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Calgary buzzing with Stampede kickoff just days away: ‘It’s so exciting’

The first full Calgary Stampede since the pandemic officially gets underway Friday and many in the downtown core are feeling the buzz.

“The whole Calgary gets excited about it and everyone is drawing on their business windows and everyone is so eager to go there,” says international student Lily Tuigunova.

Tuigunova is originally from Kirgizstan and is now in Calgary for school. She says she’s never been to Stampede, but is excited to go this year.

“I actually want to see the rodeo show,” she says. “It’s fun. It’s the world’s biggest, so it’s exciting to see.”

Calgary’s biggest summer event is known to attract visitors worldwide. After two years of restrictions and limitations, officials with Calgary Tourism expect to see visitor numbers return to those seen pre-pandemic.

“In some ways, the city really wants this and this is really important for the city,” says Tourism Calgary marketing senior vice president Jeff Hessel.

“Our tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. This is a really great opportunity to get back to work.”

While Stampede has yet to officially begin, Hessel says you can already tell the season is here.

“Stampede buzz is just palpable here in Calgary. So exciting that we have a stampede coming back in full force this year,” says Hessel.

“You can really see it around the city. You see all the tents coming up all around the city with other events that are taking place. Lots of invitations and just lots of advertising for tons of musical events and all the artists coming into the city is really going to be again a really vibrant time of 10 days.”

One of the newest attractions at this year’s Stampede will be at Alberta Boot, which just relocated to its newest location on 10 Avenue in the city’s south end.

The local company officially returned to the Beltline on Tuesday with a new hybrid customer experience centre, which CEO Eytan Broder says will give guests a look at the boot-making process while also getting a lesson in Western heritage and culture.

“What better way than to come and see us handcrafting cowboy boots and Western roper boots in sort of an old school way using Goodyear welting?” says Broder.

“They can put on an apron, walk through the factory, even sit down and stamp leather with us and so on, so it’s going to be a really interesting tour.”

Tours at the Alberta Boot factory will be free to guests during Stampede.

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