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No one said you couldn’t still celebrate the Calgary Stampede

For many Calgarians, the Calgary Stampede is more than just a 10-day event – it’s a lifestyle.

When the Stampede made their official announcement to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one Calgary decided he would find a way to keep the spirit alive.

“I live Stampede 365 (days a year) in my heart, so even though the event portion is canceled, I was like this is never going to be canceled for me,” said Ryan Massel – best known as Mr. Fabulous, the founder of immrfabulous.com

“We wait for Stampede right from the day it ends to next year, so we are always pumped for that.”

Stampeding within health guidelines

With rodeo, midway, concerts or off-grounds events this year, Massel decided to figure out a way to still celebrate within the AHS guidelines.

Massel kicked of his Stampede week with a pancake parade breakfast on his balcony downtown – near where the annual parade would take place.

“Everybody comes downtown during Stampede and it’s like we get to see really the entire city of Calgary and I think it’s exciting to have those really happy moments,” said Massel.

“I think that this is one of the only times the entire city comes together as a group.”

While the streets may have been empty this year, Massel’s Stampede calendar is not.

The first Saturday of Stampede was Pride Day – which celebrates the LGBT2Q+ community. Massel and members of his cohort celebrated the day with a Stampede-themed drag brunch set up a friend’s yard.

Still more Stampeding left to do

Over the remaining days, Massel plans on attending some of the drive-thru food events, a backyard sleepover with old western movies and social distance line-dancing. He’s also supporting local musicians by attending small outdoor round circle events.

“It’s these little community events that you’re going to see everybody’s heart and spirit again,” said Massel.

For Massel, the Stampede is about community and coming together as a city. He hopes that while he’s finding his own way to keep the spirit alive – he can inspire others to find their own ways of holding on to the Stampede spirit this year, all while staying safe.

More ways to live like it’s Calgary Stampede 2020

Paddy’s BBQ & Brewery:

Down at Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery, continue this week with a free, stampede-style “Not a Stampede Breakfast” between 9 and 11 a.m.

Paddy’s offers a variety of meals with a southern country style theme all year long.

After breakfast on July 12, they will be closed.

CRAFT Beer Market:

They will own the spirit of Stampede by wearing cowboy boots, hats and plaid while serving great food and drinks. Don’t forget to check out their limited edition Stampede’ish T-shirts.


You have a choice of three Stampede-ish dishes to pick from this year, BBQ brisket poutine, brisket sliders or a brisket sandwich.

Free House YYC:

Breakfast is served until the batter runs out. Guests will receive two complimentary pancakes to pair with any craft beer.

You can find all sorts of different Stampede food sales at Free House YYC’s front window. They’re selling all your favourites from corn dogs, popcorn and fritters to lemonade and cotton candy.

On the last day of festivities, Free House will be hosting a pig roast for $50 a person. It includes all the sides and fixings and an orange and cinnamon-infused old-fashioned.

  • with files from Cassie Jamieson