The family I am staying with in Calgary took me and the kids to Spruce Meadows Equestrian Park, where they do show jumping. It was such a neat difference to see horse culture in a different way other than the very popular western riding seen at the Stampede. It was very classy and proper, and reminded me very much of the British movies where they show rich families. They also had big time celebrations for the Queen’s jubilee.
The Stampede Parade is somewhat of a chaotic spectacle in Calgary, this year attracting more than 400,000 people. We didn’t want to brave the crowds, so we headed to the Mini-Stampede at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. In my opinion it was so much better, because it was short and there were no crowds to brave!
I got to experience my first Stampede Breakfast. For 10 days during Stampede, places all around the city have free breakfasts! Isn’t that amazing?! They even have a website to help you find all of the breakfasts in the city. I had one at the lake in the family’s neighborhood, and at the church we go to.
The day before my birthday, the girls helped me to bake a lemon pound cake for birthday and hand-squeezed lemonade. Then I had my birthday when we had cut up sandwiches, veggies, fruit, and cake on Judith’s finest wedding china. Some family friends that I don’t know very well brought me cards, gifts, and flowers, so I felt very celebrated. Then the family took me out for dinner.
Then I took a weekend off and decided to go to Stampede with a friend on Saturday, for the 100th birthday celebration. We got there when the park opened so we could get grandstand tickets for the evening show. Then we wandered around the grounds and checked out the Agriculture exhibit, the animal stables, and met some of the RCMP horses and riders. The Grandstand show was amazing, featuring the Young Canadians performers and star guest Paul Brandt. For 15$, the tickets were well worth it! Then we watched the fireworks. This year the fireworks were a big deal because of the 100th anniversary. They had them at 5 different locations all over the city every night!