In Burlington, Ontario every Labour Day weekend there is the biggest ribfest in Canada. Paul and I have gone every year for a long time. Probably since we found out there was a ribfest to go to. It is always a really great time and the past couple years we have gone to the smaller ribfest’s to ‘warm up.’
I am not sure how many vendors come exactly, but there are at least 25 rib places all set up down by the lake. It is always packed with people and all you can smell is cooking ribs and BBQ sauce. Usually the weather is not too bad because even if it is swelteringly hot, the breeze coming off the lake makes it a little cooler.

Paul Ribfest

Usually, we try to go between meal times, like that awkward 3pm time where you’re hungry, but isn’t early enough for dinner and too late for lunch. There are fewer crowds at those times and you’re less likely to get stuck in a huge line. However, when we end up going during those peak hours, we have a very technical and mathematical way of choosing where we get our ribs… the shortest line.
This year, and the past two years, my parents have come down to go with us and brought my nephew. That little guy loves his ribs; we were going to go for dinner and I told him about it before lunch. When we asked what he wanted for lunch he said ‘ribs!’ We ended up convincing him to take a snack now and we would go for ribs later because all the really good ones take a long time to cook.
Whenever we tell people we are bringing my toddler nephew to ribfest, they give us a look on incredulity, but E-boy has been to every ribfest since he was born. I remember, one year, he was laying in his stroller with a bib and a rib.
It is really great to take E-boy to all these events, especially now that he has rounded three years old; he is beginning to understand and get excited about things. I can remember his first Christmas, which was exciting for us, but he was much too young to understand anything. Last year was better, but I still don’t think he really grasped the concept. I think this year will be excellent, but I digress.

Ethan and Ice Cream

A couple things I have seen at ribfest that I cannot quite believe are; a woman wearing head to toe white. I am talking a white blouse and a long white skirt. Why? Just…. Why? Something else I saw and I am not sure if it was deliberate or not, but there was a man with a white t-shirt on. His back had multiple tiny handprints, like he had been holding a toddler and the said toddler repeatedly wiped their hands off on his shirt. It was either deliberate, or it happened once and the man gave up all pretenses of keeping his shirt unstained.
There are always two stages with live music; this year there were three. I think all the stages had a lower decibel level than previous years, but that could have just been me. Usually I try to get as far from the stages as I can because I hate trying to yell over the music. This year, we ended up at a picnic table right beside the stage. We still had to yell over the music, but it wasn’t horrible for being directly beside the huge speakers. Perhaps because there was another stage at the end of the park, they had to keep it quieter. I liked it better though; I enjoy my eardrums intact, thank you very much.


Overall, ribfest is a really good time, there is a fair-like atmosphere with the ribs and all the little folksy booths. Everywhere you look there is funnel cake, ice cream, stuffed animals, bandana’s with your dogs name embroidered on it. Lets not forget the fudge either! I would also suggest that any diet you maybe on has a cheat night and you head out to a ribfest on that day. I don’t think there is anything there not deep fried.