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For the first time, Ribfest is coming to New Glasgow

Photo of one of Ribfest's vendors, Camp 31.
Photo of one of Ribfest's vendors, Camp 31. - Contributed
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

It’s been a long time in the making, but the carnival-esque cook-off called Ribfest is finally coming to Pictou County.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” said Lori-Anna Jenkins, who is one of a ten-person committee working to bring the popular event to the region. “Literally, we don’t stop talking about it.”

Three years ago, Jenkins started the conversation about bringing the popular festival to the area as a way to help with the fundraising efforts of local charities like the Pictou County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Part of the Ribfest model is to partner with local charities and last June, Pictou County’s only homeless shelter, Viola’s Place, jumped on board, too.

“We felt that it would be a wonderful fit, and we’ve been joined at the hip ever since,” said MacLaren.

Together, Jenkins and Tammy MacLaren of Viola’s Place have been neck deep in the world of Ribfest.

Ribfest brings both travelling and local food vendors to one spot for a three-day affair complete with entertainment and kid-friendly activities. Last October, representatives from Ribfest were in new Glasgow for a site visit and it appears they liked what they saw on New Glasgow’s waterfront.

“They loved downtown New Glasgow. They loved that it was on the water, the walkability of it, and because it’s so centralized,” said Jenkins. “They travel across the county and in the United States, so there’s a lot of time and effort on their part to even get to Atlantic Canada.”

For their part, both Jenkins and MacLaren have been firing on all cylinders to prepare the way for the “ribbers.”

“It’s been pretty crazy,” said MacLaren. “There’s security, insurance, and basically all the costs for putting on an outdoor event.”

Fortunately, they’ve had support from The Town of New Glasgow, Glasgow Square and a number of local businesses.

“They’ve been wonderful,” said MacLaren, who added that the festival will also need volunteers. “Any amount of time that people can give.”

While at the festival people are encouraged to vote for the "Best Ribs" and "Best Sauce", take in the entertainment and activities and enjoy the food. 

Sullivan Fuels donated a propane fire table valued at $2,100 to help out with fundraising and tickets are being sold on site until Sunday, Aug. 25. The winning name will be drawn at 5 p.m.

The event is free-admission and donation buckets for both Habitat for Humanity and Viola’s Place will be placed on the grounds around Glasgow Square.

Based on projections from Ribfest representatives and numbers from previous Ribfests in Nova Scotia, both Jenkins and MacLaren say that there could be over 15,000 people attending between Aug. 23 and 25.

“Sydney, in their first year, had over 20,000 people,” said Jenkins. “They ran out of ribs.”

If you are keen to volunteer, go to: https://pcribfest.ca/volunteers/

The event starts at 11 a.m. at Glasgow Square Theatre in New Glasgow and ends on Sunday at 7 p.m.

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