"*snif*......*SNIF*.......*SNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFFFFFF Do you smell that.... the wood smoke....caramelizing BBQ sauce.....meat on the grill......mmmmmm it can only mean one thing....RIBFEST!!!" Ricky P.
That's right, London Ribfest was on once again - in fact this is the 25th London Ribfest. Just walking to Victoria Park in London Ontario from several blocks away I could smell the wafting smoke of ribs and other BBQ'd goods. It's a great smell.
The event saw record numbers in attendance, with over 200 000 people attending probably the biggest ribfest in Canada. Not only is Ribfest going on, but there is the Home Show, but there were also a Seniors day with special vendors, and a Pet Row for, well, pets.
Ribbers Row was full of hungry lines being drawn into the smoke and the antics of the various rib vendors.
I stopped by Pappy's Olde Fashion Soda Pop Co. once again. There were a few changes: Prices were up to $8, but you also got a larger 32oz tin cup to keep (and $2 for refills). There were also fewer flavours this year: Birch Beer, Diet Birch Beer, Root Beer, Cream Soda and Cola (maybe not cola, I can't remember what the last flavour was). I got a cream soda and later a refill on a Birch/Root beer mix. The cream soda was just excellent. I asked the vendor if they have a website, but I was told not yet but soon. I was walking away and one of the soda dudes ran up and asked if I was a blogger, because the other soda dude remembered me from the blog!
I also stopped by Getty's hot sauce when the owner called me by title (Lord of the Wings) to come over. He told me all about the sauces and let me sample his Hot, Lime Chili, Pineapple Hot and Jerk Marinade. The sauces were all really good, so I picked up (with difficulty choosing) his Lime sauce. I will do a sauce review in the future with more photos. Above is his assistant showing off a monster bottle of the sauce.
There was a great carnival area with my favourite fair ride of all time: The Gravitron. If your not familiar with this ride, its basically a space ship that you go in, lay against the wall, and it spins so fast you can barely move around and even go upside down. I did not go on it as I was here for food and as I get older, find more things can make me nauseous than they used to.
Of course the real stars of the show is Ribbers Row. Ribbers included:
- Boss Hog
- Pistol Pete's
- Kentucky Smokehouse
- Ribs Royale
- Fire Island
- Jack the Ribber
- Route 55
- Tony Roma's
- Texas Rangers
It's hot, tiring work, but it seems like it would be a lot of fun working one of these rigs. Some have showmen with bullhorns talking up the crowd, others have country themed girls in itsy bitsy outfits, some awesome decorated stands, and some just have smoke and ribs.
The festival is full of other food vendors as well. When you can't smell ribs, the smell of waffles, french fries, popcorn, crepes and so much more fill the nose.
London's Ribfest has something for everyone. The weather was hot, but the fact that the park is full of trees means there is shade everywhere. There were a ton of musical acts (I was impressed with a number of the groups I listened to). And even though there were lots of people, I saw more tables and chairs that were open for seating. There was free WiFi this year too. And of course there was a heavy emphasis on the eco zones for recycling and composting. So if you missed it last year, start planning for 2012!