What will be different from the 2021 Greeley Stampede
After COVID-19 restrictions ruled out the event last year, doors open Thursday for the Stampede’s 99th year.
GREELEY, Colorado – On the eve of the 2021 Greeley Stampede, a return to “normal” means a return of tradition.
“I’m super happy but super tired and excited!” Stampede general manager Justin Watada said.
“It’s been over two years of preparation to get ready and get back to things, and we’re going as fast as we can. We went from a whole year to ‘no, no, no.’ We don’t know what to do, all of a sudden, ‘Go, go, go!’ ”
There was no Greeley Stampede in 2020, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. And when planning the 2021 event, the organizers had to remain flexible.
“Usually in October we will set our budget, ‘version 1,’ Watada said. “We will set our budget and the dates of the event and define the layout of the park and we plan it throughout the year.”
“This year we are on ‘version 10’ and things keep changing. We worked closely with the state and town of Greeley and the county just to come up with an idea. As soon as we found this something changed and it made us back down. Wo where we are [now], ‘version 10’, we’ll just go ahead and make the most of it. ‘”
Watada said there were no COVID-19 restrictions on the event in 2021, but as organizers spent months budgeting and planning as if there were, the event will be a bit different this year.
Watada called them “modifications”, with changes like more space to spread out places like the stage, food and carnival.
RELATED: 9 Things to Do at the 99th Greeley Stampede
RELATED: 9Things To Do In Colorado This Weekend: June 25-27
“In 2021, a year later, we still had similar restrictions and capabilities [limits], so we were a little worried, and things continue to improve and last week we announced that there will be no COVID-19 restrictions, ”he said. “It’s just a process.
“It’s like walking down the hall, not knowing where we are going, we are a bit lonely because there is nothing to compare.”
“This is really huge for our community,” said Greeley Mayor John Gates. “Every time the Stampede is in town, we see substantial growth in the sales tax and the lodging tax. If you go through the hotels now – we’re doing pretty well with oil and gas anyway – but they’re all full. This is what we love to see.
In normal years, the Stampede brings in crowds of 200,000 or more each year. Organizers aren’t sure how the turnout will compare this year, but they’re optimistic.
“I think what people realized was that they kind of took for granted how much the Stampede meant to them – every summer, going out there, and that was their tradition,” Watada said.
“I think a lot of people are excited to go out and eat that turkey leg, have that cold drink, and come back to that simple community celebration that the Stampede started with.”
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Latest news from 9NEWS