July 3 to July 6

1. Calgary Stampede; Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 13 at Stampede Park

And so begins the most obvious of all family-friendly events: the 10 days of face-painting, magic shows, tiny mechanical midway rides and deep-fried everything that returns every July. The park officially opens today, but families may want to wait until Suncor Family Day on Sunday, July 6. Admission is free from 6-9 a.m., plus a free breakfast for the first 20,000 guests from 7:30-10 a.m.

There’s loads more information, including a good list of fun things for kids to do on the Stampede grounds, on their website.

2. Spruce Meadows North American; until Sunday, July 6 at Spruce Meadows

Don’t tell the rodeo horses I tipped you off, but there’s another competitive equine event going down this weekend in Calgary. Some of the best show-jumping athletes and their leaping steeds have descended upon our city from across North America to compete. There is plenty of other things going on outside of the ring, too—pony and wagon rides, face-painting, shopping and a free brunch (for the first 3,000 people) from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Rush seating is $5 for adults and teens and free for seniors and kids under 12. You can find more info on their website.

3. Robin Hood; starting Friday, July 4 (until Sunday, July 13) at Kinsmen Park, Okotoks

If children’s theatre were a tall glass of water, we would have been seriously parched over the last few weeks. Thank the gods of family-friendly theatre for this outdoor production of Robin Hood (presented by Goodger-Pink Productions, which is now in its second year).

Performances run Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are “pay what you can” with a suggested donation of $10. Check out the website for more info.

4. Millarville Farmers’ Market; Saturdays until October 11 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

We have a a few great farmers’ markets in our city. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to just get in the car and hit the highway. It’s easy to make a day of it here—take a stroll through the market (which has been running for more than 100 years), grab some lunch and set your kids free in the wide open spaces surrounding the cornucopia of tents and produce tables.

You can find more info here.

5. Cyclepalooza Piñata Ride; Sunday, July 6 (5:30 p.m.)

Although your family’s cycling season may still be in full-swing, the 10-days of organized biking fun that is Cyclepalooza is coming to a close on Sunday evening. Participants of this closing event will meet in Mission (exact address to be announced), saunter down to the Bow River and take turns bashing piñatas (while still on the back of their bikes, of course).

This event is free! All you need is a bicycle and a good-to-mediocre swinging arm. Cruise over to the Cyclepalooza website for more details.

Kerianne Sproule


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