Big fun under the big top at Carnival Cocktails for Cancer

Fundraising event promises creative cocktails and delicious nibblies from some of Calgary’s best restaurants for an incredibly good cause.

Step right up, step right up. You’re about to be shocked and amazed.

Or, at the very least, very entertained and incredibly well-fed.

Carnival Cocktails for Cancer is back and better than ever as some of the top restaurants and bars in the city are dishing up creative cocktails and delicious nibbles inspired by midway fare under a fabulous version of the big top.

Now in its third year, Carnival has its best-ever line-up of establishments participating, including three spots that haven’t yet opened and a bartender flying in from Vancouver’s Shameful Tiki Room.

This fun and fabulous event is a riot of colour and entertainment as guests are encouraged to put on their best or favourite outrageous outfits or formal duds and then explore the “midway” of food and drinks as DJ Carl Cassidy plays musical ringmaster.

Almost two dozen bars and restaurants will be on hand serving up goodies, from Proof and Sugar Water to Rouge, Ten Foot Henry and Brasserie Kensington. Three Calgary spots set to open later this year – Donna Mac, Two Penny and Calcutta Cricket Club – will also be on hand for a bit of a sneak peek into their restaurant concepts and food.

Coming in from Vancouver will be Shea Hogan, a top bartender who mixes cocktails at the famed Shameful Tiki Room, while Edmonton will be represented by Bar Clementine.

While the aim is fun and frivolity, you can’t overlook the great cause underlying this event. Last year, Carnival Cocktails for Cancer raised more than $70,000 for cancer research in Alberta and the aim is to raise even more this time around. This year, all proceeds will support the work of Dr. Stephen Robbins and Dr. Donna Senger at Foothills Medical Clinic as they continue research into inhibiting the spread of cancer cells.

Carnival will unfold at the Hotel Arts on Sunday, May 28th from 7 to 10 p.m.

For more information, head to or follow along on Twitter @yyccocktails.

The all-inclusive tickets are $150 can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Gwendolyn Richards is a Calgary-based food writer and the author of Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers. She regularly contributes to Avenue magazine, the Calgary Herald and is the restaurant writer for Where Calgary. She already has her outfit picked out for this event.