2nd Annual Al Fresco 104 Street Block Party

We had every intention of returning to 104 Street in the early evening to check out the Block Party festivities (including the wine tasting, fashion show, and yoga demonstration), but after our weekly trip to the City Market that morning and a few hours at the office, relaxing at home with a glass of wine before heading out for that night’s 10pm movie screening was just what I needed (both Chris and Sarah wrote about the Block Party happenings, so I was able to see what I missed).

Armed with our camping chairs, we reached 104 Street at around 9:30, which gave us enough time to wander before showtime. A DJ was on hand to add to the celebratory atmosphere, and yes, a few in the crowd were dancing in the street! Some of the vendors from the City Market were still open (Fridget and Sugar Soul hats, among them), and the patios that had been set up for the dinner hour were, not surprisingly, packed.



Blue Plate Diner’s patio

In terms of food, Sabor Divino was grilling up a storm with their chicken piri piri, while Daniel Costa of Red Star had a crostini bar open for those seeking lighter fare.

Outdoor barbecue

Kerstin’s Chocolates had a table also, fitting as the movie being shown that night was Chocolat. In addition to their Chocophilia bars, they were also selling one of their hotly-anticipated bacon and chocolate truffles, featuring bacon peanut brittle (instead of Berkshire bacon, they are using a hickory-smoked bacon from Sandy Lane this year). Cyrus was kind enough to give me one to try – the peanut butter flavour was definitely the predominant one, and though I was hard pressed to locate the bacon flavour, I can’t say that was entirely a bad thing – I still haven’t been completely won over by the bacon + chocolate combo.

Kerstin’s Chocolates table

Bacon Brittle Peanut Butter Truffle covered in chopped peanuts

Nearing 10pm, we didn’t see any evidence of a screen being set up on 104 Street. We finally asked, and were directed to the small parking lot sandwiched between the Great West Saddlery Building and the Armstrong Block. Given our biggest quibble with last year’s screening was the distraction of revellers more interested in talking than watching, this was the perfect spot located away from the outdoor patios. As the Block Party was organized as a fundraiser, however (this year benefiting the Edmonton School Lunch Program), I wished someone was out deliberately collecting money. While the silent auction run by deVine’s continues for the next week, I would have rather have deposited cash in a box to support the cause.

Outdoor movie theatre

We did enjoy ourselves though. Chocolat is a great movie, and even more so in a novel setting on one of Edmonton’s most vibrant streets on a cool summer night.

Screen after dark

I really hope this becomes an annual tradition!