Anlly Gallego, a dancer with Raíces del Peru performs the Danza de Los Tulumayos, from the Peruvian Amazon. © J. Ashley Nixon
The night before the Stampede Parade, many local people and visitors check out the weather for the next day. At the best of times, the massive audience that lines the streets of Calgary for this world-famous annual event has to be prepared for all kinds of weather. At 05:00 am the hardy early birds, and there are plenty of them, usually need a blanket or good jacket to deal with the morning chill in the shadows before the sun finds its way through downtown’s corporate towers. Then, before you know it, it’s time to peel off some layers, put away the blankets and slap on the sunscreen as the temperature soars.
The rain stopped and even the sun peaked through the grey ceiling
Three days of persistent precipitation before the event this year probably put off a few but the rest came well-prepared, many with plastic bags perched over their Smithbilt and other makes of cowboy hat. “It has only rained on the parade three times in the past thirty years,” said Global News. Fortunately, they were right. The rain stopped and even the sun peaked through the grey ceiling around 08:00 am, an hour before the parade departure time. Underfoot though it was puddles bordering on ponds and mud in the gathering area for the floats, right next to the CP railway tracks alongside 9th Avenue. Many of the dancers were wearing boots, and some never took them off for the parade, just in case.
For the third year, I was participating with Raíces del Peru (Roots of Peru) in their culturally diverse dance performance that included the music, steps, and authentic costumes of the Danza de Los Tulumayos, Marinera Norteña, Diablada Puneña, Carnaval Ayacuchano, Valicha, and Huyalarsh Moderna.
The first of those dances originates from the vast Amazon of Peru, danced by women in woven grass skirts, accompanied by one rather large serpent, an Anaconda.
There’s a lot more than cowboys, cowgirls, horses and showbands in the Stampede Parade.
For photographs from the 2019 Calgary Stampede Parade and previous events, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography