couldn't get a good photo so I stole this one from the Calgary Flames InstaStory. We are huge fans of Johnny Hockey in our family.
After the parade, Greg and the girls and I went for lunch at the Street Eatery before he went back to work and we made the journey back to suburbia. This restaurant is quite small but fabulously decorated. I loved the mural in this photo and their are tons of windows for people watching downtown which I love to do.
Greg had the pork belly lettuce wraps which he really liked while both girls had chicken fingers and fries. I had the dish shown above which was a korean spicy pork belly rice bowl. The interesting thing about it was the rice and pork belly had no flavour on its own but the vegetables were so spicy that my whole mouth, lips and stomach burned. Greg tried mine and said his was less spicy and the pork belly was more flavourful so if you ever find yourself there order his meal, not mine.
Soon we said good bye to Greg, who headed back to work and we made our way back to the 8th street train station which turned out to be such a nightmare. They had more people needing to use the train then they had trains available. Eventually though we made it home but it did take us over an hour. Despite transit issues, I still would use the c-train when going to the parade next year too. We had a lot of fun and hope to continue this until the girls are too cool to go with me to the parade haha.