The Calgary Stampede says over half a million people walked through the gates at this year’s event, down sharply from previous years.
The decline is not a surprise, given the smaller-than-usual event and restricted admittance that came on the heels of the province lifting pandemic restrictions.
In total, 528,998 guests attended the 10-day event.
“The Calgary Stampede has been a trailblazer throughout our 109-year history, but never more than this year,” the organization said in a release Monday.
“Thank you for joining us to Stampede your way, and to celebrate The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
The most recent regular editions of the festival attracted 1,275,465 visitors in 2019 and 1,271,241 in 2018. The 2019 edition was the second-highest attended Calgary Stampede since 2012, when the Stampede celebrated its 100th year.
The event was cancelled last year for the first time in almost 100 years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings.
That cancellation resulted in the festival losing an unprecedented $26.5 million in 2020 — a far cry from the roughly $150 million in annual revenues usually pulled in by the event.
Stampede president Steve McDonough said Sunday the 2021 edition had been a “wild ride” — contending that the festival represented a safe return to live events that should serve as a model for Calgary and Canada.
“Success is also the local businesses getting a much-needed boost and our economy a kick-start,” McDonough said.
“No matter how you measure it, Stampede 2021 is a success.”