Rib Fest gave people a chance to get out and meet with friends and enjoy a good chow down

By Katelyn Goodwin

September 5th, 2022



With the first Rib Fest in three years coming to an end, it is worth taking a look at how the event – what worked and what didn’t work and where changes might be made.

People clearly enjoyed getting out and being with friends and enjoying a decent meal.

It was the first major event (with the exception of sound of Music) where hundreds of people mingled and stood around talking to friends without feeling they had to mask up.

The two-year absence from Spencer Smith Park, due to COVID restrictions seemed to heighten the interest in attending.

The crowds were good – what surprised me was just how many came from outside the city to attend.

Out of the thirty-eight people I had the chance to talk to during my time interviewing people, about fourteen of them were locals there to enjoy the Rib Fest; Burlingtonians have been doing this since 1996 – this is very much a Burlington event that attracts a lot of visitors.

Ten of the people I spoke with who didn’t live in Burlington heard about the event from co-workers or friends, and the other half having always come from Hamilton, Oakville, Brampton specifically to attend the Rib Fest.

The latter reason says a lot about just how much the festival has grown.

There were people in the park who had simply came downtown for a day out and were drawn to the activity of the festival, having never been before.

A young pair had admitted being out sightseeing in downtown Burlington, curious as to what was going on at Spencer Smith Park. This led to them getting their first ‘taste’ of the festival.

Another pair around the same age had also been sightseeing, with the young lady from Burlington and the young man new to the city.

There were two people from the U.K who were touring Canada, three others who had just moved to Burlington.

There were a few people I talked to who had thoughts about the festival itself and its setup. A very good friend of mine who is a local was happy to enjoy it again after not having been there in a while, thought rides, games, and concession stands that were spread throughout the park was a good idea – people didn’t have to walk back and forth from one area to the other to enjoy an activity.

An older gentleman from outside Burlington wanted to come to the festival again after attending the last one before COVID but said he wouldn’t do it frequently due to the cost of the ribs and other food.

A couple who had just moved to Canada said their second time at the festival was nice, but wished they allowed dogs in, having taken theirs with them that day. I believe they may have said that in a lighthearted/joking manner, though it was still informative to hear the thoughts of others about such a big local event.

Good crowd with traffic flowing smoothy. And a dog that got in. Was there a rule against dogs?

The only difference that told anyone we were still dealing with a pandemic was the way the tables were set out this year.

Social distancing appears to be a thing of the past: I saw six people with masks at the festival out of the hundreds down there, one of which only had it in his hand. It appears there are only a few these days who still wish to take personal precautions.

It became clear to me that Rib Fest continues to be an event that attracts people from the region and many that experience the event for the first time.

RibFest closes at 7 pm this evening.

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