Estimated 45,000 people attended event last year
“It's funny, in the first few years, we didn't expect it to be successful, especially right off the top,” said Maureen Luoma, executive director of Downtown Sudbury, which organizes the festival.
“So we would say 'Why?' People would say 'OK, you've got live music, you've got a car and motorcycle show, you've got ribs, you've got beer, and it's all outside in the summer.' It's a good combination.”
She said the Labour Day weekend festival even attracts tourists to the city, pointing to the story of an American couple travelling through Ontario that made a side trip to Sudbury after hearing an ad for Ribfest.
Another couple originally from Sudbury, but now living in Newfoundland, plan their yearly visit home to coincide with Ribfest, Luoma said.
This year's festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, will be much the same as it has been in past years, keeping the formula that's brought so much success.
Once again, there will be six professional rib teams — Jack the Ribber, Crabby's BBQ Shack, Ribs Royale BBQ, Smokehouse Bandits, Boss Hog's BBQ and Texas Rangers.
Judges will present trophies for Best Ribs, Best Chicken and Best Sauce. Those attending the festival will also have a chance to vote for their favourite rib stand with the Peoples' Choice award.
If for some reason you're not full after chowing down on ribs, festival foods will also be available for purchase.
The event is family friendly, with a variety of children's activities, including inflatables and demonstrations by Science North.
For the adults, there will be a beer tent. Craft vendors will also be selling their wares. On the Saturday and Sunday, there will be a car and motorcycle show.
The festival also features three days of live music. Most of the acts will be from the Sudbury area, the exception being the Bayou Boys, a Creedance Clearwater Revival tribute band set to play at 8 p.m. Saturday.
To accommodate these activities, a portion of Elgin Street will be fully closed and parts of Durham and Larch streets will be partially closed during the festival.
As was the case last year, proceeds from the festival benefit the Sudbury branch of the Red Cross.
Parking is free Friday after 6 p.m. and all weekend at all municipal lots and meters. To ensure you get a parking spot, Luoma suggests parking in the Energy Court lot off Lorne Street and making the short walk to the festival.
For more information, visit www.downtownsudbury.com or visit 705-674-5115.