CFN – Many factors are attributed to the overwhelming success of Cornwall’s first annual Ribfest. The list includes the great weather, helpful volunteers, interesting exhibits and vendors, good food, abundant talent and affordable family fun. Of course, a receptive crowd is also crucial to the mix.
The first day saw the rib vendors completely sell out of an entire weekend’s worth of ribs (12 tonnes), necessitating an overnight truck run to Toronto to replenish supplies. On Saturday the vendors sold out of chicken and had to pay a visit to every grocery store in Cornwall to re-stock. One of the vendors told local organizers that in one day the Cornwall event sold as many ribs as would typically sell at a four day festival. Another said that this was the first time on the circuit that a festival ever sold so much at an inaugural event.
But, chicken and ribs wasn’t all that was on the menu. Volunteers from the Service Club Council sold bbq burgers and dogs (as well as CCF t-shirts) in support of The Children’s Christmas Fund. Branch 297 of the Royal Canadian Legion served breakfast in the dining tent on Saturday and Sunday. The Lions offered Pepsi products at two locations. Commercial vendors, some local and others from as far away as Stoney Creek, served up French fries, swirled potatoes, fresh lemonade, ice cream, popcorn, roasted corn, lollipops and more. I’m sure that some of you are wondering why the need for bringing in vendors from so far afield. The reason is two-fold. For some specialty items the variety just isn’t available locally; in other cases it was due to insufficient local vendors having faith that such an event would succeed.
At an estimated 30,000 over the course of the weekend, attendance was higher than the targeted 20,000 attendees. On Friday it is believed that 13,000 – 15,000 people were in attendance. During Saturday evening’s concert with ABBA MANIA, the crowd swelled to about 22,000. Incredibly admission to the grounds and to all concerts was free, although donations were gratefully received.
Whether you were there or simply wish you were, allow our first video clip to take you on a three minute whirlwind tour of the three day event.
An event of this magnitude is a real challenge to effectively manage, but to pull off something like this on the first attempt is amazing and a sign that the community is ready for this newest three day festival.
The vast majority of the feedback received by organizers on-site, of that posted on the event’s Facebook page and comments received from people who stopped to chat with me over the course of the weekend was extremely positive. In our second clip, we invited participants to share their impressions with you, our viewers.
In our Ribfest posting on Saturday, I interviewed the The Chainsaw Lady of Dunvegan. She provided live demonstrations of her craft. Today I have an interview with natural body builder Robin Ruest, who recently made the transition from amateur to professional. He entered a booth to promote his sponsor, NSP, a manufacturer of natural supplements.
I was asked to interview a member of the 18 strong Cornwall Seaway Lions Club so that she could share her Ribfest experience with Cornwall Free News viewers. The clip also includes the master of ceremonies’ closing remarks and expression of thanks to sponsors, participants and others.
So, residents of Cornwall and area, how do you feel about this latest festival? How would you compare/contrast it with other festivals, such as Lift-off? Please post your comments below. (To comply with the City’s advertising requirements, this is a moderated site. If you don’t see your comments go live right away, don’t worry.)