Monday, July 22, 2024

Ribfest returns: Esquimalt’s smoking gun returns to Bullen Park for 10th year


Has it been a year already?

Ribfest is coming back to Bullen Park and this year they celebrate their 10th anniversary of slinging ribs at one of the biggest and most anticipated events Esquimalt has to offer. 

Ribfest is a charitable event and through the Esquimalt Firefighters Charitable Foundation, the Esquimalt Ribfest Society and seven local non-profit groups have raised over $1 million for local charities in the past 10 years.

“Like any potential charitable fundraising idea, the first couple of years are always a bit of an unknown. Questions like: Will there be public buy-in? How much will it cost to put on? Will we make or lose money? Will it be fun and family-friendly? Will anyone even show up,” asked Tom Woods, the head of the Esquimalt Ribfest. 

“Well, as we enter year eleven with Esquimalt Ribfest, we can honestly say that each one of these questions has been answered positively and in spades.”

Esquimalt Ribfest goes from Friday, September 8th to Sunday September 10th. 

There will be live music every night, beer and cider from local breweries and cideries, deep fried onions for the vegetarian attendees and the best ribs you can get your slippery, saucy little hands on. 

The six “ribber” teams slinging ribs this year:

  • Pit Crew BBQ is new this year! They’re from the Maritimes and have a great supportive crew from Ontario, to Vancouver Island & everywhere in between! They have formed a great team and we look forward to serving the best customers all over this beautiful country of ours.
  • Smoke Dem Bones began with a passion for cooking, specifically the art of BBQ, which they say forces one to slow down and take time to create something worthwhile. They are a newer competitor, but they’ve already made a name for themselves winning Best Sauce at both the Langley and Penticton Ribfests last year. 
  • Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ, the home of genuine pit-smoked BBQ catering in Southern Saskatchewan. What started with a sample of real barbeque in Texas eight years ago has turned into a consuming passion to produce the best, most authentic ‘Q available in the prairies. This dream is now a reality as Prairie Smoke & Spice has won many awards on the competition circuit.
  • Gator BBQ, for 30 years has been delivering mouth watering chicken, pulled pork and ribs to the hungry crowds of Rib Fests all across North America. Touring Canada and the Northern United States, the Smith family of Port Dover continue to win countless awards and events with their signature southern BBQ cuisine.
  • Grizzly Ribs, a local BBQ joint. Chef Ollie is a fifth-generation Vancouver Islander with a knack for finding just the right mix of smoke, service, spice and sass that keeps people coming back.
  • Boss Hog’s, with “Taste the Smokin’ Difference” being their team’s motto, it is their utmost goal to provide our patrons with the ultimate barbeque experience. Season after season they become even more successful through consistency, atmosphere and a customer service that is next-to-none.

What are you gonna be doing when you aren’t eating your body weight in a delicious BBQ though? Well, you’ll be dancing to the live music of course!

Live music will be taking place all day every day at Ribfest from noon until the gates close at 9 p.m. on Friday or 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

Some of the best bands will be playing the best covers and origins material for the massive crowds of rib-lovers, with the headliners being Fleetwood Magic, Jack Semple Horndogs and Love Cats on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. 

Check the full band lineup out here

There will be 10 wineries, breweries and cideries onsite to make sure people are lubricated and getting dancy for all the amazing bands that will be taking the stage. 

Mark Anthony Wine & Peller Estates, Merridale Cidery, Vancouver Island Brewery, Lighthouse Brewing Company, Category 12, Junction Cidery, Driftwood Brewery and Howl Brewing will all be there. 

Parking situation:

This year the Esquimalt Ribfest is using their new and improved parking system. 

Every 20 minutes there will be a shuttle bus going from Ribfest’s location at Bullen Park to a parking lot at Canteen Road and Lyall Street.

Ribfest asks that attendees obey all traffic, parking and residential only parking signs. 

Esquimalt Ribfest is free to enter. All proceeds from the festival (outside operating costs) will go to Esquimalt Firefighters Charitable Foundation, local charities and school-sponsored activities.

A reminder that the event is a cash only one; however, there will be ATMs on site for those who forget to come prepared!

Esquimalt Ribfest 2023

  • Where: 527 Fraser Street, Bullen Park
  • When: September 8th to 10th
  • Admission: Free

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Curtis Blandy

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