Western Canada’s largest rib festival is back for its seventh year in Kamloops and this time visitors can pair their saucy meat treats with local craft beers.
The Noble Pig, Red Collar Brewing Co. and Iron Road Brewing will be serving up suds at the beer garden for the first time at the annual fundraiser hosted by the Daybreak Rotary Club of Kamloops.
Adding local brews to Ribfest is an initiative that’s been in the works since the festival started back in 2012, Ribfest spokesperson Bryce Herman told KTW.
“It’s taken this long to come up with a formula that would work,” Herman said. “The biggest problem is capacity.”
Herman said the decision for this year was to “walk before we run,” so the local breweries will only be on site for Sunday.
Six Canadian-based championship teams from B.C. to Ontario are returning from last year to dish out their best ribs and sauce at Riverside Park Friday through Sunday. Judging takes place Saturday at 3 p.m.
The festival will be open each of the three days from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Ribfest has plenty for families to enjoy, including a family-friendly beer garden that has 350 more seats than last year due to high demand. There is also be a family fun zone running all weekend in the east end of the park, which will include bouncy castles, ventriloquists and watermelon eating contests.
Though it was cancelled last year due to smoky conditions, the Kamloops Dragon Boat Festival will return Saturday alongside Ribfest.
Teams from across the province are coming to compete on the South Thompson River off the shores of the Riverside Park beach, with racing expected to run from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Smoky conditions in Kamloops this week are expected to lift in time for Ribfest this year, according to Environment Canada.
Ribfest’s invitational car show is scheduled for Sunday morning between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. with about 60 vehicles expected to be on display in the parking lot of Heritage House.
The show will be one last opportunity to check out some of the hot rods that will grace Victoria Street on Saturday between First and Sixth avenues for the 24th annual Hot Nite in the City show and shine.
The show and shine begins Friday with a poker run of vehicles between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. About 85 cars will make stops at retirement homes and A&Ws around town, finishing at the restaurant in Aberdeen.
“We have a lot of nice stuff from out of town coming and there’s a lot of new in-town stuff,” said Hot Nite chair Ron Popove.
Downtown will be filled with street rods, American muscle cars, motorcycles and vintage vehicles on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Saturday. Awards for the top cars get started at about 4 p.m.
Over at Ribfest there will be many musical performances at the Rotary Bandshell stage all weekend long for Ribfest, with tribute bands capping off each night’s entertainment in the 7:30 p.m. time slot.
The Hip Show — a Tragically Hip tribute band — takes the stage Friday. Eagle Eyes pays homage to the 1970s rock band the Eagles Saturday and Beatles tribute band The Beatles Experience will fill the Sunday show.
Ribfest saw between 52,000 and 55,000 total visitors in 2017, compared to 60,000 in 2016.
Herman said this year he expects to see a similar numbers to last year and has recruited local company Hummingbird Drones to take aerial footage of the grounds in order to help get a better count of visitors this year.