2011 River City Round Up: Food, Festivities and the City Market

Though we were disappointed that there was no cattle drive at this year’s River City Round Up kick-off, it’s always a treat to watch horses walking through the streets of downtown Edmonton.

River City Round Up

Last Saturday, Mack and I watched the parade on a crisp fall day. The crowds were modest, though I think most people were situated closer to Churchill Square.

River City Round Up

The wee donkey near the start of the procession was hard to beat, but it was clear all of the participants were having a blast. I also loved hearing the sound of hoofs against the pavement, the clip-clop that echoed down the block.

River City Round Up

River City Round Up

The rear cavalry

Churchill Square was party central, with a stage set-up alongside vendors and food trucks.

River City Round Up

Inflatable welcome

River City Round Up

It’s only a bull

Drift had created a sandwich just for the event – Nature’s Green Acres braised beef with a house-made whisky BBQ sauce and crispy onions ($7.50). It was delicious, and if I had the opportunity to try it a few more times, might become my favourite Drift sandwich!

River City Round Up

Braised beef sandwich from Drift

The Lingnan Express was also on hand (if you’re curious about how the truck came to be, check out this episode of The Quon Dynasty online). We hung out with Miles and Ajit for a bit inside, and warmed up with a sample of their won ton soup. The broth in particular was great – Miles said thirty chicken carcasses went into the soup!

River City Round Up

Miles loves kettle corn

Towards City Hall, there were pony and wagon rides, crafts and balloons for kids, and even square dancing!

River City Round Up

Pony rides

The City Market was going on, as usual, inside City Hall. It seemed busier than usual, no doubt the beneficiary of all of the festivities outside. It was great to have Martin Kerr on hand to set the tone inside – his voice does wonders of bringing the street to the hall.

River City Round Up

City Room

We were able to pick up some of what we needed, but what is still lacking is produce (Kuhlmann’s, Doef’s Greenhouses, Greens, Eggs and Ham, and Steve & Dan’s were on hand last week). I recognize that it is a chicken-egg argument, and that a consistent customer base is needed to support more vendors (and we reside in a northern climate where produce selection in general in the winter months will be limited), but the selection isn’t great. I will be patient, knowing it will take time to grow the year-round component of the City Market, and hopefully others will be as well.

This was the first of three Saturdays where Churchill Square will be the hub of activity – tomorrow will see the Olde Time Fair on the Square, and next week, possibly my favourite Christmas event in the city – the Holiday Light Up on the Square. See you there!

You can take a look at Mack’s photo set here.

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