10 events you don’t want to miss during Calgary Stampede 2023

A night dedicated to Dolly Parton, chef cook-offs and more

Photo of Drag Me To Brunch 2022 provided.

When you’ve held the title of The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth for as long as the Calgary Stampede has, having an abundance of fun events and activities goes without saying. But being spoiled for choice also means that you might have to make a difficult decision or two with how you spend your time.

That’s where we come in! Whether it be a dazzling drag brunch, a local art and artisan showcase, or a traditional honkey-tonk time with live music and dancing, we’ve come to provide you with a few food-and-drink-focused options to make your Stampede a memorable one.

Dickens - Night of 1,000 Dollies (July 6)

The Calgary Stampede prides itself on having something for everyone, but if you enjoy a good old fashioned country shindig, you won’t want to miss Stampede Sneak-a-Peek night at Dickens featuring a cabaret tribute to the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton. 

The quirky queer-meets-country event promises to be a blast with local performers like Karla Marx, Bea Lissima, Toddy, Argintina Hailey, Birthday Girl, and Tangerine Dream busting out their best Backwoods Barbie-inspired singing, dancing, and burlesque. 

Tickets available via Showpass.

YYC Summer Scoop Fest (July 6-7)

The second annual YYC Summer Scoop Fest is already underway, but we couldn’t think of a better way to cool off from a hot day at the grounds than by enjoying tasty chilled treats from 20 of our favourite Calgary-based ice cream purveyors.

The festival will also be raising funds for Calgary Meals on Wheels, and when all is said and done, one local business will be crowned YYC’s Best Scoop.

Ace High Stampede Kickoff at Deane House (July 7)

Seeing as this event is raising funds for the Trellis Society, this is a Stampede happening that you can truly feel good about.

If you’re looking for a fun way to start your Stampede with delicious food and drink while contributing to a great cause, look no further than the second annual Ace High Stampede Kickoff party happening at Deane House on July 7. 

Event-goers can expect a traditional take on Stampede celebrations with Western wear, dancing and summer-themed libations. Since it’s taking place at the legendary Inglewood eatery, you can bet there will also be some seriously delicious food on hand as well.

Mexifest (July 7-9)


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Though the Stampede will have only just started, if by any chance you are in need of a break from cowboys and country music between July 7-9, you can head down to the corner of 4th Avenue and 9 Street southwest to find an entirely different, yet equally vibrant celebration of culture at Mexifest.

In addition to authentic Mexican food and drink from a variety of vendors, Mexifest will showcase everything from live mariachi music and dancing to luchadores and Latin artisans. 

Twisted Element - Boots, Buckles & Beats (July 7,8 and 14)

No matter the date, a night out at Calgary’s favourite 2SLGBTQ+ venue is always a fun time, but on July 7, 8 and 14, Twisted Element will be hosting its 2023 Stampede-themed events, Boots, Buckles & Beats. Each night will feature a different set of hosts and performers, including Honey Davenport, Giselle Lullaby, Maddy Morphosis, Lemon, and more.

The Prairie Emporium - That Don’t Impress Me Brunch (July 9)

The following day at The Prairie Emporium will see the highly anticipated return of the cleverly-titled That Don’t Impress Me Brunch featuring Jaidynn Diore Fierce of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Toddy and Valerie Hunt of Call Me Mother Season 1, Calgary queen Nearah Nuff, and local rapper Tea Fannie. 

The drag brunch menu will offer up an assortment of comfort food classics like breakfast poutine, breakfast sandwiches and wraps, hot dogs, cinnamon buns, and tater tots, while the drink menu will include craft beer, cider, and brunch-based beverages like Caesars and mimosas.

Tickets via Showpass.

The District at Beltline Stampede Showdown (July 10)


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Since opening back in March of 2022, the District at Beltline has been known as a place where Calgarians can gather and enjoy some of the best eats in all of Calgary under one roof. 

So it seems fitting that the District at Beltline’s first official Stampede event does the same, only bigger. The first annual Stampede Chef’s Showdown will feature chefs Duncan Ly (Bar Chouette, Takori, and the now-closed Foreign Concept), Jinhee Lee (Jin Bar), Roy Oh (Roy’s Korean Kitchen), Mike Pigot (Pat & Betty’s) and Mikko Tamarra (Fortuna’s Row).

Each of the chefs will conjure up a signature Stampede-inspired dish, which will then be judged by those in attendance and a yet-to-be-revealed celebrity guest. No matter which chef emerges as champion on the day, attendees who get to indulge in whatever these five fantastic chefs create will be the real winners. 

Tickets via Eventbrite.

Cowboys Music Festival's Drag Me To Brunch 2023 (July 15)

Despite only making its debut in Calgary in 2019, Cowboys Music Festival’s Drag Me To Brunch event has become one of the festival’s most iconic food-meets-entertainment draws. As was the case with its two previous iterations, this year’s event will see an abundance of local and international talent take the stage, including Drag Race performers like Gigi Goode, Alyssa Edwards, Symone, Detox, and Tayce, along with returning judge/co-host duo Carson Kressley and Michelle Visage. 

Of course, no drag brunch would be complete without a few tasty food and beverage options, so in addition to Cowboys Cookhouse, the Cowboys Food Truck Alley will also feature The Dogfather hotdogs and Okotoks’ Big Sky BBQ.

Tickets via Showpass.

Inspire Fest at Highfield Farm (July 15)

Calgary’s Highfield Farm is hosting Inspire Fest during the final weekend of the Stampede. The grassroots production at the Calgary regenerative farm will feature a blend of education and performance, with everything from live music and local art to workshops, food and beverage vendors, and a beer garden. 

Calgary Stampede's official Drag Brunch at Nashville North (July 16)

If by the final weekend of Stampede you haven’t yet had your full fix of Stampede-themed drag brunches, you’re in luck; the final opportunity for electric performances and gourmet brunch food and beverages comes in the form of the second annual Calgary Stampede Drag Brunch. 

Taking place at Nashville North, the Stampede Drag Brunch will bring together a star-studded lineup of local drag talent such as Karla Marx, Scarlett Bobo, Miss Fiercalicious, and Toddy. The Stampede Drag Brunch will also be introducing a new Caesar-making competition featuring local mixologists, with the winner going on to represent Alberta at the National finals.

Tickets via Calgary Stampede website.