The 2016 Calgary Stampede Parade Marshals Jann Arden and Paul Brandt at Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alta., on Wednesday June 8, 2016. Leah Hennel/Postmedia LEAH HENNEL / LEAH HENNEL/POSTMEDIA
Musicians Jann Arden and Paul Brandt will be the 2016 Stampede Parade marshals, event officials announced Wednesday.
The pair were chosen to coincide with Calgary’s “Year of Music.”
“It’s an incredible honour to be asked, and it was an immediate yes,” said Brandt. “And when I found out that it was going to be Jann alongside, that just made it all better.”
The two are both eight-time Juno Award winners. Past parade marshals have included Olympian Kaillie Humphries, actor William Shatner and astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Arden and Brandt, both Calgarians, said they were excited to be a part of an event they had been going to since childhood.
“I, too, was one of the kids sitting on the curb with my grandparents year after year,” Arden said.
But the pair also said they wanted to draw attention to one particular parade float that will honour the first responders and victims of the Fort McMurray wildfires.
“People are still dealing with the realities of their new lives,” Brandt said.
“We want to support them and shine a light toward the recovery of the spirit, and the recovery of the infrastructure of that great city.”
Arden and Brandt arrived at Olympic Plaza for the announcement in the same white, tricked-out 1966 Pontiac Bonneville they’ll ride in for the parade. It featured 300 silver coins on the dashboard, gun-shaped door handles, detailed leather seats and a set of horns on the front.
The car was customized by Nudie Cohn, who’s known for making rhinestone-covered suits for stars such as Johnny Cash and John Wayne. It’s on loan from local businessman and amateur musician Dick Koetsier.
Arden and Brandt cracked jokes throughout the big reveal, nicknaming themselves “PB&J.”
“Have they ever had fireworks during the parade?” Brandt joked, looking at the back of the car. “I bet we could fit some back here.”
The parade begins at about 9 a.m. on July 8, kicking off the Stampede festivities that will run until July 17.