Top 5 reasons Why We Like Ribfest

By Cyndy Bolton

Every year our family looks forward to the local festival schedule. I have to admit in the beginning, I was not a huge advocate. It was my husband who loved to go and see. It didn't take long for me to hop on the bandwagon and join him in enjoying such affairs. The fun, the food and the socialization were big selling points. Seeing people in our communities displaced from their usual occupations, doing what they loved to do in their spare time was kind of peculiar and interesting at the same time.

This is my list of five top reasons people praise the Big Brothers Big Sisters Ribfest. To be fair, I'll give you a bit more background on our family's involvement with Ribfest. Each of us volunteers during the event, and I also have a seat on the planning committee. It's a small seat, but my responsibilities grow a bit every year. If this position makes me biased, so be it.

5. Schedule: Ribfest is held on a regular weekend in the area, not on a long weekend when many local people plan to be away. I know when we schedule the summer of family events, when we see a long weekend coming up, we tend to plan a small getaway to Sandbanks, or another regional festival where we can plan an overnight stay.

4. "Wow" Factor: Walking amongst the Ribbers and watching them hard at work, you experience the sensual attraction of the festival. In actuality, you can experience it even before you enter the park. Ah, to be a merchant on King Street, or a nearby resident. The smoky seduction of the food must be enough to drive them mad! The overwhelming smells, sights, and sounds. The tactile nature of partaking in dinner, irresistible!

3. Free: Need I say more? I will. No tag, no ticket, no price necessary. Come and go as you please. Make your own schedule. Come once, come twice, come as much as you want to. Come and see the many activities that will cost you absolutely nothing as a participant. Bring the entire family for free. At this price, you are bound to get your monies worth.

2. Purpose a: Food. Not only does Ribfest raise awareness of this beautiful area, it serves a dual purpose. I have difficulty rating these top two points separately. I think the main draw of this event is of course, the food. Attendees come to sample the amazing array of offerings. From chicken, ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, to great quality smoothies and other vendor fare, the food is world class.

1. Purpose b: Charity. I overheard many of the patrons of the festival say as they purchased items from the vendors that "It's for the kids", and truthfully so. There is a beneficiary group to the festival which gives it a sense of guilt free indulgence. This causes people to spend more freely, making it a success for both.

I don't hold the secret to making a successful festival. I am no expert at these events, but have attended many. I listened to what visitors said as they attended the fun at Hardy Park this year. A man from Maryland said, "I coordinate my dive with this weekend so I can fully enjoy my stay." Another quote came from one of the main Ribbers, "This is very nice, I have not been able to attend with my crew before, but I see that I have missed out."

My support of this festival will continue, and my family agrees, with full tummies!