Mardi Gras Week kicks-off in Northside

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Photo by Neil Strebig

King cake was served during the Northside Mardi Gras Week kick-off event Feb. 3 at Arnold’s Tea in Historic Deutschtown.

By Neil Strebig

There was plenty of King cake, pastries, beads and celebrating Feb. 3 at Historic Deutschtown’s Arnold’s Tea as the Northside Leadership Conference launched the start of Northside’s Mardi Gras Week.

“There’s so much energy on the Northside. Businesses do OK on their own, but when you bring them together there’s a great amount of energy. The Northside is a great place to wake up and play.” Mike Mooney, WesBanco Western Region President, said. “To be part of a celebration like this, it is just the icing on the cake.”

The week-long celebration started as dozens of local business leaders and owners helped with the kick-off event. Northside Mardi Gras week will continue through Feb. 9, concluding with a Fat Tuesday Party at the Allegheny Elks Lodge and the crowning of the Mardi Gras King, Rick Sebak of WQED.

“Sometimes these honors come out of the blue,” Sebak said of his future crowning. “To be king of Mardi Gras, I’m there.”

Sebak’s mother used to work on the Northside at Boggs and Buhl and he admits he’s always fancied coming to the festive neighborhoods.

“I’m a South Hills kid living on the East End and came to the Northside for a party,” Sebak said. “Since I was a young kid I liked the idea of a Mardi Gras party.”

The event will feature 26 restaurants, pubs and businesses across Northside offering live music, Pre-Lenten inspired foods, and of course festive drink specials. This marks the city’s first and only neighborhood wide Mardi Gras celebration.

“The goal is to expose people to place’s they’ve never been to before,” Cody Walters, NSLC Main Street Manager, said.

Walters was very proud of the fact that the Northside is the first in the city to do a neighborhood-wide celebration like this.

“The variety is tremendous and reflects the diversity of this wonderful community.”

The event is being funded by a Bizz Buzz grant from the Main Streets Program of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA). Other sponsors include WesBanco, Green Mountain Energy and Iron City Brewing. The event’s goal is to help bring positive attention to the Northside community and local businesses, where redevelopment has been surging.

This year’s participants include: Allegheny City Brewing, Allegheny Elks, Lodge, The Andy Warhol Museum, Arnold’s Tea, Carmi Family Restaurant, Chateau Café a& Cakery, Deli on North, El Burro, The Farmer’s Daughter, Friday’s Market, Huszar, James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff, Legends of the North Shore, Max’s Allegheny Tavern, The Modern Café, The Park House, The Monk’s Bar at the Priory, Penn Brewery, Priory Fine Pastries, Scratch Food & Beverage, Tracy’s Deli, Wigle Whiskey, War Streets Brewery, Young Brother’s Bar, and 3e Studios.

For more information and a schedule of live events visit the official website.

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