Northumberland Ribfest


by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Ribfest in the Park…

The rain was falling lightly when we arrived at Victoria Park. The event we were visiting was the Northumberland Ribfest which was being presented and hosted by the Rotary Club of Cobourg. The Park, which is located on the shores of Lake Ontario and forms part of Cobourg’s fabulous waterfront, had been set up for the 2nd annual Ribfest. After we had parked our vehicle on one of the Park’s side streets, we walked to the front entrance on Queen Street. Sitting at the entrance was my old friend Bill Patchett who was there promoting one of Rotary International’s main projects, the worldwide elimination of Polio. Bill is deeply involved with the fund raising side of the project. Judi and I stopped for a few moments to say hello and then we moved on into the Ribfest enclosure. It was still fairly early, so we were one of the first visitors. The Rotarians were putting the finishing touches on the eating area chairs and tables. On the eastern perimeter of the Park, Ribbers had set up their cooking stations. The smell of open fired barbeques filled the air. We decided to walk by each to see what they were offering. The names of each Ribber rose high on signs overhead, along with their Ribfest accomplishments. Ribfests are not just a place for people to eat, they are an extravaganza in which the countries best Ribbers can show off (and boast) their talents. There were six Ribbers at this event, up from the success of the previous year. The Ribbers name’s included “Billy Bones BBQ”, “Silver Bullet BBQ”, “Bone Daddy’s Barbeque”, “Boss Hoggs”, “Bibb’s BBQ” and “Uncle Sam’s BBQ”! The ribs and chicken were still cooking, so we decided to continue our walk around the Park.

The Set Up…

We had walked passed the Ribbers and were now headed towards the southern end of Victoria Park. This is where the Bandshell is located. Preparations were in progress for the musical performances that were going to take place that evening. Along eastern side of the park refreshment tents had been erected. Everything looked ready for the crowds that were expected! In the centre of the park long tables, with chairs, had been set up for hungry Northumberland Ribfest visitors. Rotary volunteers were making last minute adjustments and were wiping off remnants of the rain that had just fallen. With Ribbers still preparing their barbeques and food for the Ribfest, Judi and I decided to check out the amusement area that had been set-up just south of the park enclosure. Midway enthusiasts had yet to arrive, so there was a serene atmosphere as we walked through! It was the “lull before the storm”! The amusement operators were huddled around in small groups, eagerly waiting for their first customers! Having explored the midway area, it was time to go back to the park to enjoy the music and the food!

Let The Party Begin!

A few minutes after we had re-entered the park area, the music began. We found a table close to the Bandshell and listened. Ribfest visitors soon started to arrive. Judi and I decided we had better get in line before the line-ups became too long! We had to make up our minds which Ribber we would choose. We chose “Boss Hoggs”. We had checked out each of the Ribbers when we first arrived. It was a toss up, but the Boss Hog's menu seemed to appeal to us the most! We ordered the “Bosses Feast”. It consisted of Ribs, Chicken, Pulled Pork, Coleslaw and Beans. We looked around to see what other types of goodies were available. There was plenty to choose from, “Sweet Corn”, "French Fries”, “Soft Ice Cream”, “Funnel Cakes” and "Freshly Squeezed Lemonade”! We took our meal back to one of the tables and dined “El Fresco” while listening to the musicians on stage! The Northumberland Ribfest was certainly the best place to be that Friday, August evening!