Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Farewell Critters! Calgary Stampede Parade street sweepers prepare for retirement

Since 2001 the Roads Maintenance Critters have been cleaning up along the Calgary Stampede Parade route. Now, after 13 years of service, Dixie, Samson, Rocky and Alfalfa are hanging up their cowboy hats and heading for greener pastures.

The Critters were created by a local puppeteer back in 2001 and have been placed on a street sweeper every year during the Calgary Stampede Parade to clean up after horses and humans along the parade route.

The 2014 Calgary Stampede Parade on Friday, July 4 will be the Critters’ last. Next year you’ll see four new faces in the Stampede Parade but before we send off Dixon, Samson, Rocky and Alfalfa you’ll be able to see them and say good bye at a variety of City of Calgary Parks over the next couple of weeks.

Park
Date
Time
Location
Ralph Klein Park
12350 84 Street S.E.
Wednesday, July 9
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Critters will be located in the Parking lot
Prairie Winds Park
223 Castleridge Boulevard N.E.
Friday, July 11
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Critters will be located in the parking lot
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
2425 9 Avenue S.E.
Monday, July 14
9 a.m. to noon
Critters will be located in the parking lot.
Sue Higgins Park
Southland Drive and Deerfoot Trail S.E.
Friday, July 18
9 a.m. to noon
Critter will be located in the parking lot.

The Critters will be available for children of all ages to meet and take pictures with. Post your photo on Twitter using the hashtag #farewellcritters and you’ll be entered into a draw for fun City of Calgary Roads swag. We’ll also be hosting other Twitter contests throughout the Stampede to say good bye to our Critters, follow @yyctransport for more details.

Visit the following links for more information on Calgary Stampede Parade day road closures and accessible viewing information.

10 comments:

  1. Sad to see them go. When my boys were little, the street sweeping critters were one of the highlights of the parade.

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  2. Who will replace them? Hopefully new street cleaning technologies since we are going with new characters?

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    1. There is no need to replace or spend money upgrading our street sweepers as we still have a plentiful and functional fleet. However, we do look forward to meeting the new critters next year.

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  3. Interesting story - I was wondering who the artist "local puppeteer" was that created these back in 2001?

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    1. If I recall correctly, these critters were the creation of a Roads employee who had considerable artistic talent. There was as I recall an article in the Roads department newsletter regarding the artist - I'd presume it would still be available in the archives

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    2. Mary Anne RutherfordJuly 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      The original critter was called Trixie and was developed by a puppeteer from Evergreen Theater. The artist had never done anything of this size before. Trixie was built at Manchester in one of the bays and it took several weeks to construct. The original art concepts were developed by retired Creative Services designer Tom Milosz. The idea of converting the sweeper into a working float came from me, Mary Anne Rutherford, when I was a Roads communication consultant. Roads employees really got on board and offered much advice in the creation of the future float fleet (bulls, cows, more horses!) as well as artistic designs on the sides of the sweepers. The publicity that these floats generated was fantastic ... we received kudos from the then Mayor and from stampede visitors as far away as Europe and Asia. I will be sad to see them go ... this was one of the most impactful projects that I had the pleasure of coordinating.

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  4. When I was younger I was in a marching band in the parade every year. I was so excited when the street sweepers were in front of us one year. When I saw that they became characters that really made the parade more enjoyable for those sitting on the sidelines and the people in the parade. It would be neat if Dixon, Samson, Rocky and Alfalfa became a permanent installation somewhere in Calgary to preserve the history and not just thrown away in the landfill. Maybe at a recreation site or on the Stampede grounds so kids could still enjoy them and tourists could have pictures with them. You could put a plaque with pictures from each year of the parade.

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  5. What about reducing. reusing, and recycling? The critter team seems like they are still in great condition! It seems like such a shame to just toss them in the landfill.

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  6. can we donate them to the new Agrium building at the stampede grounds so they can hang from the ceiling?

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    1. We’re looking into all our options, including repurposing, and trying to find the right pasture for the Critters to enjoy the rest of their years.

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