By Chad Hason, Content Contributor
The Calgary Stampede is known as the greatest outdoor show on earth, and as a 25-year local, I can attest that there is never more excitement in the city than those 10 spectacular days.
However, whether you love the party or prefer to avoid crowds, at some point in time it’s nice to know where you can go in July to enjoy activities that allow you to take a break from cowboy hats and country music.
The ability to do something relaxing is good for the soul. We live in an area with plenty of opportunities to stay active without getting exhausted.
So whether you want to avoid the crowds, or just find a connection with something good for the soul, here’s three alternatives to the Calgary Stampede:
1. Farmer’s markets: Looks good, tastes good, feels good
While the rest of the city lines up for deep fried treats, mini donuts and pizza on a stick, those who have had their fill of junk food might want to head out of town to one of the Calgary Region’s Farmers’ Markets
Offering tons of healthy options, and oodles of community spirit, Farmers’ Markets have a way of making participants feel good.
Not only do they offer the chance to buy local, fresh meat and produce, they also showcase art, crafts and plenty of homemade treats.
And that’s not all – depending on which market you choose, you will be treated to:
- Fresh Produce
- Arts and Crafts
- Children’s Activities
- Live Music
- Food Trucks
- And much more…
So why not take a drive out of the city on a Saturday and enjoy the big sky, chill atmosphere and friendly faces offered at one of these community-focused Farmers’ Markets?
- Black Diamond Millarville: Saturday July 4th and 11th, 2015
- High River Artisans Market: Saturday July 4th and 11th, 2015
- Nanton Farmers’ Market: Saturday July 4th and 11th, 2015
- Strathmore Farm Fresh Fridays: Friday July 3rd and 10th, 2015
- Okotoks Art on the Lawn: Thursday July 9th, 2015
2. Float your worries away
You don’t have to leave Calgary altogether to leave the stress of life far behind you.
Located on north edge of the city, Calgary One Love Float offer tanks that allow you to experience the benefits/power of sensory deprivation including:
- Natural pain management
- Stress relief
- Chronic pain relief
- Personal awareness
Never heard of floating before?
You are not alone.
Although floating has been around for decades, it is only recently becoming a mainstream activity.
This truly relaxing experience exists to help you reach those rare moments where you are totally at peace and ready to focus on yourself.
Treeka Drake, owner and operator of One Love Float describes it best:
“Floating works with our bodies on the physical level, in partnership with the magic of several hundred pounds of Epsom salts, to detox, relieve stress, increase relaxation and overall energy. It allows the mind to access a meditative-like state to open up into clarity.”
For more information, or to book an appointment, visit their website.
3. Connect with nature
It seems almost too obvious to mention, and yet so many of us take for granted the opportunities that exist to explore the natural beauty of the landscape around us.
Some of us may feel that it is probably too hard, or that the most rewarding experiences are only available to those who are experts on where to go.
Fortunately, there are groups that facilitate the chance put both of these assumptions to rest.
Whether you want to:
- Climb a mountain;
- Tour an ice shelf;
- Discover a tucked away lake;
- Explore a cave;
- Pack a picnic;
…or simply enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful wilderness, the chance to get outside and stretch your legs and mind is available to anyone who literally wants to walk away from the crowds and noise of the big city.
A simple Google search will lead to an almost never-ending list of options in Alberta, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Banff – Tunnel Mountain Guided Hike – July 7 or 10
Canmore – Hiker’s Nirvana – Anytime
Remember, just because you don’t feel like hanging around for the Stampede – it doesn’t mean you can’t do something fun and fulfilling enough to have you shouting “YA HOOOOO!”
Do you have any Calgary Stampede alternative activities you enjoy? We’d love to hear them!
Chad Hason is a Canadian storyteller and owner of Candid MarComm.