July 4, 2017 2:06 pm
Updated: July 5, 2017 7:25 pm

2017 Calgary Stampede: officials tell visitors to expect bag checks

A visitor watches the fireworks display from the midway at the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Saturday, July 9, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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Editor’s note: This article has been updated after the Calgary Stampede clarified all guests must proceed through the bag search area in 2017, but a random selection process will be used in the bag search area during busy times.

The Calgary Stampede announced Tuesday two new security measures will be taken during the 10 days of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

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This year, visitors to the Calgary Stampede will be subject to passing through a bag check area. Random bag checks at entrance gates were in effect in previous years, but in 2017, all guests will need to funnel through a specific area.

“In 2017, all guests will be subject to search before coming into Stampede Park,” events and park services vice president Jim Laurendeau said during a Tuesday news conference.

“As guests prepare for their visit, we ask them to pack their bag as if you are going through airport security. Please leave your pocket knives, nail files, and anything else that might be considered a weapon at home.”

The Stampede said at times, a random selection process will be utilized in the bag search area, whereas all bags will be searched when it’s not busy. Officials said all visitors should arrive with the expectation of being searched.

Laurendeau clarified that snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.

He said with hot weather in the forecast they’re recommending people stay hydrated and bring sunscreen. If you or your kids need to cool off while at the grounds, Laurendeau suggested heading indoors where there is air conditioning to cool off.

READ MORE: Calgary Stampede midway food and drinks: what’s new for 2017

Also new for 2017, roads closed during the Stampede Parade on Friday will not be re-opened until the conclusion of the parade. In previous years, roads were re-opened once the route had passed through.

“Part of it is to ensure that … we can keep the people safe that are in the parade and watching the parade,” Insp. Leah Barber said. “Part of it as well is that we’ve learned over the years if we allow people to start driving and walking through downtown before the parade is completed, we do find that it’s a little chaotic.”

READ MORE: Calgary Stampede 2017 concert listing

Officials with the Calgary Stampede joined with the Calgary Police Services (CPS), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and the Calgary Fire Department (CFD) on Tuesday to outline the new safety measures.

“We know that we are not immune here in Calgary to the dangers we see in the rest of the world,” Laurendeau said. 

READ MORE: How to save money at the 2017 Calgary Stampede

The 2017 Calgary Stampede runs from July 7 to 16.

With files from Gary Bobrovitz

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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