Second annual Kelowna RibFest draws a crowd

Organizers estimate as many as 28,000 showed up over three days in City Park.

The second annual Kelowna Interior Savings Sunrise Rotary RibFest is being deemed a lip-smacking’ success by organizers.

An estimated 28,000 people attended the event in Kelowna’s City Park Friday through Sunday, savouring an assortment of ribs, as well as other fare from a collection of food trucks on site.

Brian Wrightson of Kelowna’s Sunrise Rotary, which organizes the annual event, said he hoped to see more than the 18,000 people who showed up in the rain for the inaugural event last year.

And with the sun shining, he appeared to get his wish.

“This year, I’ll be delighted if we can push that to 25,000,” said Wrightson as RibFest kicked off on Friday. By Sunday he was smiling.

And so too were the thousands of people of all ages who showed up to savour the ribs prepared by four different professional “ribbers.”

In addition to the food, there was stage entertainment, activities for the kids, a beer garden and attendees were urged to donate to help support the many charities Rotary funds.

This year, the main charity was Shoe Bank Canada.

Related: Kelowna getting its own RibFest

Last year, $26,000 was raised for charity during the first Kelowna RibFest and this year organizers were hoping to increase that number too.

Wrightson said typically year three is the year a rib festival really takes off, so next year, organizers hope to see even more people on hand.

He said rib festivals are very popular in Eastern Canada and now are starting to take off in the West. Kelowna is one of many Interior communities that now host similar events.

He said a special effort has been made here to make Kelowna’s version of RibFest as family friendly as possible and that’s why there was a special emphasis on activities for the kids this year.

New this year was a BBQ sauce competition featuring members of the local media whose creations were judges by the professional ribbers themselves.