The Sarnia Kinsmen Ribfest is coming home to Centennial Park.
“Everything is falling into place,” said Jack Struck, co-chair of the event and a Kinsmen Club of Sarnia member.
“We have regular meetings and everybody on the committee is working 110% to make sure this is one of the most successful events we’ve ever had.”
The festival July 7-9 will feature six different ‘ribbers,’ live music from local bands, vendors and inflatables with all the money reinvested back into the community, said Struck.
“Our model is ‘serving our communities greatest needs,’ and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We believe in it, and we look forward to helping out the community,” said Struck.
Among other things, the Kinsmen support the Canada Day parade, Santa Claus parade, Huron House Boys home and Salvation Army.
“We have a big list of people in this community that we like to support and help,” he said. “That’s where our money goes.”
The Kinsmen re-entry means Sarnia will have two rib festivals this summer.
Sarnia Rib Fest, organized by a company called Northern Heat Rib Series, is scheduled for Labour Day weekend Sept. 1-4 at Hiawatha Horse Park.
The Kinsmen held its event in Centennial Park from 1999 to 2013, but after contamination was found in the park’s soil shifted to Hiawatha the next two years.
When the service club canceled its event in 2016, Northern Heat Rib Series stepped in and organized a rib festival at Hiawatha last September that helped raise money for three local charities. Organizers say they are looking to build on that success and expand to include a “backyard games’ section for adults this year.
Struck said feedback about the original Ribfest returning to Centennial Park has been positive.
“They’re very happy with the fact that we’re coming downtown because it’s going to be easier to get to,” he said.
“We’re going to have more of a family atmosphere, and that’s what they look for.”