Ribfest season returns to Mississauga

If it’s summer, then it’s ribfest season on Ontario. About 2 million visitors are expected at one of the about 65 ribfests across the province this season. Towns as small as Gananoque, as isolated as Owen Sound, Timmins and Cornwall all have ribfests of their own.

Mississauga’s very own Ribfest is hosted by the Rotary Clubs from the region and is set for July 12 to 14 at Memorial Park in Port Credit.

“This is the not to be missed event of the Summer!” said event chair, Young Ngo.

The festival is expected to draw 75,000 guests and likewise serve nearly 75,000 pounds of barbeque cuisine. Each Ribfest is built around the idea of a contest between vendors for who can serve the most delicious barbecued ribs. Among this year’s 9 competing ribbers are many award winning methods of preparing and serving slow-smoked, ribs of both beef and pork, as well as chicken and sausages.

The weekend culminates with the coveted awards ceremony on the afternoon of 14th. Of course the fun of a Ribfest might centred around the ribs, but there’s generally much more to it.

You definitely don’t want to eat much ahead of time,” says event coordinator Christina Dawidowicz. “You might want to stretch your visit across two meals, there are just so many fabulous options.”

Of course, if there are folks attending with a rib fan but don’t themselves enjoy barbecue as much, there are many other food options. There will be many additional food vendors offering alternative and even vegetarian choices. This to say nothing of the ice cream and other desserts that are readily available too.

There are also dozens of choices when it comes to beverages. Craft style beer, wine, lemonades, soda and smoothies will be available throughout the park.

While you may have come to eat, there is always much more to do at these events and Mississagua’s Ribfest is no exception.

There will be live music performances throughout the weekend. Headliners include the rock and funk sounds of The Dreamboats, roadhouse style blues by Johnny Max, and the powerhouse voice of Krista Blondin paying tribute to the women of music. Altogether, 12 bands will keep your toes tapping through the weekend.

“We try to put a very local spin on the entertainment,” eplains Dawidowicz. “With so much talent in the region we booked as many local artists as possible.”

New to the fest this year is an interactive Fun Zone. This all ages area focuses on hands-on fun for families and friends. There will be inflatables strong enough for adults to play on too, a 25 foot tall rock climbing wall, face painting, and more. There’s even an axe throwing activity although this is limited to adults only.

As if this weren’t enough, there are also many non-food related vendors and exhibitors as well as a VIP courtesy area with front-of-the-line access to the ribbers. The VIP area is sponsored by White Oak Ford Lincoln.

“Each summer, we try to create an incredible long weekend of fun and feasting for the residents of Mississauga and beyond,” says Young. “Our volunteers contribute an incredible 4000 plus hours at this event, to help us further the Rotary mission of giving back and supporting our local community.”

And give back they do, the proceeds from this years festival will go to groups covered under the weekend’s theme of Community Wellness. The Trillium Partners Foundation, The Compass- Homeless Project, and Mississauga Arts Council -Youth at Risk Program will each see donations from the event.

The Amacon Mississauga Rotary Ribfest runs from July 12 to 14 at Memorial Park in Port Credit.
More details can be found at mississaugaribfest.com

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