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The drive-thru Santa parade worked. Why not Ribfest?

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Troy Shantz

Fans of barbecue won’t have to leave their cars this year to get a fill of mouth-watering rib and chicken, say organizers of the Sarnia Kinsmen Ribfest.

The 22nd annual event will feature three different “ribbers” and at least one fry truck when the Lambton College parking lot is transformed into a giant drive-thru June 18-20.

“The health department approved it before we did anything, said event chair Jack Struck.

“We’re following the COVID-19 rules to the T. We did a lot of research, and once we had all the answers to all the questions the club said, “Let’s go for it.’”

Cars will line up at the London Road entrance before orders are placed on-site. Volunteers will deliver meals to the cars, and patrons can either take them home or visit one of 40 separate 10×10-foot tents set up onsite for individual families, he said.

Soft drinks and bottled water will also be available at the Father’s Day weekend event.

But the pandemic meant cancelling the usual mingling and live entertainment, Struck said.

Money raised at the Kinsmen Ribfest benefits more than 30 local charities, including the Santa Claus and Canada Day parades.

Last year, Ribfest and Canada Day festivities were both scrubbed because of COVID-19.

But a drive-thru Santa Claus parade in December was a big success and raised more than $18,000 in donations, nonperishable food and teddy bears, the Kinsmen said.

Among those to benefit from that generosity were the St. Vincent de Paul, Inn of the Good Shepherd, Salvation Army and River City Sanctuary.

“Over the years the Kinsmen have raised over $1 million dollars for our community and supported many local initiatives.” said Vicky Praill, special events co-ordinator at Tourism Sarnia Lambton.

“With the continued support from our community, sponsors and the thousands of visitors that attend each year; they will continue to give back.”

Stuck said the club has received many more requests than it can possibly meet this year.

“We’re just hoping people will help us, and donate in the buckets,” he said.



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