The wait for ribs for Red Deer meat lovers is finally over.
The inaugural Red Deer Shelter Ribfest in support of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter will bring beef and pork ribs downtown this weekend.
Five rib teams from Canada and the U.S. will be serving up ribs at the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The group co-ordinating the event has been touring all summer and has hosted ribfests in other Alberta communities, including Fort McMurray, St. Albert, Lethbridge, Calgary and Grande Prairie.
“We believe in the community obviously benefiting from this and giving back,” said Andrew Reinhardt, owner of Billy’s BBQ, out of Michigan, who will be part of Red Deer Shelter Ribfest.
Keeping the giving back theme in mind, the group will feed ribs to children and teens (under 14) for free on Friday between 4 to 7 p.m. – a first for the group of grill experts.
“We want Red Deer to see we believe in community and help the community as much as possible,” said Reinhardt.
On-site activities will include live entertainment, a kids play area and additional food options, including blooming onions, mini doughnuts and cold beer.
“You have to see the show. It’s a whole production, it’s like a street festival,” said Kosta Kate, Texas Rangers BBQ owner, who will also be at the event.
Both Kate and Reinhardt said people are encouraged to donate at the gate in lieu of an admission fee.
The hope is to raise about $50,000 for the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
The third annual Red Deer Ribfest was cancelled earlier this summer.
“We deeply regret having to make this announcement and sincerely apologize to all of our fans who have stuck with us from day one and were so looking forward to this year’s Red Deer Ribfest,” a Facebook post stated Aug. 14.
“It is our long-term goal to turn the original Red Deer Ribfest into an amazing annual tradition that the entire community, kids and families will look forward to every year.”
Another Facebook post on Tuesday states Red Deer Ribfest will be in town later this month to finalize plans for the 2020 Red Deer Ribfest and to confirm a new community partner.