The 2017 Calgary Stampede officially began on Friday with the parade and thousands of people settled in on the sidelines to soak up the sun and kick off the festivities.

The parade got underway at 9:00 a.m. and this year it changed direction. The procession started at 9th Avenue and 1st Street S.E. and then headed west before turning down 10th street and onto 6th Avenue S.W.

According to the Calgary Police Service, the parade drew an estimated crowd of 275,000.

The midway and attractions opened at Stampede Park at 11:00 a.m. and admission was free until 1:30 p.m.

For more information on the 2017 Calgary Stampede click HERE