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Skies clear, rain stops just in time for start of Calgary Stampede parade

Click to play video '2019 Calgary Stampede Parade in 15 minutes' 2019 Calgary Stampede Parade in 15 minutes
WATCH ABOVE: Joel Senick and Dallas Flexhaug host a condensed version of the 2019 Calgary Stampede Parade – Jul 5, 2019

It was a soggy start to this year’s Calgary Stampede, but the sky lightened and the drizzle let up just in time for the parade that kicked off the annual 10-day celebration of western life.

Umbrellas and plastic ponchos covered a sea of cowboy hats and shirts along the route Friday as a night of heavy rain continued into the early morning.

The parade, which signals the official kickoff to the Calgary Stampede, featured 112 western-themed entries with 19 marching bands, 32 floats and 200 horses.

Weather forced officials with the Calgary Stampede to make a few logistical changes to the staging area for the parade, but the event went ahead despite the rain.

“Folklore tells us that it has never rained on a Stampede parade and look, it stopped!” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi before he removed his rain jacket and got on his horse.

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He said the annual festival — which includes rodeo events, pancake breakfasts and rowdy parties — is a nice respite from the economic doldrums weighing on the city.

“The Stampede is a 10-day opportunity for us to change the channel,”‘ he said. “We’ve fallen victim … too much to the waves of negativity in the world, and here’s our real opportunity to remind people that we live in the best place in the world.”

READ MORE: How to save money at the 2019 Calgary Stampede

Before the parade started, Angela Rak was huddled in a wool plaid blanket as she sat in a camping chair under a big umbrella.

“When we got here it was really busy still, so we were lucky to find a spot, because it was actually filling up pretty quick,” she said.

Valrie Stewart and her husband, Allan, woke up in the wee hours so they could get a good view of their granddaughter in the colour guard for the Red Deer Royals marching band.

“A lot of the chairs down there were already taken when we got here by 6 — a lot of early birds,” she said.

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“We’ve got blankets. We’ve got our ponchos on. We’ve got our umbrellas. We’re trying to stay warm. We ran over to Tim Hortons and got coffee, so that helped.”

WATCH: Leslie Horton was almost taken out by a knight in shining armour at the 2019 Calgary Stampede Parade.

Click to play video 'Leslie Horton and her knight in shining armor' Leslie Horton and her knight in shining armor
Leslie Horton and her knight in shining armor – Jul 5, 2019

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney rode in his first Stampede parade since winning the April election. He said the event is an opportunity to forget the economic downturn that has left many in the province down and out.

“Calgarians have had some challenging years recently, but we put all that aside to get together and celebrate our western heritage and I’m just pumped to be doing so,” he said.

Kenney said some business would get done during the week of partying.

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“We’re also hosting an investment forum. We’ve got major global investors coming in here and I feel the signs of economic renewal. I hope Stampede will help that to take off.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see more pictures from the 2019 parade

A young family watches the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
A young family watches the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
A stagecoach is reflected in a puddle during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
A stagecoach is reflected in a puddle during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
A marching band performs during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
A marching band performs during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
A tuba player reflects his band mates in his instrument during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
A tuba player reflects his band mates in his instrument during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
Calgary Stampeder Grey Cup Champion, Rocco Romano, right, waves to the crowds the Grey Cup during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
Calgary Stampeder Grey Cup Champion, Rocco Romano, right, waves to the crowds the Grey Cup during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk, centre, rides in the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk, centre, rides in the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
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A horse and rider pass by during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
A horse and rider pass by during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
Calgary Stampeder Grey Cup Champion, Rocco Romano, right, waves to the crowds the Grey Cup during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
Calgary Stampeder Grey Cup Champion, Rocco Romano, right, waves to the crowds the Grey Cup during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
Ella Baboneau, three, stands in a puddle during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
Ella Baboneau, three, stands in a puddle during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
Performers from the Chinese Canadian society are reflected in a puddle during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
Performers from the Chinese Canadian society are reflected in a puddle during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
A drill team marches with their rifles during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019.
A drill team marches with their rifles during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2019. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press

Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, an MP from Edmonton, said he enjoys the annual cowboy celebration.

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“I’ve lived in Alberta for 34 years and enjoy every bit of it,” he said.

“So many people have come to Alberta from around the world — like me — who are an integral part of this community and we celebrate together.”

This year, Canadian actress Amber Marshall — best known for her role as Amy Fleming on the CBC series Heartland – served as parade marshal while Cmdr. 3rd Canadian Division Brig.-Gen. Stephen Lacroix was the parade’s honorary marshal.

READ MORE: Calgary Stampede 2019 concert listing

Former Stampede parade marshals include Olympic snowboarder Mark McMorris, singer-songwriter Jann Arden, musician Paul Brandt, Olympian Kaillie Humphries, actor William Shatner, astronaut Chris Hadfield, Man in Motion Rick Hansen, actor Christopher Reeve and Mickey Mouse.

GALLERY: Past Calgary Stampede parade marshals

Paul Brandt, left, and Jann Arden will lead the Calgary Stampede parade, which goes July 8, after being named parade marshals during a ceremony in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Paul Brandt, left, and Jann Arden will lead the Calgary Stampede parade, which goes July 8, after being named parade marshals during a ceremony in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Parade marshal and Olympic medallist Kaillie Humphries waves during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 3, 2015.
Parade marshal and Olympic medallist Kaillie Humphries waves during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 3, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary Stampede parade marshal William Shatner speaks to the media about the upcoming event at a news conference in Calgary, Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Calgary Stampede parade marshal William Shatner speaks to the media about the upcoming event at a news conference in Calgary, Thursday, July 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary Stampede parade marshal and astronaut Chris Hadfield waves to the crowds during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013.
Calgary Stampede parade marshal and astronaut Chris Hadfield waves to the crowds during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Country music legend and parade marshal Ian Tyson waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 6, 2012.
Country music legend and parade marshal Ian Tyson waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 6, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter waves to the crowd as he serves as the grand parade marshal during the Calgary Stampede parade on Friday, July 9, 2004.
Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter waves to the crowd as he serves as the grand parade marshal during the Calgary Stampede parade on Friday, July 9, 2004. (CP PHOTO/Larry MacDougal)

The 2019 parade is the Stampede’s 107th. The first Calgary Stampede Parade took place on September 2, 1912.

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The 2019 Calgary Stampede is a 10-day event that runs from July 5 to 14.