There’s no bigger sporting event in Canada than the Grey Cup. The annual CFL championship game matches up the two best football teams in the country and is famous for delivering tension, drama, thunderous hits, and thrilling play on both sides of the football. There’s so much more to the annual Grey Cup celebrations than the big game.
The football itself is the centrepiece, but it’s far from the only reason why fans from across the country flock to the CFL city is hosting the Grey Cup every single year. Only two teams are playing, after all, and you’ll find hundreds of fans donning their squad’s colours every year, regardless of whether they’re competing for the championship.
The Grey Cup Festival is the reason they make the pilgrimage. This year, it’s happening in Calgary at Stampede Park, and it’s well worth the trip to the city for what’s sure to be a celebration-packed getaway.
“Obviously, the CFL and the Grey Cup are established brands, but separate from the football is this whole festival,” said Geordie Macleod, the executive director of the Grey Cup Festival. “There’s a lot of football angles to it, but ultimately you could not have watched a single CFL football game in your life and if you come down to Stampede Park in November of this year and have an amazing time.
“You can just come and enjoy it and it really is being built for that exact purpose.”
This year’s Festival is aiming to be the biggest and best and (among other things) is going to feature the first ever Grey Cup Rodeo, the CFL Awards, massive indoor and outdoor family festival areas and, of course, team parties where each CFL club puts its own unique twist on their end-of-season bashes.
Let’s tackle a few common questions about what the Grey Cup Festival is all about: