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2014-08-24 at 19:11

Rib Fest concludes

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Gus Sakellis came just short of sweeping two titles at last year’s Rib Fest.

Sakellis and his operation, Ribs Royal BBQ, won the judges’ award for Best Ribs but there was room for improvement with the sauce. He was determined to come back with a winning recipe.

His hard work was validated this weekend as they were awarded the judges’ selections for Best Ribs and Best Sauce at the third annual Rib Fest in Thunder Bay, a three-day event which concluded Sunday.

“The feedback was very important for us to know what improvements to make,” Sakellis said. “We’re going with more of a Western feel with the sauce and we’re based out of Nevada so it complements our theme and the ribs we use to cook with.”

Ribs Royale was one of four ribber circuit members who were in the city this weekend’s festival, which was held along Park Avenue and hosted by the Waterfront District Business Improvement Association, offering delicious, mouth-watering barbecue.

Organizer Suzan Cooper Rochon said the total attendance of the weekend appears to have met and surpassed their targets.

The format of the event is always getting small tweaks to keep a fresh appeal, though the continued popularity shows the event is more than just a temporary gimmick.

“This year I think we’ve had a bit over 30,000 over the three days, though it’s just an estimate,” she said in the late afternoon.

Jack Sakellis, the owner of the London, Ont. based Jack the Ribber, approached the Waterfront District BIA four years ago, suggesting they hold an event.

He said rib fests are popping up across the country as the new trend for summer festivals. He is pleased the Thunder Bay version continues to be a success.

“I’m glad it’s going so well. It’s really exceptional,” he said.

"It looks better and better every year."

The other two travelling ribbers were Route 55 and Fat Albert's.

Combined with the Rib Fest was the Motors and Muscles event, which was held concurrently along Court Street. Having the two different attractions made the area a destination with appeal for a wider audience.

The Motors and Muscles included a CrossFit games fitness exhibition as well.

There were also inflatable bouncing castles and other children’s activities to help make it family friendly.

Organizers placed a higher emphasis this year on giving local vendors an opportunity to showcase their food, allowing the more businesses to set up than in any of the past two years.

With many new, local eateries springing up the change was well received.

“I think adding local vendors has been a really big hit with everybody in Thunder Bay and then we had a contest for best local ribs which was great. It was something new and exciting,” Cooper Rochon said.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for businesses in the downtown waterfront district as well.”

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musicferret says:

Lol Yeah right.
While the event certainly went well, the organizers obviously have no idea how to estimate crowds.
8/24/2014 7:37:10 PM
glass half full says:
And what makes you an expert attendance estimator ?

I do not claim to be one but I was there at different points over the three days. Easily I could see that number of people.

Truly one of the best events of the summer.

Great job.
8/25/2014 7:48:06 AM
SomeGuy says:
Please supply your methodology to estimate crowds then.
8/25/2014 8:18:46 AM
sonny_jim says:
I agree. That is 1/3rd of the city, and I know my street wasn't empty

I think they estimated something like 100 000 at blues fest....
8/25/2014 9:04:20 AM
smartguy83 says:
Or maybe you don't?
8/25/2014 9:18:47 AM
blah blah says:
When I was there it was packed, stayed for about an hour listening to music and of course eating ribs!!!!! It was a steady stream of people coming and going. Id say 30000 for the 3 days is about right.
8/24/2014 8:26:19 PM
mystified says:
I would say I would agree with the reported number of people, but we all know musicferret and the rest of the ma-sayers will try to down play it. It didn't affect them in anyway or form but they will still shred it. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.
8/25/2014 12:40:36 AM
Stompo says:
What is your problem "musicferret" ? Ribfest is great! The ribs and crossfit and strongman games make quite an awesome event but your typical old person attitude detracts from a Thunder Bay success. Do you have some sort of academic background in urban planning that led you to conclude that there was less than 30 000 people ( in total) ? Do you you have some insider info that the rest of Thunder Bay doesn't? Or, are you just a typical, negative, ignorant old person who spends there time on this website tearing things down without offering anything positive to the community? Please go back to complaining about oevent centre parking or our crime rate and keep quiet about things you do not anything about. RIBFEST RULES!!!!!!!!!
8/24/2014 8:33:05 PM
Surfer79 says:
I would agree attendance numbers seemed up when I was there. Even during poor weather on Friday.
I do have one question though. Who won the competition for best local ribs?
8/24/2014 9:26:41 PM
conker2014 says:
silver birch because they were the only local vendor.
8/25/2014 2:34:51 PM
bttnk says:
Another great event hosted in Thunder Bays entertainment district. If you didn't attend, you missed a fantastic time.

I would say they surpassed the 30,000 estimate easily.
8/25/2014 9:02:48 AM
donnybrook says:
I'd like to take a moment of silence for all the innocent animals whose lives were taken so you out of shape slugs could stuff your face for five minutes. Amen.
8/25/2014 9:39:43 AM
fastball says:
Enjoy your next tofu-burger, my friend.
You might live a year longer (maybe), but at least I'll go out knowing the sheer sensual pleasure of a medium-rare ribeye and a good bottle of merlot.
8/25/2014 2:50:11 PM
ring of fire dude says:
OK , silence is over . Pass me another rack of ribs ! Thank God for animals !
8/25/2014 3:55:44 PM
SomeGuy says:
How do you know they are innocent, what if the pig was a thief that stole some other pigs food?
8/25/2014 11:18:04 PM
rolling wind says:
The ribs were great and wow the guys going so strong with all those weights was amazing.It was a nice family day out.
There was a lot of very nice looking motor bikes on Court st. But I'm wondering why some of those bikes won anything that just looked so ordinary and that very beautiful colourful Harley with the checkerboard pattern on it didn't win? I overheard a lot of people wondering the same thing. That's very discouraging I think for owners of those great looking machines.
8/25/2014 3:54:13 PM
King Farouk says:
Good ribs, good times.
8/26/2014 11:36:25 AM
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