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Bowness Stampede Parade Day

Saturday, July 10
Breakfast: 7–11 am, Parade: 9 am

IT HAS BEEN SAID that half of Bowness comes out every year to see the community’s annual Stampede parade. The other half of Bowness is in it.

Without a doubt, one of the real highlights of the Bowness social calendar is the Lions Club Stampede Parade & Breakfast. For 21 years now the Lions, in co-operation with dozens of local businesses and merchants, have been throwing what has become the single best attended community event in the 99-year history of Bowness.

The Bowness Lions have been serving the citizens of Bowness since the club received its charter in 1948. In 1989, they held the First Annual Stampede Breakfast & Parade. They fed about 750 people that first year, and the parade consisted mainly of neighbourhood kids on decorated bikes. Today’s parade is an hour-and-a-half-long extravaganza, with the Lions serving up around 6,000 breakfasts.

The day begins for some as early as 7 a.m., when breakfast is served and a country band cranks up their amps in the parking lot of the Bowness Plaza, just behind the Esso Station on Bowness Road. Hard-working members of the Bowness Lions start churning out the pancakes and sausages and don’t stop until the parade is long over.

By 9 a.m., parade participants have gathered at the Hextall Bridge (known to many as the Shouldice Bridge), from where they proceed all the way up Bowness Road, straight into the Stampede breakfast throngs at the Bowness Plaza. The parade concludes as it turns right on 79th St. at the Bownesian Grocer.

You can expect to see politicians from every level of government waving from fancy cars, along with plenty of representation from local businesses, clubs and agencies keen to join the fun. Highlights include the Bow Cycle contingent on their crazy bikes and the movie extras having shootouts in our streets. Speaking of shootouts, first-time parade goers should beware the Bowness Soccer Association float, whose players and coaches have water-bombed and super-soaked hundreds, perhaps thousands, of parade-goers over the years.

It’s always easy to remember when parade day will be in Bowness—it’s on the Saturday morning following the Calgary Stampede Parade, held downtown every year on a Friday. And it’s always easy to find as it meanders through the only traffic light in Bowness, at the corner of 77th St. and Bowness Road.

When the parade is over and the griddles are turned off, the action continues at the Bowness Legion, with a kids’ carnival and a Stampede breakfast of their own, and at Angel’s Drive-in on 85th St., where you can always expect to see live music played up on the roof on parade day afternoon.

The Bowness Lions Club deserves our special thanks and recognition for all their dedication and hard work in putting on the Stampede Parade & Breakfast. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes effort involved in getting permits and sponsorships, rounding up volunteers and food, marshalling myriad floats and participants into parade formation. This day enriches our community more and more with each passing year. So hats off to the Lions and their families and friends for bringing us what surely must be the finest community parade in town!

—Story by Michael Cormier, parade photo by Scott Penny

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