The first Vernon Ribfest, like the ones in Penticton and Kelowna (above), will be hosted by the Venron Elks Lodge and run July 5-7 at the Vernon Curling Club and Centennial Outdoor Rink. (Black Press - file photo)

Vernon Elks Lodge hosting first Ribfest

Lip-smacking, sauce-flowing great time predicted at Vernon Curling Club July 5 to 7

Vernon, get ready for a ribbing.

The first ever Vernon Ribfest, hosted by the Vernon Elks Lodge, runs July 5 to 7 at the Vernon Curling Club and Centennial Outdoor Rink.

“We are so excited, we’ve been wanting to do this for a number of years,” said event co-coordinator Elaine Gallacher, helped out with the organizing by Elks Club member Maureen Sather.

“The response we’ve had so far has been absolutely positive and amazing.”

The event will run Friday, July 5, from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days. Admission is a recommended minimum $2 donation. Enter through the Vernon Curling Club.

A free shuttle service will be offered from Kal Tire Place to help alleviate parking concerns, as organizers are anticipating having 10,000 people come through the doors. The shuttle runs a half-hour prior to opening times and through until the end of the night.

READ ALSO: Canada Day eh? Eat ribs, go bike riding and enjoy entertainment in the Okanagan

Four professional Canadian champion ribbers will be on hand to serve their specialty, which includes beef and pork ribs. There will also be brisket and barbecue chicken available for more lip-smacking, sauce-flowing food greatness.

A ribber is a type of chef that specializes in preparing grilled foods. A ribber most often works with meat, his or her job can also involve working with a wide variety of other foods and vegetables. A ribber’s job requires highly specialized culinary training.

There will also be a media ribber competition Saturday, July 6, at 12 p.m. Local media sponsors will provide their own special recipe for a barbecue sauce to compete with, and during the competition, they barbecue ribs that are judged by the professional ribbers. The winner receives a trophy and bragging rights.

To complement the ribs, local vendors will be on hand selling hamburgers, hot dogs, lemonade and ice cream.

There will be an adult beverage section as well as an interactive Kids Zone featuring activities for children and teenagers.

“We’re going to have an area for groups that reserve a table for eight or more,” said Gallacher. “When you reserve a time and table, you will receive special access to the building to make things easier. This is perfect for seniors groups or a group of friends.”

The Elks Lodge is also encouraging people celebrating birthdays during Ribfest to reserve and celebrate at the festival.

“All vendors are aware and are putting together a birthday dessert package for eight or more, including doughnuts, shaved ice, ice cream,” said Gallacher.

Each night, a local classic rock band will take the stage to entertain Ribfest goers. Slated to perform are The Keys (Friday), Still Munro (Saturday) and Timbre Wolves (Sunday).

Ribfest volunteers are still needed. To help out, call Gallacher direct at 250-540-7476 or leave a message at the Elks Club (250-549-1883).

The Vernon Elks Lodge is using Ribfest as a tune-up for 2020, when the event will return to coincide with the club’s 100th year of operation, with special activities planned to help celebrate a century of community service.

The Elks Lodge returns about $30,000 annually to various groups and organization in the community.

For information on Vernon Ribfest or to reserve a table, you can e-mail or call 250-549-1883.

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