Day of the dog
The wieners were roasting and the bands were rockin’. Few better ways to spend a Saturday if you ask Tubby Dog manager Megan Kirk.
The only difference from the normal punk-rock shows that the famous hot dog venue on 17th Avenue — known for such gourmet hot dog creations as the Cap’n Crunch dog, a hot dog smothered in peanut butter, jelly and the sweet crunchy cereal — is that this party was held outdoors at Tomkins Park.
“Hopefully it’s something that can happen all the time, not just for us but other small businesses who say ‘well I want to put on a party, let’s do it,’ and the more this happens the more we break the city down,” said Kirk, who gently refers to the conception of the first Tubby Day as her “baby.”
Kirk, who was hired on as the first official Tubby Dog employee four years ago, began hosting punk rock bands inside the small diner diner last year on Thursday and Saturday nights.
“I always had to work those nights so I was missing all the shows,” she said. “I figured I’ll just push some tables out of the way and pay (the bands) in hot dogs and beer and it will be awesome.”
Now she is flooded with up 25 emails per week from local bands and others passing through town requesting some time to perform under the Tubby spotlight.
“That’s what gave me the idea,” Kirk continued, “I thought it would be really cool if we could take this out of the restaurant because our capacity is only like 60 . . . I thought why don’t we take it to the park and see how it goes.”
And thus a day of hot dogs and headbanging was born. Nine local bands signed up for the roughly eight-hour concert, including headliners Hot Little Rocket. Uptown 17th supported the idea fully, purchasing the use of a massive grill from Tao Events a local non-profit that feeds those in need around the city. A portion of the proceeds from Tubby Day went to the charity.
To see a Tubby Dog devoured from start to finish click here.
“We had no problem filling the lineup and getting the community on-board,” said Kyle Ramsay, a three-year veteran “hot dog baron.” “It’s really refreshing to hear bands, who normally would make money playing other shows, come to us willing to play for free.”
Ramsay explained that while he “moonlights as a hot dog artist” twice a week he, himself, is also an avid fan of the product.
“It fills me up,” says Ramsay, patting his stomach. “While it is hurting my physique, I only work there two days per week now so I should be alright.”
The most popular dog that he serves up to ambitious customers each night is the A-Bomb. Best described as a coronary waiting to happen, the A-Bomb consists of mustard, ketchup, mayo, bacon, potato chips and space cheese.
The 20-year-old describes his tenure at Tubby Dog as the “best job I have ever had, period.” Both he and Kirk see Calgary’s arts scene as an emerging force that will likely continue to grow in the years to come.
“I think it’s got a lot of possibilities,” Kirk said. “Ten years ago kids used to grow up and just walk away from Calgary, head to Vancouver, Montreal, which is understandable because not a lot was going on here.
“I think now the possibilities are growing, it’s still a really conservative city but the kids are getting sick of it.”
For now, the staff at Tubby Dog will continue to do their part by planning more shows and events. This coming week, the venue will host live music every night from Tuesday-Sunday as part of Sled Island festival.