Cornwall Ontario Seaway Lions Ribfest a Smashing Success by Don Smith

Ribfest spokesperson summarizing the festival & offering thanks

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.

6 chicken & rib Contestants/vendors

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.)




  1. Awesome. Can’t wait for next year.

  2. It was awesome and well received for it’s 1st annual. Great job!

  3. Way to go Cornwall Seaway Lions Club, you nailed it.

  4. What a great turnout for the first annual event! Had a wonderful time all weekend, and cannot wait for next year!

  5. Great job Lion’s!!! I attended Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed myself, thousands of friendly people, great food, great entertainment. Very well organized; looking forward to next year.

  6. Many thanks to Terry Muir, who was the mastermind behind the event. Great job Terry and Cornwall Seaway Lions Club.

  7. So, how does all the money spent by attendees breakdown?

    – What did the Corporation of the City of Cornwall get?
    – What did the Lions get?
    – What did any other Cornwall based organization, agency or business receive?
    – How much business was lost by existing food and beverage establishments?
    – How much money left Cornwall?

    If anyone has the real figures on this (and they ought to, before calling this a success) please chime in.

  8. Simon did you attend? It was great fun and free to attend! I attended with my daughter and I was glad to see local talent, local beer (Beau’s) and free access back in the park! Yes, you had to buy your food and pay for rides but at least everyone could attend and those with little budgets, like many of us, could still enjoy the festivities without being forced to pay just to attend.

    The City charges $25 for festivals in Lamoureux Park, but something of this magnitude would require building permits for fences and for certain vendors to be registered with the City and carry $2 million liability insurance. This may seem high to those not in business, but I need to carry $5 million just for being in a mall (Platinum Pools & Spas). Also, the use of staging, chairs and some other items may need to be rented but I have seen the City allow access to these items for free so many times to help ensure festivals are a success and return.

    The Cornwall Seaway Lions Club would have recouped some money from the sale of beer, but I doubt it covered the costs for the headliners which I am sure weren’t free!

    Don’t be a buzz kill! It is great to see more well liked festivals start up………….heck we should have more and we would have so much to do!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  9. Great music, excellent food. Very affordable. Had a great time at Ribfest. Good job

  10. Good to see Mike Bedard back to inserting irrelevant personal information into a comment. The speculative accounting you pull off is amazing.

    Did anybody else notice that this festival was pulled off without an army of tiny police officers guarding the beer tent? The security detail at Ripoff was ridiculous.

  11. Again, the usual tiresome self-promoting response from Mike Bedard…

    Such unabashed ignorance of local economics goes a long ways to confirming that reputation for “BIZ KILL” .

    Looking forward to a lesson in accounting from you later Mike.

    However, back on track here…

    Anyone that can give an actual accounting of the money sucked out of Cornwall pockets, and a balance sheet to show what stayed in the community, and what left for healthier climes — and that’s the problem neighbours — feel free to share.

  12. Simon and Wow!,

    The City of Cornwall’s web-site provides a list for the costs of utilizing the park!

    You both are a class act for attacking me for liking a local event and then for trying to help you.

    I take great comfort in knowing I am with the large majority that “loved” Ribfest and enjoyed it with my family!

    And I leave you with a thought about those who misuse pseudonyms……

    “Cowards can never be moral!” – Gandhi

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  13. Wow and Simon are obviously unaware of Mike’s academic accolades! I went to school with Mike and he is definitely no dummy or coward!

    Actually, Mike’s biggest flaw is that he does not want to be seen as a coward and responds to pseudonyms when he should not! Your comments are petty and completely wrong!

    How dare you try to attack him for being positive! You are the essence of what’s wrong with our community and why we are seen as mainly unprofessional!

    Its people like you that ensure people who want to make a difference move out of town or give up on trying to help!


  14. Pseudosuck, if we all used our real names the comments wouldn’t be half as juicy. Mike is a target because he is making a living from blogging. Yesterday morning, I ate 3 bowls of cereal before I finished reading his epic-like blog. Keep it for the editorials. Most bloggers shoot from the hip..Mike speaks like he’s accepting an Academy Award.

  15. .Well I for one thought the Ribfest was great food was good the Lions club did a great service to the city for bringing this event here .
    My only complaint was to the stupid people who come in at the last minute and stand in front of you thinking it is ok and then get mad at you for asking them to sit down. Maybe next time it could be announced that either sit down or move then I won,t have to threaten the dummy who does it to me again, it was very few who did this but how about someone to police this. Thanks to all who gave of there time to make this a success.

  16. Comment of the year……………..”Mike is a target because he is making a living from blogging.”

    Hold the phone….. Jamie (Admin) where are my paycheques?

    And the award for best new comedy goes to……………..Ferris from behind skirts unkown!

    I make a living from installing pools genius and for your information if it wasn’t for sponsors like me (who continously defend the Conwall Free News in private and publicly) no one would be able to enjoy this web-site!

    This site is not here because of me but only because people like Jamie Gilcig had the guts to stand up against all odds! I support him because I not only like Jamie but believe in this site!

    What have you done to support anything excpet for maybe make me think twice about why I should continue here?

    And the best drama goes to…………….Me!!!!

    I hope you have a sense of humour,
    Mike Bedard

  17. The epitomy of narcisism..write an editorial and try and control the public response..”if it wasn’t for people like me,no one would be able to enjoy this website”..r u kidding me? Tell me Michael..what pseudoname do you use for Plenty if Fish? Mike the Hammer?

  18. ..and I’m not knocking Gilcig and the Freenews..Jamie is loving his websites new found popularity (because of the Standards scrupulous censorship)..great for advertisers..I enjoy drinking my coffee in the morning and participating in discussion (negative and positive)..but, if you think that you can offer your 2 cents to me, and expect me to take it as gospel, your delusional…and I realise what you do for a living Mike..I was poking at your long winded blogs..the more you try to convice people on your stance, the more you find yourself in defense mode..stick to writing the editorials, then sit back and let us squable..if you would like to meet me in person and try and drill it through my head, I am up for that..Gilcig knows who I am. PS I think it’s the “smirk” that turns people off..and lose the tie.

  19. Ferris perchance are you posting to Mike in the wrong story?

  20. ..does it really matter anymore? We have people writing letters to you about french-english controversy and the Olympic medal count for crying out loud..Mike uses a fictitious pseudoname to perform an experiment and try to prove a point? Does he believe that he was actually tricking us? All of a sudden a “new blogger” arrives stating pseudonames suck, and then low and editorial on pseudonames 10 minutes later..tricky..and get this the only people who agree with him is his wife and Jules (a Cornwall cast-out)..on further consideration, yes Jamie, this may not be the story to post my comments on..however, if you scroll up to July 31 at 7:o7 pm, you’ll see that it was Mike and his better half that changed the direction of this conversation.

  21. Rib fest was a GREAT TIME and thousands of people enjoyed the free music performances and the food was affordable at different price ranges !!! can`t wait for next year… WAY TO GO LION~S CLUBS across eastern Ontario..y ou do great work!!! Cornwall can become “festival destination” something going on every weekend almost!!! don`t forget the Water fest and the Car show coming to Nav Can site in mid August… All Cornwall needs now is a beach and voila……………..

  22. Simon

    Do you have any idea how much money was spent in Cornwall?
    Do you even have a clue what it takes to do an event? Do you know how much money was spent at a local place of business for propane alone? how about fencing? permits? feel free to come and ask the ribbers next year Simon. Good job Lions and Cornwall is amazing!!!!

  23. Sure Ferris I call your BS ……..let’s meet! Anytime and anyplace! I would love to video tape your response and tone in our meeting!

    I guarantee your demeaning tone and stance turns into a little quibble at best! Also, I would love to see if you are one of those “hidden agenda” trying to portray a false image…..ohhh, wait already done!


    Mike Bedard

    or pleeeeeaaaassssseeee post your information! I write every comment and every article under my name! With the exception of one just to prove that any idiot can write several comments under many different names too try and create a fake illusion of popular opinion!

    Well, I sleep well at night! Do you! Ferris or shoud I say Cornwall largest minou!

    Not only would a meeting be welcome but the thought of publicly debating such a coward who hides behind a pseudonym would be epic! I have been waiting for someone to finally grow some nuts and take me on!

    FINALLY! Let’s do this and JAMIE bring your camera! This will be a fisting of “HISTORIC” proportions …lol!

  24. Ok everyone – please refrain from personal comments or attacks. Debate the principle, not the person please.

    Pretty please. Keep moderation free and moving so we don’t bog down or I simply stop allowing comments from certain parties.

  25. need for Jamie to be there..just you and need to debate on camera..and pleeeeaseeeee be very upset and angry with me..”this will be a fisting of historical proportions” lol..I take that as a physical threat..I see the shape your in punchy..I’m not a little ‘ol man.

  26. Just read this comment and am wondering how in the hell did Godwin’s law come into being about a successful Ribfest?

    As members of humanity, are we that insecure about ourselves?


  27. Mike said:

    “Not only would a meeting be welcome but the thought of publicly debating such a coward who hides behind a pseudonym would be epic! I have been waiting for someone to finally grow some nuts and take me on!”

    Mike not to insult you, but to give constructive advice :

    Your last statement is amazing -you sound like the school yard bully .

    My advice to you is grow your skin a little thicker for when you propose an statement expect rebuttals and disagreements ,otherwise politics may not be your thing!

    Thanks ,


  28. did read my blog august 6..and august 7?..your column..anonymous names and pseudonyms? if you didn’t..don’t bother..I take it back.

  29. I just want to know if your looking for volinteers for 50/50 tickets this year ok thank you

  30. i was a vendor last year at this event and toke a chance on this show however the new management decide to accept someone else for my product. it is not fair that this was done base on an agreement made after the event ended last year, please boycott this event they don’t support small business that take a chance risk there income to be apart of an event and then go to the next person they because of personal kick backs

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