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WATCH: National Western Stock Show parade marches through Denver

For the first time since the pandemic, longhorn cattle and wagons traversed the streets of downtown Denver.

DENVER — For the first time since before the pandemic, the National Western Stock Show parade returned to downtown Denver.

The parade is the traditional kickoff to the National Western Stock Show – 16 days of rodeos, family shows, activities and agricultural trade show – but this was first time since 2020 that longhorn cattle, horses and wagons traversed the streets of downtown.

> Video above: Watch the full National Western Stock Show parade

The Stock Show was canceled in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year's parade was canceled due to frigid temperatures and snow – though the Stock Show itself went ahead as usual.

This year's parade started at noon Thursday at Union Station and went down 17th Street to end at Glenarm Place.

The grand marshal was Dr. Temple Grandin, a Colorado State University professor of animal science and a renowned author and speaker.

"I am honored to be the Stock Show parade grand marshal," Grandin said. "I encourage everybody to visit the Stock Show and see all the animals. The National Western is an ideal place where kids can get off their electronic devices and discover that real animals are more interesting. I also want to invite everyone to visit the new Temple Grandin Equine Center at the CSU Spur Vida building while at Stock Show."

Credit: CSU
Temple Grandin at the groundbreaking of the Temple Grandin Equine Center on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 in Fort Collins, Colo.

Roads were closed along the parade route. Vehicles should keep a safe distance from horses and riders and they return to the staging area.

At the same time as the parade, the Stock Show Fair will be in full swing from noon to 2 p.m. at McGregor Square, with therapy horses, music, food and more.

The forecast for Thursday calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 40 degrees.

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo begins Saturday, Jan. 7 and runs until Sunday, Jan. 22.

The 117-year-old tradition brings in thousands of farmers, ranchers and city folk alike to the complex near Interstate 70 and Brighton Boulevard.

Tickets to the 2022 National Western Stock Show are on sale now at NationalWestern.com.

> Can't see the map? Click here.

Credit: National Western Stock Show and Rodeo
Stock Show parade route

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9NEWS is a corporate partner of the National Western Stock Show.

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