Classic Stampede Foods You Have to Try

Tasty treats at the Midway at the Calgary Stampede
Tasty treats at the Midway at the Calgary Stampede
Tasty treats

Classic Stampede Foods You Have to Try

Even though the food on the Midway at the Calgary Stampede changes every year, here are the staples you’ll find every year that you have to try at least once

The classics remain my must-haves. There’s a nostalgic thrill that the treats of my childhood are still around for me to indulge in more often than my parents would ever allow.

Here’s my must-eat list at the Calgary Stampede:

More than 80,000 people enjoy corn dogs every year at the Stampede

More than 80,000 people enjoy corn dogs every year at the Stampede

Corn dogs

Down on the grounds, corn dogs are perhaps the most iconic Stampede food (over 81,000 sold in 2015!) and always my first stop. You can smell the aroma of corn dogs cooking across the midway; they come in two sizes, short or long, both freshly dipped and deep fried, to be eaten as soon as they’re cool enough to, with a squiggle of mustard down one side.

 

Mini Doughnuts - maybe the icon of iconic Stampede food?

Mini Doughnuts - maybe the icon of iconic Stampede food?

Mini Doughnuts

Turkey legs

Another classic, roasted and eaten Flintstones-style, turkey legs provide some protein to balance the sweet, and are easy to eat while walking the grounds.

Fresh-squeezed lemonade

Because it’s invariably hot and sunny in July, and walking/riding/watching the rodeo requires hydration, fresh squeezed lemonade from the many stands scattered across the Stampede grounds is required to wash all the snacks down. It tastes like summer.

Fiddlestix have been pleasing Stampede attendees for generations

Fiddlestix have been pleasing Stampede attendees for generations

Fiddlesticks

Another vintage Stampede offering, I love that these are still made in the same stands, with the same design they had when I was a kid. Boxes of vanilla ice cream are unwrapped and cut into slabs, each piece impaled with a wood skewer and dunked into chocolate that hardens into a satisfyingly crunchy shell, and rolled in crunchy toasted peanuts before it sets. Fiddlesticks remain one of the purest pleasures of Stampede.

Find different varieties of candy-coated apples throughout the Stampede

Find different varieties of candy-coated apples throughout the Stampede

Candy apples

Another midway classic, candy apples were always my sister’s first pick—the bright red crackly ones. They’ve been around for about as long as the Stampede has, and they’ve never lost their appeal. It’s just a bonus that there’s a whole fresh fruit inside that layer of candy.

The smell of fudge will hypnotize you in the Stampede Marketplace

The smell of fudge will hypnotize you in the Stampede Marketplace

Fudge

I’m always lured by the slabs of fudge on offer at the Stampede—I always go for maple, or chocolate nut—it’s perfect for sharing, and nibbling as you wander. It’s compact, not messy, and gets deliciously soft in the heat without melting.

Pick up tasty ice cream in Weadickville

Pick up tasty ice cream in Weadickville

Ice cream

As kids, we went to Weadickville for hot dogs and ice cream cones, and we still do: although it’s not unique to Stampede, there’s something about choosing your flavour, then walking around the grounds while licking off the drips.

By
Julie Van Rosendaal

Julie Van Rosendaal is a best-selling cookbook author and talks about food every week on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio; she also writes for local and national publications, and has a popular blog, Dinner with Julie.