It’s time to get your wet-naps out, put on your looser pants, and get ready to eat lots of food, as Orangeville’s 6th Annual Ribfest kicks into gear this Friday. While the event is still in its early years, the growth of attendance throughout each year has spoken volumes of its popularity, with last year finishing at over 16,000 people in attendance – more than half the population of Orangeville. “It’s been incredible to see the support from the community over the years, as it continues to grow,” said Ingrid Sproxton, Orangeville Rotary Club spokes person. “Our sponsorship has nearly doubled this year for the event.” Ribfest began as a way to raise funds to help support a new splash pad at Fendley Park, which was recently completed and opened to the public. Although it is open this already, there are still some final costs
involved, which is what the money will go towards from this year’s event as well. “I think that’s part of why we’ve seen an increase in sponsorship this year,” said Ms. Sproxton. “Not just because the event has done so well, but because the Splash Pad is now open – they can actually see what the money is going towards.” This year’s event will feature six ribbers – four returning, and two new – to delight your taste-buds and fill your stomach full of barbecued wonders. Along with past favourites Blazin BBQ, Boss Hogs, Gator BBQ and Pistol Pete’s Smokehouse, attendants will also get to try out Billy Bones and Crazy Canuk’s Smokers as they’re welcomed to the line-up. “It’s a very similar event to last year’s, with live entertainment, vendors, and even more bands,” said Ms. Sproxton. “Along with local favourites, Campfire Poets, who will play Saturday night, the lineup will also feature local band Itchy N Scratchy.” The event will also feature 3 dog shows, two demonstration’s from Tom’s Martial Arts, and free cupcakes all day on Sunday to celebrate the opening of the Splash Pad. The midway, with rides and carnival games, will also make a return to this year’s event. Saturday afternoon, Ribfest’s guest judges will begin their tasting of each of the six Ribbers ribs and sauces at 1:00 p.m. in the shade tent, where they will cast their votes for their favourite Ribbers, with the announcement of the winners and the people’s choice awards being announced at 3 p.m. on Sunday. One of the most anticipated parts of Ribfest, the Classic Car Show, will make its return on Saturday, from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m.. Last year, even a bit of rain couldn’t scare away to most hardcore of enthusiasts, who showed up despite rolling thunderstorms and showers to show off their cars. “We’ve been spreading word about the event at our Wednesday night shows, and everybody is quite interested,” said David Murphy, Business Relations Manager at MacMaster Buick GMC, and new head of the Cruisin’ on First Car shows. “We even have a lot of out-of-towners with unique cars interested, including one with a DeLorean.” Although the car show at Ribfest has always been run by The Road Hazards Car Club in the past, with leaders Bruce and Lorraine Parkinson stepping down, Mr. Murphy has stepped up to run the events. The Parkinsons are
still playing a key role in assisting with the show, as well as setting up the car judging contest by the Ribbers. “Bruce and Lorraine have really done so much for the car community,” said Danny Brackett, President of MacMaster and a member of the Rotary Club. “We want to see what they’ve created continue to grow, and it’s great to have them a part of it still.” The awards have always been a fun and unique part of the event, with each of the Ribbers in attendance choosing their favourite car from the show, and presenting the owner with an award designed to reflect the theme of their specific rib venue. This year, there will also be a community pick award, where those in attendance can cast their vote for their favourite vehicle. “This will be the fourth year that the car show has been at Ribfest, and it continues to grow on the momentum that started the first year,” said Mr. Murphy. “There’s tons of car people in the area, [Orangeville] is really a great car community. It brings everyone
ntogether, and is central to the smaller communities, where many people seem to have great cars hidden away.” Although the car show will be weather permitting, Mr. Murphy has high hopes that it is going to be an exciting and well attended event. As for Ribfest, this year, as they aim once again for growth in attendance, the Rotary Club will be giving away a free rib dinner to the 20,000th visitor to Ribfest.
Written & Photos by Tabitha Wells