Cornwall Ribfest underway

Ribber Jessica Kefalidis of Fat Boy's Barbecue slathers sauce on a rack of ribs Thursday, July 21, 2016 during the opening of the fifth annual Cornwall Ribfest. There are six ribbers on site this year. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – People were heading to Lamoureux Park hours before the fifth annual Cornwall Seaway Lions Ribfest was ready to start.

And hungry patrons will have more opportunities to fill those appetites as Ribfest has expanded to four days this year, up from three.

“As you can see we’re not even officially open yet, people were coming early. I was getting phone calls from the Lions, can we start selling ribs now? Can we start selling beer?,” Ribfest chairman John Lucio chuckled, as he met with reporters an-hour-and-a-half before the opening ceremonies.

“The enthusiasm, the eagerness is there in the community as you can see (people) lining up.”

There are a half dozen ribbers this year, 36 vendors and around a dozen food vendors in Lamoureux Park.

One ribber noticeably absent this year is Pig Kahuna Island BBQ, which Lucio said is a favourite with some of the locals.

“We have a lot of new vendors this year. There’s definitely a lot of word of mouth (attracting) vendors that have come on this year. We lost some vendors (due to illness)…there’s a lot of eager vendors (filling those spaces),” Lucio said.

New this year is a free kids zone, plus you can vote for your favourite ribs through your smartphone using QR codes on signs in the park.

Flames lick around a rack of ribs at Crabby's B.B.Q. Shack Thursday, July 21, 2016 at Cornwall Ribfest. A half dozen ribbers are on site in Lamoureux Park through Sunday. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
Flames lick around a rack of ribs at Crabby’s B.B.Q. Shack Thursday, July 21, 2016 at Cornwall Ribfest. A half dozen ribbers are on site in Lamoureux Park through Sunday. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

And what’s it like being the lead guy of a popular rib festival?

“It’s was quite challenging. Last year I was the vendor/coordinator. This year I’m the vendor/coordinator and the Ribfest coordinator so I had twice as much running around. But fortunately I was provided with a golf cart this year. My feet are already blistered. They were blistered before the golf cart got here,” Lucio joked.

“I’m running on adrenaline,” Lucio added, as he complemented the “great crew” of 10 Cornwall Seaway Lions Club members that keep the event in check.

While enjoying the ribs, Lucio wants people to remember the event is also helping out people in the local community.

People like sharp shooter Mary Patrick, who received $7,000 earlier this year from the Cornwall Seaway Lions Club to help her achieve her Olympic dream – she will be at Ribfest this weekend.

“That’s what this is all about. It’s bringing money in to back to help out the local community,” Lucio said.

Ribfest runs today through Saturday 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

More details are on the Cornwall Ribfest Facebook page.

Order up! Some ribs are ready for tasting at Crabby's B.B.Q. Shack in Lamoureux Park. The Cornwall Seaway Lions Ribfest runs through Sunday. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
Order up! Some ribs are ready for tasting at Crabby’s B.B.Q. Shack in Lamoureux Park. The Cornwall Seaway Lions Ribfest runs through Sunday. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
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