|History of Western Showcase
The tradition of Western Showcase began in a country fair atmosphere during the 1930’s and 40’s. Homemakers and school children would submit handicrafts and baking to the Calgary Stampede for judging and exhibiting. Those who organized the event were paid employees of the Stampede. Many volunteers within Western Showcase remember being a part of this tradition while attending elementary school.
In October 1971, fourteen former “Stampede Royalty” met to discuss how they could make a significant contribution to the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. The committee Women’s World, was officially formed on December 7, 1971. Their first major project was to produce a fashion show, known as “Fashion Royal”, in conjunction with Rodeo Royal in March 1972. The committee was then asked by the Stampede to take over the handicrafts display and competition.
The first year they were located in the Big Four Building with tables set around the room for their displays. After that they moved to Flare Square where they set up a kitchen display consisting of an Old Fashioned Kitchen, a Modern Day Kitchen and a Kitchen of the Future. Guest chefs and cowboys came to do cooking presentations in the pink tent that the Stampede had built for them.
They were then moved to the concourse of the Corral where they only displayed and judged Handicrafts. After a couple of years they moved again to the main floor of the Corral. The committee grew to include other committees located on park, (The Alberta Stage, School Committee (children entered arts and crafts to be judged)) and added a large garden area and orchid display.
In 1978 the committee changed its name to Creative Living. The name change allowed for growth and expansion and they would no longer be an all women’s show. They returned to the Big Four Building and brought back Kitchen Theatre. Creative Living continued to evolve and grow to include the original Handicraft display and competition, The Alberta Stage, Calligraphy, Science Spectrum and International Photo. They also started the Art show and in 1981 the first Art Auction was held in the Rotary House. Later some of the artists participating in the Auction were able to rent booths to sell their art to the public.
Still on the move, Creative Living found a new home in Hall C of the Roundup Centre. Always changing and growing, the committee added Floriad (a professional florist’s competition and display), Art Gallery, Sales Salon, the Artisan Village and a yearly special feature area. Over the years the Stampede would occasionally ask the committee to take in special events, i.e. carousal displays, the Glenbow Museum etc.
1997 marked another year of change. After a retreat in Banff to redefine the purpose of the committee, the name was changed to Western Showcase to describe the new mission statement.
In 2002, Floriad evolved into Window on the West - an entertainment stage with western entertainers, cowboy poets, and exciting daily presentations. In 2006 Western Showcase added Western Photo Gallery, a competition and sales salon for western photography. As the committee has grown, so have our requirements for space. Hall D was completely occupied by Western Showcase, and ATCO Kitchen Theatre was located in Hall C.
Western Showcase is recognized as one of the major destination areas of the Stampede. We are a vibrant group of close to 200 volunteers showcasing our Western Heritage and Values.
In 2009, all of Western Showcase was located in Hall D and the newly opened Hall E of the BMO Centre. Sharing the space with us was ‘The Oasis’ and Wine Garden a partnership that will continue into 2011 when during Stampede we become Western Oasis.
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