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Picture this: a little girl in a pink, sparkly cowboy hat steps onto the grounds of the Calgary Stampede with a huge smile on her face and wonder in her wide eyes. She looks around at the midway rides, sees a group of Indigenous dancers in colourful regalia, and marvels at all the delicious snacks to try.

This is her Disneyland.

That’s the kind of experience event organizers are excited to welcome back to Alberta as some of our largest homegrown events return in 2022, including the upcoming Calgary Stampede (July 8-17, 2022) and Edmonton’s K-Days (July 22-31, 2022).

With many events returning to the province in 2022, such as the World Juniors Hockey Championships and Garth Brooks’ two stadium shows in Edmonton, and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Calgary, Alberta is back in the spotlight as a world-class host destination.

Prior to the pandemic, the Calgary Stampede generated $540 million in annual economic impact, including direct and indirect revenue, job creation and more. K-Days – Edmonton’s largest summer fair – with it an annual economic impact of $70 million.

Crowd of people walking in the midway at night during K-Days in Edmonton.
With over 1,000 volunteers and employees, more than 300 exhibitors, 50 different community partners and many suppliers, K-Days generates more than $70 million in annual economic impact. (Photo credit: Northlands Events)

Breaking down the numbers

After cancellations in 2020 and 2021, K-Days anticipates it will return to 2019 revenue figures with its big 2022 comeback. And, after returning with a scaled-down version last year, the Calgary Stampede also expects to see numbers similar to pre-pandemic levels, as the city welcomes over a million people – with increased interest from U.S. visitors – during the 10 days of festivities.

For many, these large events – and the team of people required to pull them off – provide remarkable opportunities for a first job and potentially the start of a long career.

“It’s a really great way to introduce people to the market and for them to have the ability to experience it,” says Arlindo Gomes, Vice President of Business Development & Venues Management at Explore Edmonton, which hosts K-Days. K-Days received more than 800 applications from job seekers during this year’s job fair and was able to hire about half of them.

Kristen Anderson, Manager of Communications & Media Relations at the Calgary Stampede, notes that while many of the jobs created during the Calgary Stampede are temporary, some can lead to full-time opportunities. “That’s a trend we were finding during our online hiring fair,” she says. “We were going through the list of applicants and determining them as potential full-time employees.”

Photo credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede generates hundreds of millions in annual economic impact. (Photo credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede)

It’s more than a party

While the economic impact and job creation numbers are impressive, what makes events like these so special is the community spirit they help inspire.

“It’s a catalyst for bringing the community together from all different walks of life,” says Gomes.


[Events like K-Days] give people an opportunity to build memories with their family and friends, and allows us to build inclusivity in our community.

Arlindo Gomes, Explore Edmonton

“[The Calgary Stampede] is reflective of the spirit of Alberta,” continues Anderson, noting how welcoming the community is, especially during this time. “Stampede spirit means something different to everybody. I think that’s something that Calgarians have missed over the last few years. From our volunteers to our employees, to the bands and the cowboys that come here and compete, we really try to embody that small-town feel and make everybody feel welcome.”

It's more than a 10-day party, according to Anderson. “It’s a way of showcasing everything that Calgary and Alberta has to offer. It’s been neat to see how it has evolved over the years, stayed current and really bringing that Western heritage to life each year.”

It’s also an opportunity to embrace and celebrate Alberta’s Indigenous communities. This year’s Calgary Stampede includes Western Canada’s largest powwow, featuring competitive dancing, drumming, singing and other Indigenous performances.

First Nations, Calgary Stampede. (Photo credit: Kyle Clapham / Calgary Stampede)
The Calgary Stampede will host Western Canada’s largest powwow in 2022. (Photo credit: Kyle Clapham / Calgary Stampede)

“We hope this powwow will open people’s eyes to the richness and diversity of Indigenous culture and the Indigenous tourism experiences that are available all over the province,” says Shae Bird, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Alberta, a sponsor of the inaugural Calgary Stampede Powwow.

What’s next?

While the future may be unknown, event organizers are optimistic.

“We are excited to be back again in full force,” Anderson says. “We’re going to continue seeing the Stampede grounds evolve, from a new Coca-Cola Stage to the newly rebranded GMC Stadium, and the BMO Centre expansion, which is going to be a really impressive world-class facility and hub for activity year-round, when all is said and done.”

For Gomes, he’s most looking forward to that first day seeing those children walk through the K-Days gates with a sparkle in their eyes.

“Especially nowadays, not everyone can afford, with costs going up, to have their holidays outside of Alberta,” he says.


These kinds of events actually allow people to stay close to home and have their Disneyland experience.

Arlindo Gomes, Explore Edmonton

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