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Crowds pack Calgary Stampede for family day festivities despite heat


Families flocked to the Calgary Stampede on Sunday experiencing hot temperatures on the midway.

Stampede Park was packed as visitors dealt with temperatures nearing 30 C. Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a heat warning for a large chunk of Alberta, including the city of Calgary.

But the heat didn’t deter visitors from taking advantage of family day festivities and the Stampede has plans in place to help people beat the heat.

“Planning for Stampede in general addresses all sorts of weather and that includes heat,” says Kerrie Blizard, Calgary Stampede Director of Public Safety and Environment.

“We have misting stations, we have water refill stations and our depth and breadth of programming allows for opportunities that our guests can spend both indoors and outdoors.”

Admission was free until 11 a.m., and once inside the park, families could indulge in a free pancake breakfast and variety show.

“We’re trying to serve 20,000 people which equates to about 40,000 pancakes,” said Mark Erion, the chair of the Stampeded Breakfast and Events Committee.

About 300 volunteers helped pull off the breakfast.

“We think that family is important and we celebrate it,” said Elizabeth Burke-Gaffney, who is on the Calgary Stampede Board of Directors.

Abbie Burke travelled from England with her two children and her husband while her mother and father-in-law came up from Texas for the Stampede.

“I think because we haven’t had to buy admission, we have allowed the children to do more rides and we have been down the midway. My son has been trying to win a Pokémon, so it has been fantastic,” Burke said.

Admission is free again for everyone from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, while seniors (65+) and military veterans get free admission all day and are invited to enjoy free coffee and donuts in the BMO Plaza until 11 a.m.

Animal care in the heat

The mercury is expected to be in the 30s until mid-week which also has the Stampede working to ensure they are safe in these temperatures.

There are a number of different animals on part and they are involved in a number of different activities.

“A lot of them are showcase animals which are indoors and in barns which we are keeping cool with air conditioning they aren't engaged in competition so they are in a very calm atmosphere,” says Kristina Barnes, Calgary Stampede Director of Agriculture and Western Events.

On days when it’s this hot, staff is focussed on the animals involved in the rodeo events and the chuckwagon races.

“With rodeo the animals come in in the morning pre-rodeo they aren’t on park for very long they have access to water immediately post competition,” says Barnes.

The chuck wagon horses are relaxing in their barns with big cooling fans.

“ A lot of the drivers will have misters in their barns. They will be warmed up to race after they race they get a cool down shower. They get nice cooling leg wraps if it’s determined that they need those.”

All the animals have access to water and are vet checked regularly throughout the day. Top Stories

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