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Marda Gras


There’s a neighborhood in Calgary that’s called Marda Loop, named for the owners of Marda Theater demolished long ago.  It’s a pretty area, one of the few non-homogenized pockets of the city, owing to old houses and independent businesses. Every year Marda Loop hosts the Marda Gras Street Festival – a one day event that riffs on the culture of New Orleans, and is a fun outing aimed at families. The streets are shut-down, traffic re-routed and kids and dogs get equally excited.


I haven’t been in a few years, and this year a friend and I went over, spurred by her proximity to the festival and the gorgeous weather, something that’s been in short supply this summer.


Every store was spilled out onto the sidewalk:

 Marda Gras - vendors on streeet


There were booths everywhere, selling absolutely everything:

 Marda Gras - booths



 Marda Gras - fabric



 Marda Gras - shoes


 Marda Gras - sunglasses


There was tons of entertainment too, like belly dancers:

 Marda Gras - belly dancers


A mime:

 Marda Gras - street performer


Sidewalk chalk:

 Marda Gras - chalk


And the largest cutest dog I’ve seen in ages – the size of a small pony:

 Marda Gras - big dog


And of course, the food.

Oddly enough there weren’t that many food vendors out, we only saw about five or so, but the set up was great, with each vendor having small, fixed price dishes that you could enjoy at one of the many outdoor tables.

First we saw the Red Tree:

 Marda Gras - red tree sign


Where we had some amazing ribs. Very flavorful and moist, they were a sweet and tangy treat.

 Marda Gras - ribs


Then we moved on to Rasoi:

 Marda Gras - rasoli


Where we had great veggie samosas. Crunchy with a delicate filling, they were full of potatoey goodness.

 Marda Gras - samosas


And some beef kabobs, seasoned with masala and oven roasted peppers.

 Marda Gras - meat balls


These were a mild disappointment. The kabobs were made out of some overly-ground beef and had a very mushy texture. The seasoning overpowered the meat and the sauce they were slathered in was simply not very good. The ‘roasted’ peppers were barely broiled on the bbq, and didn’t really offer any roasted flavor or texture.  But washed down with some Kingfisher Beer they still went down like a breakfast of champions, to the tunes of Santana played by local musicians on the patio.


And of course, the festivities weren’t complete without some mini-donuts.

 Marda Gras - mini donuts

All in all it was a great way to spend a Sunday, and I look forward to going back again.


9 comments to Marda Gras

  • I’ve never been to New Orleans (except in the Disney World). It’s so great when its festival comes to your own town, I wish we had that! Thank you for sharing!

  • admin

    I’ve never been either! But all my friends that have gone say it’s as amazing as it sounds. It’s definitely on my list of things to visit.

  • That festival looked like a lot of fun. Heck, that street looks pretty fun with all those storefronts even without the tents. Then again, Calgary is a lovely place from what I’ve seen when I meandered there years ago.

  • Linda

    Wow, what a great post. It was so detailed and had so many great photos I felt like I was right there experiencing it for myself. I definitely wouldn’t mind experiencing those veggie samosas, never even heard of those before.

  • admin

    @ Cassaendra – it was fun, sun and food. Calgary shines in it’s too short summer, and that is one neighborhood that has more personality than many.

    @ Linda – thanks for the compliment! I tried to capture a bit of it all, but the food is what held my interest the longest. 🙂 The samosas are great – crispy packets of dough with a spiced potato and pea filling. Definitely give them a try.

  • Looks like so much fun. I love these things! I would have gone just for the samosas…YUM YUM!

  • admin

    @WR – it was pretty cool. I love festivals too, we’ve got lots all summer long now, from Cari-fest to Folk-fest and everything in between. My next visit though will be to BBQ on the Bow, I love me some bbq. 🙂

  • Looks like fun! I love that kind of stuff!

  • admin

    @ Teena – me too! Especially since now we’re back to 9 degrees in Calgary, gotta take that fun in the sun while it lasts.

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