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Ribfest organizers planning another grate event

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Rib and music lovers unite!

The 17th annual Sarnia Ribfest is set to entertain the entire family on Father’s Day weekend, June 19 – 21, with new attractions, seven rib teams, 10 bands and a free kids’ zone.

This Ribfest will be a little different from previous years, says organizer Dana Piggott.

The Sarnia Kinsmen’s Club, which hosts Ribfest, has made changes to control expenses and attract larger crowds to Hiawatha Horse Park.

Ribfest moved the London Line location after Centennial Park became unavailable a few years ago due to environmental concerns.

This year, for the first time, the entire event will be held west of the big parking lot, and the midway replaced by a free kids’ zone, including inflatables, games, face painting, balloons, tattoos and superheroes.

Classic cars will be on display and an Awesome Foundation ‘Pitch Party’ held onstage.

Ribbers, some returnees and some new, will serve up succulent barbecue starting Friday at 11 a.m. There will be no Thursday activities this year, said Piggott.

She is the daughter of Ribfest founder Dave Johnston who died several months after Ribfest 2014.

“My dad loved giving back to the community and he loved being part of the Kinsmen,” Piggott said.  “That’s why I’m working so hard this year to make sure it happens.”

Proceeds support other Kinsmen activities, including the Sarnia Christmas parade.

Ribfests in Centennial Park generated strong crowds and healthy revenue but since moving to Hiawatha revenues have shrunk, and this year Ribfest lost a major sponsor.

It needs more financial assistance to keep the event free-of-charge, and Piggott said that is her goal.

“Today, for instance, I’m looking for someone to buy the helium balloons so we can give them to the kids,” she said.  “We have been struggling but we’re still optimistic we can make it work.”

Local bands include:

Friday, June 19

Corner stone, 6:30 p.m. (special appearance by Kira Jade)

Whiskey & Rain, 8:30 p.m.

Scott Manery, 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 20

Andrew Borody & Band, 4 p.m.

The Room, 6:30 p.m.

Retrospect, 8:30 p.m.

Rock Ridge, 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 21

The Overtones, 12 noon

Dressed to Kill, 2:30 p.m.

Stevie D/SFX, 4:30 p.m.

Also on Saturday, (open 11 a.m. – midnight): 

Rise 2 Fame Talent Competition, in connection with Western Fair, 10:30 a.m.

Stories and songs with Cinderella, 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. followed by a meet-and-greet;

Awesome Foundation Pitch Party, 1:30 p.m.

Hip Hop Dance Lessons, all ages, 3 p.m.

Displays from Sarnia Street Machines and Canadian Motorcycle Club all afternoon.

On Sunday, Father’s Day (open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Contests for dad and winner of the Boss of Sauce competition to win coveted rib judging positions.

Know of someone or something making a contribution to Sarnia’s cultural scene? Contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or [email protected]

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