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Calgary restaurants and bars allowed to serve booze early for 2018 Stampede

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Calgary bars, restaurants and lounges will be able to start the party early again for this year’s Stampede.

The Alberta government and Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission announced on Wednesday that liquor service can begin at 8 a.m. during the 10 days of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Closing hours will remain the same as will all other service rules.

According to Calgary-Shaw MLA Graham Sucha, this is not the first time the Alberta government has allowed this change and likely won’t be the last.

“If the demand is there and it’s benefiting local businesses then we would explore something long term,” Sucha said.

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“However, for now we are just focusing on this year.”

Earlier liquor service was piloted at Stampede in both 2014 and 2016 and is currently in place for the World Cup.

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Sucha said the reason for the flexibility during Stampede season is it allows businesses to operate in whatever way is most beneficial for them which in turn helps Calgary’s economy.

READ MORE: Calgary acupuncture business offers Stampede hangover drop-in clinic

Chris Joyce, a manager at National on 17 Avenue, said during those years it allowed the company to host functions that brought in a different type of clientele than they would normally see.

He said National will continue to serve the same breakfast specials this year, but might consider opening early to accommodate a larger crowd for the peak hours.

Both Joyce and Sucha said the extended service hours have brought success in the past and they expect the same for this year, as long as people continue to drink responsibly.

The Stampede park itself doesn’t open until 11 a.m. during the event but a spokesperson from Calgary Stampede told Global News that Stampede is a community event and they welcome all celebrations.

The 2018 Calgary Stampede takes place from July 6 to the 15.