London News & Search
Rain was pouring and so was the barbecue sauce.
The first day of Ribfest in London had a soggy start, but that didn’t stop carnivores from stopping by to enjoy some southern-style cooking.
People on their lunch breaks made their way to Victoria Park to pick up some ribs, pulled pork and chicken from the various stands set up along Wellington Street. Tents selling jewelry and clothing also were setting up as the weekend festivities kicked off.
Pit-masters from each barbecue joint danced, hollered and sang about their great ribs, offering passers-by samples of their sauces to entice them into buying some food.
The annual festival features Canada’s top 10 “ribbers,” who have come from places such as Louisiana, Nevada and right here in the Forest City to serve up their special barbecue to festival-goers this Civic Holiday long weekend.
People who have tried the food can vote online for their favourites with winners being announced at the ribber awards Monday.
Tex Robert Jr. of Louisiana Bar-B-Que has been serving up his saucy ribs at various ribfests for 49 years and can no longer count the number of trophies and awards he’s won. The 62-year-old Texas native — dressed in a cowboy hat and Stars and Stripes bandana — said he loves coming to London.
“It’s just like down south with the 10 best ribbers all lined up,” Robert said.
But the real trophy for Robert is the reaction he gets from people who love his food.
“I cook from the heart,” he said.
Enjoying a half-rack of ribs from another rib stand called Oak and Barrel was Robert Butts and his daughter, Ellawyn. Butts said he lives just outside London and is a frequent Ribfest patron here and in neighbouring cities as well.
“We follow the ribs,” Butts said.
Butts and his daughter sampled all of the sauces before they decided what they were going to buy. They planned to get a half-rack from Louisiana Bar-B-Que next.
“This is probably one of my favourite festivals because of the good food,” Butts said.
Ribfest also offers live entertainment, a beer garden and local vendors’ stalls.
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IF YOU GO
What: London Ribfest with 10 ribbers, live music, local vendors and a beer garden
Where: Victoria Park
When: Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
London News & Search