With the Calgary Stampede only a few days away, there isn’t much happening at Stampede Park this week in terms of events as all hands are on deck putting on the finishing touches across all the venues on Park in preparation for Stampede.

So let’s change gears for a moment with the return of Stampede Spotlight and take a look at some of the new and returning events, activities, and other things that you can look forward to at this year’s Stampede:

  • New Midway Foods:  Everyone looks forward to what new and wacky food ideas will be making their way to the Stampede Midway this year.  Last year featured the debut of the Pulled-Pork Parfait, which garnered a lot of attention from local food critics and media personalities alike.  This year, you can look forward to items such as the Glazed Doughnut Burger (Glazed doughnut, hamburger with fixings, glazed doughnut), the Moowich (Chocolate chip cookie, ice cream, chocolate chip cookie), and the Deep Fried Pop Tart, as well as MacKay’s Ice Cream’s exclusive Stampede ice cream flavour: Pancake Breakfast.
  • ENMAX Ice Show:  Last year’s Acrobatic Ice Show – A Rock and Roll Fantasy was a big hit with crowds and thanks to ENMAX, the ENMAX Ice Show will return to the Stampede Corral this year, this time with Olympic Gold Medalists and World Champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier headlining.
  • VOLTE:  Each year, the Grandstand Show features a different theme but this year’s show promises to take things to a whole new level with heat, horses and hoofbeats.  Featuring two black stallions, 180 performers and hundreds of fireworks and fireworks effects, this year’s Grandstand Show will be something that has to be seen to be believed.
  • New Items at the Stampede Market:  You never know what wacky or cool gizmo or gadget will appear at the Stampede Market, or which one will become the hit of the year.  A few of the new items making an appearance this year include the BallBike, Blizzie, and the Zoku Quick Pop Maker.
  • 2011 Stampede Packs:  Every year, the ever-popular Stampede Packs bring value and fun to one’s visit to Stampede, with many styles each year selling out.  This year features refreshes to the CJAY 92 Pack, the 98.5 Virgin Radio Pack, the Kid’s Pack featuring the official mascot of the Calgary Stampede: Harry the Horse, and of course, the Calgary Stampede Pack.

And that’s just a taste of some of the new and exciting things to look forward to at this year’s Stampede.  Other things include the human cannonball, David “The Bullet” Smith Jr., who will launch himself across Saddledome Plaza (or in other words, the length of a 747 aircraft) twice daily, and fire-whipping contortionist Aiden Orange leading the daily finale at the Bell Midway Circus.

There’s so much to see and do at this year’s Stampede that there isn’t enough room to do it all justice, much less fit it all in a single trip.  But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed as you’ll be able to use various online tools this year to help you plan your Stampede.  For example, you can use the online planner to view what’s happening for any given day, the official Calgary Stampede iPhone app if you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, and new this year, text “NEXT” to 313131 on your mobile phone to receive suggestions, announcements, and recommendations.

Finally, don’t forget that you can always get the latest news, tips, and other announcements by signing up for our Stampede Insider newsletter, following us on Twitter at @calgarystampede, becoming a fan of the official Calgary Stampede Facebook page, visiting our website at calgarystampede.com, and of course, by keeping an eye here on the Stampede Blog.