The Stampede is here in Cowtown and I have to admit we get excited about it.  We don’t spend the whole 10 days celebrating though.  We did 4 days and now I feel like it’s all over and keep finding it strange that the city is still talking about it!

There are a couple events we like to do every year.  The CBC Breakfast is tradition.  This happens before Stampede so it’s less busy than other events and loads of fun for the kids.  Their favorite part is seeing Harry the Horse.  He’s always there and it’s always easy to see him and shake his hand.  It’s great that that’s all it takes to make their day!  And the coffee is always great which is an added bonus for adults!

We also host our own breakfast with the neighbours.  It’s quite easy and so fun.  We pull out the coleman stove and cook up pancakes and precook bacon and scrambled eggs and re-heat them as people arrive.  This year I painted the front window:

This was such a fun thing to do with the kids!  We used:

dry-erase markers to draw the outline

crayola washable paint for the rest

The paint looks like it goes on very thin but it doesn’t matter – it still looks amazing on the outside.  How well does it wash off, you ask?  VERY easily!  I used a wet cloth to wipe it all off and then finished with some windex and it took all of 10 minutes – no elbow grease required.  I now know how I will decorate the windows for holidays.  This year a let the kids play with water guns and put out some paper cups to try to hit – unfortunately the weather decided to bring some wind to challenge the kids!  The big hit was the horse we made.  We took a metal saw horse and covered it with a blanket and stuck in a horse head.  It hadn’t planned for the kids to ride it but they were all waiting for turns to sit on it.

We also headed down to the parade.  It’s always busy at the parade but this year was crazy!  Everyone wanted to see the prince and princess and we had 3 little girls who were very excited.  Sadly they passed so quickly but the crowd reaction was priceless and everyone stood stunned and asked which can it was.  We did get a photo of the “hand” and that lit up the girls eyes.  The parade didn’t disappoint and the kids enjoyed it so much.

Calgary Transit was what ruined our day with a bus wait of 1 1/2 hours even though 3 buses had been expected (and yes we were at the right bus stop).  We eventually hopped on another bus and walked 20 minutes home with 4 hungry and tired preschoolers – not cool!

Sunday we headed to the grounds.  I have to admit I don’t do this every year nor do I think I will in the future.  It is exhausting!  The kids want to do everything, you end up spending more money that you planned and there’s always whining.  But with friends in town we made it a big trip and had a blast.  We headed down Family Day and arrived before 9 to get free admission.  We skipped the free breakfast since the lineup was around the entire park!  We got to the rides when they first opened so there weren’t any lineups which was great.  We don’t do rides normally but the kids really wanted to try some.  For $20 we got them on 2 rides each with Daddy jumping on the rollercoaster too.

We then headed to the barns to check out the animals and then stopped in the Saddledome to watch the sheepdogs.  This was a great thing for the kids since they had recently seen “Babe” so actually seemed to understand what was going on.  Just a little tip if you’re headed from the SW to the grounds.  There’s a shuttle bus that leaves Mount Royal College that is SO convenient!  You simply park in their Lot 4 which is a Stampede Park & Ride lot and is free and then catch the bus on Richardson Road right by the entrance to Currie Barracks.  The bus arrives every 15 minutes and there were only a handful of people on it.  The kids were free to ride so for a total of $11 we got there and back with little trouble.

Instead of spending lots of money on “costumes” we picked up some cute hats at Zellers for $15 and the $12 backpacks that were a great souvenir for our visiting friends.  I also made skirts for the girls and they were so cute.  We were asked everywhere where we bought them.  I can’t take credit for them.  If you want to make some of your own check out Alpha Mom’s Talk Like a Pirate post for Bandana Skirts.  They were so easy to make and so stinkin’ cute!

Now we are pooped and looking for a relaxing summer.  We have one more camping trip booked and then it might just be a summer of vegging.  Happy Stampeding!