A Good-natured Ribbing
Plenty of pork in store for 27th Annual Ribfest
MAY 31 – JUNE 3
Americans pigged out on pork products in 2016, with a total of 9,452 metric tons consumed, or an average of only about 50 pounds per person. If that seems underwhelming to you, don't despair – the 27th annual Ribfest will offer plenty of opportunity to pick up the slack (by the three-bone sampler, half or full slab).
Swine-and-dine with the mouthwatering wares of Armadillo's (Youngstown, Ohio), Carolina Rib King (Spartansburg, South Carolina), Jack-On-the-Bone (Massillon, Ohio), Fine Smoke BBQ (Central Ohio), Pigfoot BBQ (Cleveland/Mentor, Ohio), Mojo's Rib Shack (Canton, Ohio), Big Boned BBQ (Ravenel, South Carolina), Pork Brothers BBQ (Northeastern Indiana) – competitors on the national barbecue circuit, but collaborators in fitting your 25th pound of pork in ahead of schedule. A panel of judges will determine which vendor helped you reach that milestone most artfully, critiquing the ribs on sauce, appearance, taste, and texture. On Friday, they will reveal the winners of Best Ribs and Best Sauce (Fine Smoke BBQ is the defending champion in both categories).
Lest this be confused with an oligarchy, the Cricket Wireless booth will be operating a polling center for the 2017 People's Choice Award (please utilize the paper towels and moist towelettes provided before filling out your ballots). Will a newcomer unseat incumbent Mojo's Ribshack? This question will be answered during the closing ceremonies on Saturday evening. Don't be afraid to let your voice be heard – after all, Ribfest is all about getting things off one's chest.
While those decisions are marinating, Ribfest patrons can peruse a variety of vendor tables and enjoy a full rack of live entertainment. Should their children be picking away at their last morsel of goodwill, a Ride-A-Ribba-Ramma Pass can be purchased for use in the Rib Kidz Fun Zone ($10 Wednesday-Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., $15 Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.). Patience – the other white meat.™*
*(annual consumption figures unavailable) – Matt Swanseger
Wednesday: Jackson Station unplugged (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.), Key West Express (7:30 to 10 p.m.)
Thursday: The Dock Boys (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.), The Groove (7:30 to 10 p.m.)
Friday: Moonshine (5 to 7 p.m.), Next of Kin (8 to 11 p.m.)
Saturday: Rock School Studios (11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), First to Eleven (1:30 to 3 p.m.), Crush (4 to 7 p.m.), Hiway Starr (8 to 11 p.m.)
Ribfest runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Perry Square. General admission is free. Visit erieribfest.com for more details.