Vernon Elks planning for even bigger Rib Fest during 100th anniversary

Vernon Elks planning for even bigger Rib Fest during 100th anniversary

Local Lodge celebrates centennial in 2020 with 2nd annual Rib Fest

Vernon’s inaugural Rib Fest was such a success organizers are already busy planning to serve up a second portion.

The Elks Lodge brought the first event to town in July, drawing approximately 8,000 people over three days to the Curling Club and Centennial Rink.

“It was just awesome, over the top,” said Maureen Sather, longtime Elks member who organized the entire affair alongside Elaine Gallacher. “We haven’t got one comment that was negative. One guy called me and said I can’t believe that Rib Fest, you two gals should have the keys to the city.”

With the Elks celebrating its 100th birthday in 2020, plans are simmering for an even bigger draw next year, on July 3-5.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Final day for Vernon Elks Lodge Rib Fest

While many service organizations are dwindling in membership and facing an uncertain future, Vernon’s Elks Lodge has been booked solid all summer outside of the regular activities that take place in the building.

“It’s an Elks hall but it’s not just available for members,” said Gallacher, as the building is used for weddings, celebrations of life, weekly Scouts and Vintage Car Club meetings, and more.

Plus the Elks hold fundraisers for different societies or family emergencies, a major silent auction and fundraiser in October for the Vernon Treatment Centre, dart leagues Wednesday nights and Friday night suppers Sept. 1-June 30 (which are open to all, including children).

“And they’ve done that for 89 years,” said Gallacher of the popular dinners.

“Any money that’s raised above expenses goes back to the community. They generally raise $30,000.”

The Elks also offer local groups a chance to earn donations by signing up for once-a-month dish duty at the Friday suppers.

The hall has been a busy spot ever since the Elks purchased the building in 1950. Prior to that the hall was actually a church, but it started out as F.S. Reynolds’ Agricultural Implements in the early 1900s.

While the lodge is bustling with activity, the Elks also struggle to keep up membership numbers.

“Young people are really not interested in service clubs,” said Sather, 75, noting that members also age out. “A lot of them have passed on, and a percentage of ours are snowbirds, who go to the Elks down south.”

Sather also points to the fact that the days of hanging out at a local watering hole are dwindling.

“People have really slowed down they are being more responsible. Even the bars are not as busy as they used to be.”

Today, the Vernon Elks has 45 members, whereas peak membership was 75 in the early 2000s.

But with the centennial anniversary approaching on March 30, the club has a goal of getting 100 members. They are close, having signed up 35 at Rib Fest alone.

Either way, Sather (aka Moe) is satisfied she was finally able to bring the popular event to town, something she has been trying to do for years but just couldn’t seem to get people together and enough interest.

“It’s been on my bucket list!”

Gallacher had never even hear of a rib fest until she got a call from a fellow in Ontario interested in bringing it to town.

“Moe kept coming to mind, but I didn’t think she could do it. I called her and she started to cry,” said Gallacher, who works with the Elks as a consultant (etc. Consulting).

It was Matthew Smith, from Gator BBQ, who called. And Gator BBQ ended up winning the People’s Choice award for best ribs in Vernon to add to their trophy collection.

In true Elks fashion, the event also offered a chance for local groups to fundraise with different groups running and profiting from the daily 50/50 draws. The BMX club raised more than $900 one day.

While meat was a staple of Rib Fest, the event was dripping with activities for all. Live music, a beverage garden and kids zone made it a family-affair.

“It was the perfect venue with inside and outside,” said Gallacher, as they were able to accommodate everyone rain or shine.

As the event continues to grow, the Elks are looking for prizes, sponsors, donors and volunteers, for what Sather suspects will be an even bigger turnout.

“Kamloops gets 30-35,000 people. It’s a big draw.”

READ MORE: Vernon Elks Lodge hosting first Rib Fest


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glass of whiskey
UBCO substance use clinic goes virtual

The clinic is adapting the way it provides services as the pandemic continues

Loud beats reverberate through the room as Total Fitness Zumba class participants follow along to the instructor’s moves during a drop-in fundraiser for the Shannon Sharp Learning Circle to be constructed at Salmon Arm West School. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
City-run fitness classes paused in Vernon

Greater Vernon Recreation Services pauses play in wake of province’s new health orders

Welcome Lars, the elf. Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation's newest representative for the Light a Bulb campaign. (Contributed)
Vernon hospital welcomes new elf for Light a Bulb campaign

The passing of candy cane from elf-to-elf warrants a colouring contest!

(Morning Star file photo)
Lumby bylaw complaints skyrocket in 2020

Bylaw officers have seen an 80 per cent increase in complaints over 2019, with two months yet to be recorded

Greater Vernon Water rates will increase an average of 2.4 per cent over the next four years after the Regional District of North Okanagan adopted a new water rate bylaw on Wednesday, Nov. 18. (File photo)
Regional District North Okanagan approves four-year water rate bylaw

Water rates for Greater Vernon Water users to climb an average of 2.4 per cent over the four years

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”
Free ‘Hollywood Suite’ movies in December include ‘Keanussance’ titles starring Keanu Reeves

Also featured is the Israeli-made ‘Valley of Tears,’ a 10-part war drama

Dani Barker, originally from Salmon Arm, is working with others in the New York City film industry to bring a script she wrote to life as a feature film called Follow Her. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm woman’s movie thriller nearing completion, in need of backing

Dani Barker wrote and stars in Follow Her which wrapped filming in New York in February

Axel Hasenkox, owner of OP Office Products in Penticton, is fed up after his store was tagged by an unknown person Monday Nov. 23, 2020. (Jesse Day - Western News
Penticton business hit by ‘senseless’ vandalism

Business owner disheartened after store tagged

The Smethurst kids Kai and Julia went door to door over two days spreading to cheer and handing out 200 treat bags full of home cooked goodies for a random act of kindness on Nov. 22 and 23. (Facebook)
Penticton family hands out 200 treat bags to neighbours

The Smethursts are also making Christmas meals for anyone who needs it

Police have identified this woman accused of spitting on an employee at the Skaha Liquor Store on Sunday, Nov. 21. She also is seen on video purposely dropping his phone.
Unmasked woman who allegedly spat on a Penticton employee has been identified

Police say thanks to the public, they were able to identify her

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

Most Read