Best New Midway Food For Stampede 2012 – Naaco Bites

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Stephanie and Aman from The Naaco Truck - Best New Midway Food Stampede 2012

For the second year in a row, an ethnic twist on fair food has won the title of Best New Stampede Midway Food.

In 2011, it was Kubie Korn Balls, a delicious corn fritter with bites of kielbasa sausage that tasted like a pancake breakfast. This year The Calgary Food Truck revolution has swept into The Calgary Stampede for the centennial celebration. There’s a long line of the trucks outside the prize home, and one of the newest on the road took home The Best New Stampede Midway Food title for 2012.

Stephanie and Aman of The Naaco Truck hovered over their offerings at the judging table and just couldn’t stop talking with love about their food. The Naaco Bites served up a twist to the usual “deep fried something” we see at this competition. Their dish was colourful, delicious and, as Aman beamed, may be “the only place to get fresh vegetables on the grounds.”

naaco bites

Naaco Bites - Best New Midway Food Stampede 2012

The Naaco Truck gang really prides themselves on being local, fresh, and authentic. This delicious dish features 5 big pieces of chicken sausage sourced from The Missing Link. They then added butter chicken spices to their chickpea flour for deep frying. Wow. A yogurt chutney on a fresh cut slaw finishes it off. This is a very unique take on street/fair food. It’s fresh, and has a nice kick. A worthy winner.

deep fried wagon wheels

Deep Fried Wagon Wheels

Deep Fried Wagon Wheels
What a great dish to celebrate The Stampede Centennial. The best way to describe this is as a deep fried ‘smore. Normally a wagon wheel is a ‘smore without the melty chocolate, but the deep frying melts the marshmallow and chocolate into a gooey good mess. This entree is $5 for 2 wheels and a lady finger. I’d split this between 3 or 4 people easily. Great value, and a fun treat.

Centennial Sandwich
For the first time, The Calgary Stampede‘s food services entered into the Best Midway Food competition. Executive Chef Derek Dale‘s sandwich features a Spolumbo’s sausage, pulled pork, and pulled bison all in a hoagie with Stampede slaw. It’s a meat fiesta, and it’s so good. The sausage was the final piece of the puzzle was the sausage. It was a trick he learned at Chicago’s Wrigley Field – and it’s delicious.

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Other new fare includes Cotton Candy Cupcakes (very very sweet, kids might like the sugar overload, I didn’t), Deep Fried Kool Aid (oily, sugary, and worth a share amongst the group if you’re curious), Funnel Cakes made with red velvet, or bacon and maple syrup, and the list goes on.

All that food sounds great, but it does come with a price – check out the calorie counter for the Stampede Midway foods before you decide to go whole hog.

100 Day Countdown To The Calgary Stampede

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March 29, 2012 marked 100 Days until The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is celebrated for the 100th time.

100 days to show the world what hospitality and community spirit is all about. Already hailed as one of the best parties on the planet, The Calgary Stampede is about to step it up a notch for this year’s party.

Guy Weadick promised big things when it first started in 1912, and he delivered.

The Calgary Herald reported that “fully eighty thousand people saw the parade,” . . . turning out en masse to witness the event, considered to be the “greatest pageant of western types and western history ever gathered together on the American continent .”

The Calgary Stampede Parade is easily one of the highlights, and the unveiling of The Stampede Parade Marshal is a secret held tighter than who wins the Oscars.

The 100th Anniversary Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal will be Ian Tyson. The Seven chiefs of First Nations communities will be honourary marshals including Chief Big Plume of Tsuu T’ina.

MUSIC Ian Tyson Wall 20120328 / THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

“This is truly a special year and I’m pleased we have the opportunity to recognize the people who’ll be at the front of our Centennial Parade,” says Mike Casey, president and chairman of the board, Calgary Stampede. “Our Parade Marshal is someone who symbolizes western heritage and values, is an iconic Canadian and someone who embodies the Calgary Stampede. And as we get set to celebrate our centennial, I’m thrilled to have the seven Honourary Parade Marshals join us as they represent a relationship that started 100 years ago and remains strong today.”

The 2012 Calgary Stampede will go July 6 – 15, and here’s just a piece of what to expect with the latest promise of spectacular:

  • A Stampede show “unlike anything anyone has ever seen” that will feature the best in western horsemanship and the finest in First Nations performances
  • A partnership with Roots Canada resulting in a product line commemorating the 100th anniversary
  • An array of concerts, including Canadian country music superstars Johnny Reid, and Paul Brandt starring in the Grandstand shows
  • A new roller-coaster named Outlaw to honour the famous rodeo bull, and a 260-metre zip line across Stampede Park
  • ”Surprise birthday cake” celebrations at community events in and around Calgary
  • A “white hat roundup” recognizing 100 Albertans who exemplify western heritage; and,
  • A new website to share stories, photos, poetry and video


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    For some this is a party about Calgary beer, western wear, and Stampede midway food. You can have all that, in the end, for me, it’s still about community spirit. It’s about being proud of where you live, and meeting your neighbours. It’s the ultimate pep rally.

    Are you coming?

The Greatest Show Of Community Spirit On Earth

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It’s not something you can understand until you experience it. And you need to experience it properly.

My first Calgary Stampede was in 2003. I wandered the midway and checked out a bit of the rodeo, but as someone from out of town, I didnt really understand what it was about. Sure, I saw a lot of long lines outside beer gardens, and that’s what I thought was going on. It was Calgary’s version of the PNE with booze and a rodeo. Check that – LOTS of booze and a rodeo.

But it’s different. It’s more than that, and this weekend I had things really exposed to me.

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is really about community spirit. It’s about taking pride in traditions, and getting behind a cause to wave the flag high.

Simply put, The Calgary Stampede is Calgary’s Christmas. Think of all the good things that happen in December and then put them in July. There are parties and decorations. There are festive outfits and feasts. There are acts of charity and an indominable smile creeps across everyone’s face.

It’s something the rest of the country could weave into their community. Vancouver, for example, could use a few pancake breakfasts. The spirit of volunteerism, the acts of charity and small communities coming together 1500 at a time binds people together, enforces civic pride and makes it more difficult to torch the things you love.

It may look like just pancakes, beer gardens and a rodeo, but it really is neighbours coming together to celebrate their city.

Getting Dressed For Stampede Is A Truly Religious Experience

True religion

A funny thing happens in Calgary in June every year. Just as people go shopping for outfits to wear to weddings, showers and reunions – people also go shopping for their “Stampede oufit.”

Even the most refined of fashionistas will be seen ditching their Dolce for gingham. Plaid, denim, hats and boots are a must.


When building your outfit at Chinook Centre‘s newly opened True Religion start with the jeans and work from there.

True Religion has an entire denim bar in their stores where you can quickly scan the cuts, seams, stitches and styles. There are literally dozens of combinations of wash and seam stitching that can take your style from understated to very very bold.

And don’t be shy about trying something a little more flashy than you’re used to. You never know until you try it!

The different denim styles all have male names associated with them, but the inspirations for the 2011 season come from – famous rodeo bulls.

Perfect for Stampede!

Once you have your jeans, toss on a button up poplin shirt. Buttons are best because they’re easy to rip open and roll up to be more casual in the beer garden (or pancake breakfast).

The biggest pancake breakfast during all of Stampede happens at Chinook Centre and the True Religion gang will be there flipping with the rest of them for the 51st edition.


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