Centennial Cakes have been popping up all over Alberta this spring and summer with one of our really great special teams this year: the Cake Posse! The cakes are just one of the ways we’re joining with communities for their local events and celebrations. They’re also sweet reminders to come celebrate with us! So far cakes have been booked for everything from the Rick Hansen Foundation Party to the 100th birthday party of Stampede fan Frances O’Lesk.
I had a chance to sit down and chat with Steve LeManne, Centennial Coordinator for this year’s Calgary Stampede. He’s got a pretty fabulous job- helping to orchestrate the largest 100th birthday party this city (and likely country!) has ever seen. Read on as we get to know Steve a bit better. There are just two days left to partake in our incredible Centennial celebrations, so I hope you are able to make the most of it Calgary!
1. How did you get involved with the Centennial Team, and how long have you been involved with the Calgary Stampede?
I started with the Calgary Stampede as a member of the Showband back in the fall of 1995. After marching for 4 years, I became a contract staff member with the band for the next 10 years. At some point I realized how much the Stampede meant to me so in 2008, while I was still on staff with the Showband, I became a full time staff member with the Merchandise department.
The Centennial Team was put together following Stampede 2011. The posting went out in May last year, and immediately I realized how amazing this opportunity would be- that I couldn’t pass up this once in a life time experience. I applied, and the rest is history. I’ve been in this position since last August.
2. What are some of the initiatives driven by the Centennial Team this year?
The ideas and planning for some of the Centennial initiatives has been going on for more than 2 years. The initiatives that we are specifically driving are Trans Alta Light Up the City, My Stampede, White Hat Roundup and the Cake Posse.
3. Can you describe what makes this year, the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, so special?
For me, the Stampede is so special because of the way it unites the community for 10 days every year. We are a volunteer driven organization with almost 3000 active volunteers, so the community plays a key role 365 days a year. But for that 10 days, the window paintings and decor, the pancake breakfasts, the way people dress…we embrace those 10 days and come together to put on a great event, not just on Stampede Park but city wide.
4. Do you have some must-see activities for our patrons, whether this is their 1st Stampede or their 100th?
Every year the Rodeo and the Evening Show are an absolute must. This year, I’m personally really excited about the entertainment at Bell Centennial Plaza and of course the Centennial Zip line.
5. Could you tell us a little about what the Cake Posse is? Is there a rough estimate of how many cakes your team has served up thus far this year?
Our message this year is “We’re Greatest Together”. Again, it speaks to the relationship between the Stampede and the City of Calgary. The Cake Posse is a way for us to go out into the community and help Calgarians in celebration at their various events. We’ve brought cake to hockey games, concerts, luncheons, dinners, anniversaries, grand openings, gala events and even a few 100th birthday parties.
By the end of Stampede, we’ll probably brought cake to over 130 separate events and given out close to 500 slabs of cake. At around 85 pieces per slab…..that’s a lot of cake!
6. That sounds like a lot of cake!! Where would one find this team on a daily basis for the 10-day Stampede?
During the 10-day Stampede, cake is all over the place. We are popping up at various community events throughout the city. We are also serving cake to guests at Stampede park every day when the clock strikes 19:12 at the AG 100 Celebration in Victoria Pavilion. (* Sarah’s note: don’t miss this super special opportunity on park!)
7. Do you have one standout memory from all your years being involved with the Stampede?
My favorite memory goes back to when I was a member of the Showband. The first time you get to step onto the Grandstand stage under the lights and perform for all those people, some who have come from all over the world to be there….a truly awe-inspiring moment!
8. What do you see for the future of the Calgary Stampede?
I see the Calgary Stampede continually growing in the future. And not just the physical size of the park, but also in community involvement. As a not for profit organization, we already re-invest all of our revenue back into the organization and community, but I see us able to take even greater steps in the future. The Youth Campus will be prime example of this. When completed, will be the most amazing collection of facilities for the youth of Calgary to be involved in the arts.
9. What are you most looking forward to during this year’s 10-day Stampede?
Being involved in the planning for the past year and hearing about all the different things going on to make this year so special, I’m really looking forward to exploring every corner of the park and seeing what all of our different committees and departments have done to make this edition of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth truly the greatest!
10. Our committee is putting together a Time Capsule that will be opened 100 years from now. If you could include one item, what would it be and why?
I would have to say I would like to contribute a Cake Posse name tag or shirt.
Steve, thank you for sharing your time with me during such a busy 10-days of Calgary Stampede! I am going to hold you to that Time Capsule donation! : )