CALGARY - All the outward trappings are there but there is something missing from the 2013 Calgary Stampede.

The annual parade Friday drew hundreds of thousands of people to the downtown core, people are once again festooned in cowboy hats, boots and jeans and families flock to free Stampede breakfasts.

But the annual cowboy festival is lacking the usual political partisanship that has traditionally been tantamount to the so-called "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth."

Just two weeks after 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to massive flooding from both the Elbow and Bow Rivers in Calgary and the total decimation in the town of High River, 60 kilometres to the south, there's a fragility to the area.

Party leaders, who take on the persona of duelling gunslingers looking for votes in a game of political one-upmanship, have holstered their verbal firearms and appear to be taking a softer approach this year.

"Certainly everybody's focus is properly on the fact that Calgary just went through a major natural disaster of the flood and other parts of Alberta like High River which I just visited — you don't come to a community that has just gone through trauma and pull out the normal 'we're all here for a good time' attitude," Green party Leader Elizabeth May told The Canadian Press at her annual bannock breakfast in Calgary.

"I think we're all pitching in where we can and the vibe is definitely different."

May, who is opposed to the partisanship in the House of Commons, said she would like to see the spirit being shown by politicians during Stampede continue but feels that's unlikely.

She spent the day volunteering in High River, where at one point all 13,000 residents were under a mandatory evacuation order, and streets and neighbourhoods were under metres of water.

"This is a hard, hard thing for people who have to pull together the resources and make things work but they've done very well at what they're doing and the spirit of the community is enhanced and stronger," May said.

"House after house, street after street, it's really devastating and I agree with Thomas Mulcair that the rest of Canada may not realize how bad the damage in Calgary and surrounding communities have been."

The federal NDP leader also took a conciliatory stance when he arrived in Calgary this week. He said Canadians want all governments, municipal, provincial and federal, to pull together.

"I honestly do believe the federal government is doing everything it can. They'll have our full support. There are times when we will talk partisan politics. This isn't one of them," Mulcair said at a Thursday pancake breakfast.

Both May and Mulcair are promising to help eliminate any of the "bureaucratic roadblocks" to making sure those who have lost their jobs have immediate access to employment insurance.

"You don't punish people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Removing bureaucratic roadblocks in getting the money flowing is a good thing," Mulcair said.

May said the waiting time required for EI recipients does need to be waived in this case.

"When you think about all the workers at the Calgary Zoo as one example, it would be good to get people helped right away," she said.

"The time to get on EI has been stretched as of late ... maybe we could fasttrack that for people who have been hit by the flood."

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was scheduled to arrive late Saturday night and take part in events Sunday.

A party release indicated last week that the Liberal party was cancelling its yearly Stampede breakfast and having Trudeau "pitch in" with cleanup efforts around the city.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who represents the riding of Calgary Southwest, attended the Stampede parade Friday but spent part of the day visiting High River.

Calgary got another reminder of its weather woes Friday night when a powerful thunderstorm and more heavy rainfall caused more flooding in some areas. The midway at the Calgary Stampede also shut down during the storm.

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  • Marchers carry a banner supporting Albertans effected by flooding during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Chris Hadfield on the route

    One horsepower - Jag and I are ready to ride!

  • The Outriders are down at the Stampede Parade this morning

  • Um.. Why?

  • @Premier_Redford gets on her horse, Butch -- she's ready to ride + this parade is about to start!

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, and his with Laureen, watch fireworks starting the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Chris Hadfield: the only guy here more popular than Nenshi.

  • Cowboy hats instantly make cops 100% hotter. #stampede

  • Fever of #stampede. Ppl going to observe the parade. #stampede101

  • The star of the show has arrived = Chris Hadfield.

  • Nenshi is ready to start the #StampedeParade

  • Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi waves to the crowds during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Members of the RCMP march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • A marching band performs during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Great sign at the #Calgary #Stampede parade!

  • Calgary Stampede parade marshal and astronaut Chris Hadfield, centre, waves to the crowds during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • I guess these seats are saved?!? #stampedeparade #stampede

  • Stampede fans enjoy a pancake breakfast before the start of the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Calgary Stampede parade marshal and astronaut Chris Hadfield, centre, waves to the crowds during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • #awesome line dancing by the chinook country line dancing club! #stampede is here! Yeehaw!!!!

  • Something you never see in Toronto..Calgary Police on #Stampede Parade route giving kids photo ops on the motorbikes.

  • People begin to line the parade route

  • Roughly 250,000 people expected to take in #Stampede101 parade

  • Here we go Hell or High Water

  • Kinda love the teepees on the Bow. Brilliant!

  • She's a way better rider than I am! Great to see @premier_redford at the parade!

  • PM Stephen Harper awaits the beginning of the #Stampede101 parade.

  • Calgary, stand up. Your first responders' passing.

  • YAHOO!

  • Cultures colliding @nmc_canada with Mexico at pre parade prep. The party's already started

  • Cue the parade!!!

  • We’re marching the @calgarystampede parade this morning!

  • @calgaryeconomic & @capp crew hosting global biz leaders today @ Greatest Show on Earth.

  • We’re in the #CSparade101.

  • Honoured to have met and play a tune for parade marshal @Cmdr_Hadfield & his beautiful wife today!

  • #dancinginthestreets halfway through the @calgarystampede parade!

  • Loving all the floats @calgarystampede #stampede101 #yyc #lovethiscity

  • A troupe from the Calgary Chinese community performs during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Calgary Stampede parade marshal and astronaut Chris Hadfield, centre, waves to the crowds during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Kids wave to parade marshal Chris Hadfield during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Alberta Premier Alison Redford waves to the crowd as she rides a horse during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Members of the RCMP march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 5, 2013. This is the 101st edition of the Stamepde which continues until July 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh