CALGARY, Alberta--“The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” read the sign outside of the Calgary Stampede.

I was a bit skeptical at first--would it really be the greatest show?

Five minutes after stepping through the gates, I found my answer as motocross bikes flew through the air with fire pupping wildly in the background. The riders did fast flips in the air while flame-throwers pumped flames high in the air. The crowd around us went wild.

The heat from the flame-throwers was beating down on us and there was a rush of adrenaline (fear?) while watching motorbikes fly through the air. My stomach heaved a little at the sight. I was hungry too, I told myself.

Just few steps away from death flying through the hot air, food trucks and stalls with their huge colorful signboards lined the road, advertising anything from funnel cakes to cotton candy burritos, Wildboar Bacon Elk Smokie (delicious, by the way), deep fried cheesecake and a whole deep fried frog.

A lady walked past us with a bucket of freshly fried donuts and up ahead people were lining up for butterbeer ice cream and the best brisket, ribs and turkey legs Canada had to offer.

I finally knew that the Calgary Stampede truly is the greatest show on earth.

Rob, my boyfriend (Hi, bb!), brought me to the stampede and the little German girl could not be any happier. It reminded me of all the big city carnivals we had in Germany and of all the times my dad had to drag me back home.

The stampede grounds are huge--offering everything from a large selection (by large, I mean large!) of barbeque offered by some of the best grill chefs in the world (and they have the trophies to prove it), fair food (fried Nutella, yes?), outdoor concerts, carnival games, agriculture shows (I saw some of the biggest horses and bulls in my entire life!) dog shows, Chuckwagon races, rodeo shows and a whole lot of cowboys and the best kind of hospitality ever.

It’s breathtaking and it provides such an overwhelming sensory overload that it does not fail to entertain.

But more than entertain, the Calgary Stampede is a place of celebration. It celebrates and takes pride of Alberta’s rich history and culture and way of life. It highlights the culture of the First Nation peoples, celebrates agriculture and shows nothing but respect and care towards their livestock. I felt much pride and love for what people loved to do. I saw cowboys and how much pride they have in their horses. Families from across Canada, and the globe, come to celebrate diversity, culture, history, and each other.

And that truly makes the Calgary Stampede the greatest show on earth.