Cornwall Ribfest enjoys the Taste of Success
Cornwall, ON - A combination of great food and great entertainment – together with some great weather – proved to be a recipe for success for the first-ever Cornwall Seaway Lions Club Ribfest.
An estimated crowd of over 45,000 festival goers visited Lamoureux Park over the course of the three-day event from July 27th to 29th, far exceeding organizers’ expectations.
“You can’t put it into words,” said Terry Muir of the Cornwall Seaway Lions Club.
In addition to the local residents filing into the park, organizers said they heard from people visiting from Rockland, Brockville, Ottawa, Montreal, Northern New York and other points beyond S, D & G.
One of the highlights for Mr. Muir came on Saturday night when he looked out from the Bandshell stage to see the park filled with people.
“There wasn’t a blade of grass left to sit on,” he said with a smile.
Six traveling rib teams – Texas Rangers, Smokehouse Bandits, Ribs Royale, Crabby’s BBQ Shack, Fatboy’s and The Chop Shop – provided the bulk of the attraction with their award-winning ribs, chicken and pulled pork.
The festival goers certainly brought their appetites with them – the rib teams nearly ran out of ribs on the first night and had more shipped in overnight, Mr. Muir said. The demand didn’t dwindle on Saturday night. Mr. Muir said the rib teams had to pick up chicken at local grocery stores and order additional ribs to ensure they had enough for Sunday. All told, over 10 tonnes of ribs were consumed during the festival.
“Some of the rib teams said the opening night was the best they had ever seen (at a Ribfest),” Mr. Muir added.
As part of the festival, patrons were asked to vote for their favourite rib team in a variety of categories. Crabby’s BBQ Shack cleaned up in the voting, winning every category – best ribs, best sauce, best chicken and pork and people’s choice.
In addition to the ribs, festival goers had a chance to enjoy a number of other food vendors as well as a midway by Classic Amusements and live performances by the likes of Marshall Dane and The Law, Abbamania, Ambush, Queen Flash, Switchgear, The Bayou Boys, Trench Town Oddities and more.
Mr. Muir said the vendors and midway operator were quite pleased with the turnout, and they all expressed an interest in returning. The rib teams were also thrilled with the response and they will be looking to return as well – only next time, with a larger supply of food and staff.
Mr. Muir thanked the numerous volunteers and companies who sponsored the event, and he also offered praise to Cornwall and the Counties Tourism and the City’s Parks and Landscaping Division for their assistance in promoting and supporting the festival. Last but not least, he thanked the residents who made a point of attending and supporting the event.
“Great weather, great people – this thing went off perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for better,” he said.
The organizers have yet to crunch the numbers, however Mr. Muir said if there is any profit from the event, it will be re-invested in various Lions Club projects including their current initiative to introduce vision screening in local schools.