Weather expected to cooperate for 8th-annual Rotary Ribfest

July 6, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

With early weather forecasts looking good for the eighth annual Orangeville Rotary Ribfest, organizers are starting to get excited for what has become one of Orangeville’s premiere summer extravaganzas.

Taking over the field behind the Alder Street Recreation Centre from July 14 to 16, Ribfest will be bigger and better than ever this year as six award-winning Ontario ribbers prepare to take centre stage at the next big party of the summer. Last year’s event saw a record-breaking total of 21,000 people come out over the course of the weekend, raising an unprecedented $82,000 – most of which has already been re-invested in the community.

“That’s the Rotary way,” explained Charles McCabe, now almost at the end of his second year as Chair of the Orangeville Rotary Ribfest organizing committee. “Everyone knows why we do this; everyone knows it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year. But they also know where all of this money will be going – right back into the community to support a variety of different projects.”

In years gone by, Ribfest has funded such things as the $250,000 Splash Pad at Fendley Park and the gazebo on the Island Lake Trail. With the money from last year’s event the Orangeville Rotary Club was able to finance Rotary Way – Orangeville’s first official bike route – as well as the intergenerational GrandPals program, which connects primary school students with local seniors in an attempt to learn new skills and both build and develop friendship and companionship. Rotary was also able to write a cheque to the Orangeville Food Bank, which helped to pay for the new walk-in refrigeration system on-site.

“We did really well last year. It really was our best year yet… We’re hoping though, if the weather cooperates, that we can do well once again this time around,” said Scott Hughes of the Ribfest organizing committee.

While the Rotary Club is always hesitant to commit to specific short-term projects before it knows its final fundraising total, largely due to the fact that the event is so reliant on the weather, Mr. Hughes indicated there were nine active projects under consideration for funding, with a further 13 potential future projects.

“One of the things we always look for in a project is how sustainable it is. We try to and want to get involved in projects that won’t just be a ‘one and done’. We want something like a splash pad, or a skate park, or Grandpals where the results are there to see for years to come,” Mr. Hughes added.

It’s a star-studded card, jam-packed full with local talent once again this year, with a wide variety of activities and family-fun on offer throughout the entire weekend.

Friday night kicks off with Stephen’s Garage on the main stage from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with an official opening ceremony taking place at 6 p.m. Alternative rock band Delaney will close out the night with a three-hour set between 7 p.m.and 10 p.m.

In what is a new attraction aimed at the younger generation this year, Theatre Orangeville will be on hand to get things started on Saturday with a special 11 a.m. performance of Night Light, a play by John Lazarus aimed at younger elementary school students.

Local band Old School will fill the air with music from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. with the Wasted Measures playing from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The annual Classic Car Show will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. while Larry Kurtz (4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) and, later, the Campfire Poets (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) will headline on Saturday night.

The third and final day of Ribfest encourages locals to embrace their inner cowboy and cowgirl as Country Day takes centre stage.

While Night Light will once again play between 11 a.m. and noon, Jason Kipps will get things started for country enthusiasts at 1 p.m. before Chadley Chase takes over at 3 p.m.

Dufferin County Line will officially close Ribfest down with performances between 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

There will also be several shows by President’s Choice Superdogs throughout the day. As well as all the live entertainment, there will also be a midway available throughout the entire weekend, a variety of other food vendors for those looking for something other than ribs and a beer tent for those aged 19+.

“This is a year in the making, so we’re excited to get out there and put this on for the community in again,” Mr. Hughes said. “In eight years of doing this we’ve never had an incident. People are always in a very good mood, they’re in a party mood and everyone is very friendly. It’s a fun time for families, it’s a fun time for everyone. People come in smiling and they leave smiling, which is what it’s all about.”

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