The Greatest Show on Earth continues as the Calgary Stampede 2019 delivers a massive event within the city. I was able to attend a day during their toonie Tuesday, and take in the general event. For some additional context, I’ve lived in the city essentially my whole life and believe I’ve always attended.
I know the traditional structuring, and am able to easily see tweaks to the formula. This is an interesting year as there’s a Stranger Things 3 integration and some of the party opportunities in tents are now more pushed towards the edges of the event. I took in a lot of what the show has to offer, but obviously wasn’t able to do everything. That aside, tried my best to cover it all in this review.
When it comes to rides the included options generally are the same as the year previous, a few have that Stranger Things 3 decoration to them. I did notice they appear to have spread out the rides more. It seemed like there was more space around each of them, and the setup felt a bit off in general. It wasn’t bad, it was just generally different. I would have personally placed the big drop of doom better, as the line-up when busy extends into a really crowded traffic area that leads into the Big Four. It should be noted that rides are not free with your entry.
Speaking of the Big Four building, they’ve done an excellent job with the higher tier adult area. It looks fantastic with well strung lights for a good atmospheric mood and great seating. It’s designed for various concerts, and daily lounging with air conditioning. It’s just a generally great spot to visit, very happy with how that turned out. The lower area is about the same as usual, small drinking section and the past larger drinking section is now a kid’s play type area. The food areas seem largely the same as usual, I tried one of the new food items. I had the pizza perogies, wasn’t blown away by those quite honestly. The deep fried oreos were about the same, I enjoy them. I plan on having the Butterbeer in my upcoming visit.
The Saddledome is very quiet this year, last year it had really cheap adult drinks so that’s disappointing. The market area seems much more crowded this year, with seemingly less booths. It’s certainly busy, and a new play type area is in the middle of the market. There’s also an art area in the far back, I usually visit it each year but wasn’t feeling it this time around. The Coke Stage area features a number of artists throughout the event’s run, that section feels similar to usual so nothing new there. It’s still generally solid in that spot. The new kid’s ride area was always packed, didn’t venture there as so many people were present.
Overall I found it to be another year for the show and that’s fine. You know what you’re getting if you’ve gone in the past, I did really love the new upstairs Big Four area. The ride layout could have been better, but it’s fine and about the same. The addition of Stranger Things 3 was neat, felt that could have been a single neat themed setup however. There are a ton of things to do during the day while there. There are many rides, games to play and side activities.
There are a number of free things to take in like motorcycles, or the dogs that compete. The latter of which I gave up on a bit after the Super Dogs show ended years back. If you’ve never been, this is a defining activity for the city. It’s definitely worth visiting for the entry price considering what you can do, and what’s present. Read our review of Stranger Thing 3 integration below, or check out the city hub for additional coverage on local event and establishments.
Read our Stranger Things 3 at Stampede Review
View our Calgary Hub