Canadian Geographic
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Calgary Stampede, The

Arts and entertainment

The Calgary Stampede hosts many local and global artists and entertainers over its 10-day celebration.

Since the Stampede’s creation, art has been an integral part of the festival. Artist Charlie Russell exhibited and sold his paintings at the 1912 Stampede and in 1919, Edward Borein designed the iconic “I-See-U” image for Stampede posters and illustrations. From the earliest exhibitions, paintings, crafts and needlepoint were entered into an annual exhibition competition.

From the 1930s to 1950s, the Stampede hosted the Alberta Society of Artists’ summer art shows, as well as touring exhibitions of photography and art from the National Gallery of Canada. Exhibitions of handicrafts and baking were incorporated into the Women’s World exhibition in 1971, which morphed into Creative Living to reflect a broader mandate that included an Art Show, Art Auction and other artisan features.

Today, more than 200 volunteers organize the exhibition, renamed Western Showcase in 1997. With its Western Art Show and Western Lifestyle Show, the showcase maintains a strong focus on education and promotion of Calgary's Western heritage, values and lifestyle through art, entertainment, exhibits and demonstrations.

Perhaps one of the most exciting events at the Stampede, the TransAlta Grandstand Show is a theatrical performance combining dance, music, acrobatics and pyrotechnics into one of the festival’s largest, most successful shows. The performances highlight youth talent from the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s Young Canadians School of Performing Arts.

Along with the many exciting shows during the 10-day event, the Stampede has become known for the concerts hosted in the Saddledome, Coca-Cola Stage and Nashville North. Over the years, notable entertainers include the Pendleton Band (1912), John Philip Sousa (1919), Roy Rogers (1962), Bob Hope (1976), and more recently the Barenaked Ladies, Kid Rock and Katy Perry.


This piece contains two videos relaying the arts and entertainment component of the Calgary Stampede. The first video discusses the Western Showcase and features a speed artist completing a painting. The second showcases some highlights from the Grandstand Show, one of the Calgary Stampede’s biggest draws.


On the next page:

Indian village

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Quiz :

What event marks the official opening of the Calgary Stampede?

The first chuchwagon race
The first rodeo
The parade