Ribfest

Rotary Ribfest has requests approved, looking for 2019 location

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 9th annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest is returning to Centennial Park July 6-8, and the town is offering some help to organizers in presenting it.

However, the Ribfest committee is seeking additional help from the town in securing a location for next year’s event.

Carl Gibb and Laura George, both members of the Rotary Ribfest committee, appeared before town council and had the first two of their requests granted. Town council agreed to waive the fees for use of the park and also will allow them to use nine sign posts for 28 days prior to the event instead of 14 days, as stated in the town’s sign bylaw.

The latter was a point of concern for Councillor Joan Courtney, who worried the town would be setting a precedent. She suggested three weeks prior to the event instead of four, but the Ribfest committee members said they had four weeks for the sign posts last year.

Gibb said they have been looking for a 2019 location, as this year will be the final year at Centennial Park due to a portion of it being sold to the Greater Essex County District School Board for a new public high school. Gibb said they need approximately four acres and have yet to come across a suitable site.

“Council has to decide whether they want it or not,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer suggested the Libro Centre, stating there is room for festivals there, but Gibb said part of the attraction of Centennial Park is it has fencing. Fencing costs rise three times if it is moved to any other site, he said.

CAO John Miceli said the fencing and track will be removed from Centennial Park as condition of sale with the Greater Essex County District School Board. He said he will work with Gibb and the committee to try and find a suitable location. He added there are 178 acres at the Libro Centre that can still be developed.

Numerous local events, festivals and sites of for TWEPI “Best of Windsor-Essex” awards

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A number of Amherstburg sites, events and businesses have been nominated for Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) awards but they need the support of the public to win them.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest has been nominated in the “Best Local Festival – Food & Drink” category but people have to vote for them online at www.bestofwindsoressex.ca.

The Ribfest is in its ninth year and committee chair Carl Gibb said the idea originated from current Rotary Club president Dan Hunt. As many as 15,000 people have attended in some years with the hope this year being for 20,000 people.

“It feels good to be recognized,” said committee member Laura George.

George said the Ribfest is evidence that good things happen when people work together. She added the

Gibb said this year’s festival, planned for July 6-8, will see the committee “ramping up the food choices and entertainment level.” Proceeds from the Ribfest will be put towards “a major project for the town.”

Over 150 volunteers are needed annually for Ribfest. Those interested in volunteering for this year’s Ribfest can contact George at 519-982-2684.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest is one of the Amherstburg-related business, festivals, sites or organizations up for a “Best of Windsor-Essex” award.

Other nominees include a former winner in the Gibson Gallery. The Gibson Gallery is nominated in the favourite art gallery or art space category. Art by the River is nominated in the Best Local Festival – Arts category. In the Best Local Festival – Community Holiday Event category, the River Lights Winter Festival is one of the nominees.

There are two Amherstburg nominees in the Best Museum/Heritage Space category. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum and Fort Malden National Historic Site are up for that award. Fort Malden is also nominated in the Best Local Attraction – Historical category and the Best Photo Op category, with Navy Yard Park also being nominated for the latter.

The Fort Family Fun Centre can be voted for the Best Family Friendly Attraction.

Nominated in the Best Cultural or Heritage District category is the Amherstburg historical district. The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce received a nomination in the Best Shopping District category.

An “Art of the Cocktail” nomination went to Wolfhead Distillery while Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery received a nomination in the Best Local Winery category. Maria’s Restaurant was nominated in the Best Breakfast category while the Best Burger section saw Gilligan’s get a nomination.

Three pizza restaurant chains with Amherstburg locations received nominations in the Best Pizza category, with those including Armando’s, Capri and Naples.

The River Canard Canoeing Company was nominated in the Best On the Water Activity category while the King’s Navy Yard Park received nominations for the Best Picnic Spot and Best Park/Garden awards.

Wildwood Golf & RV Resort and Willowood RV Resort each received nominations for Best Cottage and Best Campground with the latter also having Holiday Beach nominated.

Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering is up for Best Sandwich Shop while the Bondy House is up for Best Bed & Breakfast.

Voting is underway and runs through March 11 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be announced by TWEPI April 17. People can only vote once per e-mail.

Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest draws over 13,500 people

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest was held over the weekend with a strong crowd of 13,513 people in attendance.

The three-day event took place in Centennial Park with four ribbers – Ribs Royale, Memphis Blazin’ BBQ, Dinosaur BBQ Pit and Texas Rangers – and a variety of craft vendors, children’s activities and other food and drink vendors participating.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

“Except for Friday night when we had to evacuate everyone for safety reasons (due to a storm), it’s been a great weekend,” said Carl Gibb, an Amherstburg Rotarian and chair of the Rotary’s Ribfest committee. “The support from the community, as always, has been fantastic.”

Gibb noted the variety of food and crafts and “everyone seems happy.”

“Overall, it was a great weekend,” added Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George. “The attendees we had came and enjoyed the ribs. We definitely thank everyone for coming out because without them, the Rotary Club and Ribfest committee couldn’t have pulled off this weekend.”

Gibb and George thanked the committee, the volunteers, sponsors and all who participated in the three-day event. They also thanked the town of Amherstburg for waiving the fees to use Centennial Park and the equipment and for relaxing restrictions on the sign bylaw to help them promote the Ribfest.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

“It’s nice to know that, in the end, they know the value of what this festival brings to town and that they know the work of the Rotary Club,” said George.

The Ribfest was up against two other events in the area – including the Fork & Cork in Windsor and the Essex Fun Fest – but the Amherstburg event still managed to draw a strong crowd.

“It says a lot about the town of Amherstburg,” said George.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

George acknowledged the break-in that occurred to the grounds early Saturday morning that saw items stolen from several vendors. She said they are working with the Amherstburg Police Service to resolve the matter and extra security was brought on board for the next night.

Gibb pointed out they put all proceeds back into the Amherstburg community. He noted such Rotary projects as the fully accessible playground at Toddy Jones Park, the Miracle League field at the Libro Centre and the acquisition of 600 carbon monoxide detectors that will go into those in the homes of vulnerable residents. The latter project is in conjunction with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Fire Department.

The Memphis Blazin’ BBQ was the only ribber that hadn’t been to Amherstburg before but they liked what they saw.

The band Moondog Howlers perform Saturday night at the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

The band Moondog Howlers perform Saturday night at the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

“I’m loving it,” said Matthew Kershaw, as he prepared ribs Friday night. “This town is awesome.”

Those who attended enjoyed it as well, with people from Windsor-Essex County and beyond coming to Amherstburg.

“It was nice. I enjoyed it,” said Bernadette Kuzniak of Belle River. “The ribs were good and so was the sauce.

Kuzniak attended with her husband Norm and it was their first time to the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest after moving back to the area from Waterloo.

“The music is not too bad,” added Norm.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone sinks  his teeth into some of the ribs during judging held July 9.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone sinks his teeth into some of the ribs during judging held July 9.

Kevin Girard and Kait Fox of Tecumseh also enjoyed themselves.

“We love it,” said Girard. “Our stomachs are full and our fingers are sticky.”
Fox added they were at the Ribfest several years ago and said they plan on coming back.

The Ribfest also drew people from a family reunion, including those from Sugar Grove, Illinois and Jackson, Mississippi.

Arthur Davis, from Jackson, said they stopped in as they were driving back to the United States and wanted to try the Ribfest. Sharon Phillips added they found people in town to be “very friendly” and they gave the experience “two thumbs up.”

“It’s been a beautiful experience,” she said.

Amherstburg police investigate thefts at Ribfest

 

 

The Amherstburg Police Service is looking for help after thefts were reported from the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

Amherstburg police state that three youths were involved early Saturday morning around 4:30 a.m. One youth allegedly distracted a security guard at the front gate while two more entered the grounds and allegedly stole from two vendors.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

One vendor had roughly $300 of merchandise including T-shirts, fidget spinners and other goods taken while about $1,000 in goods was stolen from another tent. The latter saw cell phone items such as cases and cables taken.

The youths, described as white males roughly 14 to 15-years-old, fled on foot and were last seen heading southbound on Fryer St.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-2252 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477).

Ribfest bringing ribs and entertainment to town this weekend

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

With free admission and parking, chair of the Rotary Ribfest committee Carl Gibb ensures this weekend will be a fun time.

“This is our 8th year and this year we have new bouncy rides for the kids and we have a rock climbing wall, and everything else is pretty well the same as we have had before,” said Gibb. “We will have four ribbers, they come from all over Ontario, and we have the Golden Onion, they come in out of Montreal so people are wanting to come here.”

Gibb said two years ago, they were up to 15,000 people at Ribfest.

In addition to the food and kids attractions, another big focal point of the Rib Fest is the entertainment. With a list of nine incredible bands this year, there won’t be a quiet moment.

Saturday dinner-time entertainers will be the Stanley Brown Blues Band. Hailing from London, the group has been playing for several years and have a wide range of music at their disposal. Stanley Brown himself brings more than 30 years of experience to the stage, which is rooted in blues styles including blues rock and swing blues.

“We’ve played Ribfest several times and were requested to come back this year,” said Brown. “We love playing this event and are very happy to be a part of it and watch it grow every year. It is a very well run event and they make it very easy and pleasant for us. Our band is very well received in Amherstburg.”

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Wrapping up the entertainment Saturday evening will be the Moondog Howlers Band, which is a rocking blues band. With a group of musicians who have played locally for some time, the band came together approximately six years ago with the goal of becoming an original recording act. Dwayne Purdy explains the summer opens up many outdoor festivals and they are fortunate to have been booked at Ribfest.

“Ollie Marcoux ran into us a few years ago in London,” said Purdy. “He was judging the IBC contest we had entered, and was very complimentary to us after our set, we have since changed our name. Stan Brown, whose talented band is also playing Ribfest, put in a good word to Ollie for us, which was very gracious on his part. However, Stan was using our current name, so Ollie didn’t realize it was us. Once he put two-and-two together, he chose to book us. We are so happy that he did.”

While the entertainment is free with your admission to the festival, any donations made to the Amherstburg Rotary Club are always appreciated. Gibb explained the funds raised last year were used to purchase more than 600 carbon monoxide detectors for low income residents and those people in need of carbon monoxide detectors in Amherstburg. He said it was a big expense, and every year they’re just going to pick a project put some money back into the community.

The ribs start grilling at Centennial Park Friday at noon and will stop Sunday at 7 p.m.

The Rotary’s Ribfest committee has also started its own Twitter feed. Find them on Twitter at @AburgRibfest.