This weekend’s ribfest will be the biggest and best family outing you could have in the city this summer, festival organizers assure

The Rotary Club of Pickering is gearing up to host the City’s famous rib festival that has consistently drawn thousands of patrons, both local residents and those from across the Greater Toronto Area. The Pickering Ribfest is organized at Esplanade Park as in the past, during the Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16.

Garnering much anticipation, the event that drew nearly 80,000 visitors in 2019 and brought more than $100,000 in business to Durham Region, is returning after it was paused four years ago due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s exciting that the ribfest is coming back to Pickering. It’s something for families to do in the summer,” says Pickering native Tanya Smith who has fond memories of going to the Ribfest many times since her now teenage son accompanied her in a stroller as a toddler. “I even have pictures of my son eating ribs with the sauce all over his face!”

Pickering Rotary Club (PRC) President Fredrick Walker Promises festival goers like Smith will not be disappointed. “Pickering Ribfest’s main aim is to create a safe, enjoyable, family-friendly community event. With that comes the Club’s commitment to have quality entertainment, world-class ribs and a diverse selection of food.”

Award-winning ribbers from across North America will participate in the festival to offer delectable racks of ribs to visiting food lovers. While ribbers will be the main attraction, other food vendors will also be on hand to offer their best dishes, including corndogs, French fries, poutine, sandwiches, shawarmas and samosas. This year, halal food will also be on the menu, to serve the diverse community.

There will also be beer and other alcoholic beverages available throughout the festival, alongside soft drinks, shakes and smoothies.

Children will have their own share of entertainment with carnival games and activities to indulge in. Throughout the three days, there will also be live entertainment and DJ music. “We will have music and entertainment that is enjoyable by all, children to older adults and from diverse communities,” Walker says.

“This is also the first time our Club will be hosting independently,” he highlights, noting that previously the Rotary Club of Ajax was the co-organizer. Starting this year, Ajax Rotary Club will support through volunteerism. Other service and charity organizations are also participating in this grand festival lending helping hands.  

“The ribfest is also supported through funding by the City of Pickering and sponsors representing various businesses in our region.”

The Club is expecting nearly 90,000 people to go through the festival area and raise $80,000. For crowd control and smooth operation of this large event, the PRC has hired police as well as security personnel for the duration of the festival.

As a seasoned Pickering Ribfest reveler, Smith hopes she and her son will have a fabulous time once again at the ribfest, indulging in the family’s summer tradition before the pandemic hit. She encourages everyone to go check it out, as there is live music, fun activities and great food. “It’s totally worth lining up to get your rack of ribs, while enjoying the free, live entertainment!”

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