|Rib Fest set to feed, entertain thousands|
|Monday, July 29, 2013 12:17 AM|
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT — For many people, barbecue ribs are a passion. Those people are in for a treat again this year.
For the seventh time, the Van Wert Ribfest will not only feed a few thousand people this coming weekend but will also entertain them as well on Friday and Saturday. This mix of food, fun and music has grown from its beginnings in 2007, taking on side events like the Wiffleball homerun derby and pig races, while still keeping the spotlight on the vendors, food and entertainment.
Aside from fighting off some wet weather in the past couple of years, those attending have had plenty to make them happy.
The preparations began nearly a year ago as the Rib Fest Committee laid out events and entertainers. Larry Lee, executive director of the Van Wert Convention and Visitors Bureau, said his group was happy with the event as it was planned last year.
“The Rib Fest is an important source of income for the bureau, as well as an opportunity for the entire community to come together for some great fun, great food and great entertainment,” he said. “Other than adjusting the hours of the Rib Fest, most of the event will remain unchanged.”
Storms and high winds forced the Saturday night entertainment to be canceled in 2012 The same headliner was booked for 2013 — The Earthquakers. This area will finally get to hear this band live after the storm kept them from taking the stage last year.
Other performers at the Rib Fest will be Bad Advice, Mo Blues Band and Boom Swang, who all play Friday night, and Section Ate as well as Double Kik, who will join The Earthquakers for the Saturday night lineup.
Of course, the main drawing card for the event is the chance to sample ribs from six of the area’s finest rib specialists. Among the vendors are Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ of Convoy, Manley Meats of Decatur, Ind., and Pork Brothers BBQ of Lima, along with Low & Slow BBQ and Smoke Shack BBQ.
To go with the ribs, other treats will be available from A Little Slice of Heaven, Annie’s Concessions, C & J Shaved Ice, Mike’s Wisconsin Cheese Curds and Sycamore of Van Wert. Other vendors include Grill Gear, Saucy Shows and Sportsflipper.com.
Van Wert Rib Fest has taken on more activities during the weekend. The Tug-Of-War Challenge began as an exhibition but this year the teams are in it for real. Competition begins at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Youth Wiffleball Tournament starts the day Saturday at 8 a.m. although the Wiffleball Home Run Derby will take place Friday night at 6 p.m.
Sticking to theme, the pig races are back this year hosted by the YWCA of Van Wert County. Six races will take place beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the covered Show Arena. Each race features 12 pigs, each with individual names and sponsors. Participants can place a $2 wager on their choice or choices of pigs. All proceeds from this event will go to support the Transitional Living Program and Domestic Violence Services of the YWCA.
Registration forms for the Youth Wiffleball Tournament, the Corn Hole Tournament, the Tug-of-War Challenge, the Wiffleball Homerun Derby and the Rib Relay are available at the CVB office at 136 E. Main Street in Van Wert.
Lee reminds area businesses that they can join the elite group of sponsors by pledging from $250 up to $1,500. Special sponsorship packages are available at four different levels of support. Those interested in becoming a Rib Fest sponsor can call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 419-238-9378.
Lee also reminds organizers of class reunions that they can avoid extra expenses by holding their class reunion at the Rib Fest. For $300, the Rib Fest will provide classes with a tent, tables, chairs and half-off admission and members can enjoy all the Rib Fest has to offer. For more information, call the CVB at the above telephone number.
Lee reported that the gates would open at 5 p.m. on Friday and at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Activities will continue both days until midnight. Admission will remain at $2 per person ages 11 and older. There will be no charge for parking.