Ribs, beer and summer heat

Despite the excessive heat that had most people sun burnt and sweating this past weekend, hundreds still came out to Victoria Park in Kitchener to celebrate the Ribfest and Craft Beer Show. The event ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday and kept a steady crowd the entire time.

Admission to the event was free, but donations were accepted to Waterloo Region’s Food Bank.

The Ribfest and Craft Beer Show hosted 12 different breweries with over 50 brands to sample. Unlike admission, sampling unfortunately for the attendees, was not free.

However, contrary to most events, which serve smaller glasses of alcohol, the price of beer and wine at this show was fairly inexpensive. If someone wished to sample the different brands of alcohol all they needed to buy was a $6 wristband — good for the entire weekend — which comes with a glass for the beverages. From then on it was a dollar per drink; one dollar was made into one drink token.

“I expected it to be a lot more expensive the first time I came,” Kitchener resident, Robert Kelly said. “But honestly, a dollar a drink? I could be here all day- and I have been actually.”

Though many events held in Victoria Park are aimed towards a more family-friendly crowd, the Ribfest and Craft Beer Show could be considered a more adult-centered event. Because the event involves alcohol, people under the age of 19 were admitted only if they were accompanied by an adult — 20-year-old friends did not qualify as sufficient accompaniment by event managers.

“I’d still say it was family oriented,” Ribfest attendee and mother Shelly Harrison said. “They have games, they have rides- those are for kids, right? I don’t see many adults going on the salt and pepper shakers. I bring my kids and its fine.”

Beer, however, is not the only commodity at the show. The entire back section of the park was dedicated to multiple varieties of ribs and chicken from vendors who displayed their various tables full of trophies and ribbons proudly.

“[London, Ont. rib outfit] Jack the Ribber won last year for best ribs,” beer show participant Jackie Tremblay, said cheerfully- despite the slow moving line for ribs in the sweltering heat. “They are so delicious. But it’s not like the other vendors don’t have amazing ribs either — they have ribbons and stuff too.”

“If I had the money, I’d be sampling a lot more,” Tremblay’s friend Jeff Campbell chimed in. “I had Boss Hog’s Barbecue last year, I could definitely handle a full rack of those,” he laughed, playing off the female model displayed on the Boss Hog’s sign with the slogan, you can’t handle a full rack.

Prices for the ribs ranged from $7 for a pulled pork sandwich, to $13 for a half rack of ribs and $22 for a full rack. Chicken and vegetarian options were served at the event as well.

“So what if it’s hot,” one Ribfest attendee said shrugging. “The food is good and the beer is refreshing.”

In addition to the food and beer, live bands were also performing throughout the weekend.