CFL fans are being invited to “experience the energy” in Calgary as the city plays host to the 2019 championship game, the Grey Cup.
The 2019 Grey Cup Festival will be focused at Stampede Park before the big game is played at McMahon Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 24.
The Calgary Stampeders hope to defend their 2018 CFL championship on home turf.
Festival events include a kick-off party on Wednesday, Nov. 20, a 140,000 square-foot outdoor street festival, the Shaw CFL Awards at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday, Nov. 21, and the Grey Cup Gala at the Saddledome on Friday, Nov. 22.
The centrepiece of the festival will be a 65-foot inflatable Stratosphere projection dome — a 360-degree projection surface for pictures and videos.
Mike Franco, Stampeders senior director of business operations, expects the 3.2-acre festival to welcome the same or better numbers than Edmonton’s 2018 Grey Cup Festival.
“Edmonton will tell you that they had 40,000 unique visitors into the city but they also turned about a half a million people through that festival over the course of three days. We expect to be in those similar type of numbers,” Franco said. “We think we will keep this park very busy for Calgarians and for visitors from out of town.”
Saturday, Nov. 23 features the first-ever Grey Cup Rodeo, to be held at Stampede Corral.
“We were inspired once we decided to come here to Stampede Park that we had to bring the stampede heritage into this,” Franco said. “The rodeo gives us an opportunity to give out-of-town guests a taste of Calgary.”
Team parties — a Grey Cup tradition — will be held in BMO Centre and the Big Four.
Both the Grey Cup Festival and the 107th Grey Cup will be presented by Calgary-based Shaw Communications. The Government of Alberta, city of Calgary and Tourism Calgary join Shaw in presenting the festival.
“The Grey Cup Festival will bring together Calgarians and thousands of visitors to celebrate our amazing city,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda said in a statement.
“Last year, this boost in tourism infused approximately $80 million into Edmonton’s economy, and I am glad that Calgary has the chance to benefit from this exciting sporting event as well.”
Tickets for the Grey Cup go on sale to the general public on May 7. The CFL season starts in Edmonton on May 26.
The 2020 Grey Cup will be played in Regina, and Hamilton is due to host the Grey Cup and festivities in 2021.