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Fort McMurray Firefighters Get Place Of Honour At Calgary Stampede Parade

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FORT MCMURRAY STAMPEDE PARADE
Fire Chief Darby Allen leads a group of first responders as they march in the Calgary Stampede parade. | Jeff McIntosh/CP
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CALGARY — The fire-ravaged city of Fort McMurray had a prominent spot in this year's Calgary Stampede parade.

A contingent of first responders and city staff marched right behind the vintage car carrying parade marshals Jann Arden and Paul Brandt.

The group carried a banner reading "Thank you Alberta,'' expressing gratitude for the support the city has received since a fierce wildfire swept through it two months ago.

Watch the beginning of the Calgary Stampede parade:

Wood Buffalo fire Chief Darby Allen took part in the parade.

He said there were some discussions around him being named parade marshal, but he thought it was more important for representatives of the region to march as a group.

"It's wonderful and kind of like coming home again for me,'' said Allen, who previously worked with the Calgary Fire Department.

"I was in the parade many times with the Calgary Fire Department so it's nice to bring the people down who were involved in ... the emergency for the first few days so they can meet the people and say thank you to them and we can show them some appreciation for what Calgary did for us.''

"It's wonderful and kind of like coming home again for me.'" —Darby Allen

More than 250,000 people typically line downtown streets every year for the parade, which kicks off the 10-day western festival.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the Fort McMurray presence was moving.

"I'm really pleased for them because I think the crowd's going to receive them in a really warm way and so I'm happy for them,'' she said.

"They deserve it. They've been through a rough time and I'm pretty sure Calgarians are going to give them an exceptionally warm welcome.''

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