Canada’s Largest Ribfest returns to Burlington


Published August 21, 2023 at 2:30 pm

The official name says it all…Canada’s Largest Ribfest…and it’s right here in Burlington.

Taking over Spencer Smith Park on Labour Day Weekend, organizers of this year’s ribfest say it will be bigger and better than ever as it emerges for the second time in the post-pandemic world with more entertainment, more vendors and, of course, plenty of ribs.

Presented by Rotary Burlington Lakeshore, the event has grown steadily since its inception in 1996 and this year attendance records are expected to be broken after last year’s reintroduction. It runs from Sept. 1 through to Sept. 4.

“We didn’t know what to expect coming out of the pandemic but last year the event was very well attended,” said Brent Paszt, co-chair of the event. “It’s something people really look forward to and we try our best to put on a great show. We expect this year to be something special.”

This year there will be 16 “ribbers” cooking and selling ribs on-site including Uncle Sam’s BBQ, Pistol Pete’s Smokehouse and Sticky Fingers, to name a few, who will be serving up a variety of styles and sauces that should appeal to just about everyone’s appetite.

As well, some big-name musical performers will kick off the event on Sept.1 which will carry a retro vibe. Headliners that day will be The Box, Images In Vogue and Chalk Circle.

New this year will be a cover charge to enter the park. The cost will be $2 for anyone over the age of 12. Payment at the door and at the beverage tents will be cashless so remember to bring your debit or credit card.

While the event is one of the biggest on Burlington’s festival map and offers plenty of family-filled fun, Paszt reminds us that the ribfest is totally a fundraiser not just for several local charities, but also supports international causes.

“It’s all about charity,” he said. “Most of the funds stay locally in Burlington and in the region but we also support orphanages and schools in other lands. The work that Rotary Burlington Lakeshore does is all volunteer-driven and goes to help about 40 organizations in the community.”

Some of the agencies that receive support are Burlington Food Bank, Food4Kids Halton, Joseph Brant Hospital, Out of the Cold, Lighthouse Centre for Grieving Children and the Burlington Humane Society.

“The ribfest also has an impact of $5 million to $10 million on the local economy during the four days of the event.

A complete list of events and participants and be found on Canada’s Largest Ribfest webpage.

Paszt added that volunteers are still needed to help with this year’s event and the sign-up form can also be found on the website.


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