Discover Burlington Ontario

Canada’s Largest Ribfest 2017

by Pam Belgrade

For 22 years, Canada’s Largest Ribfest has become a Labour Day weekend tradition here in Burlington.  Ribfest has an annual average attendance of 182,000, over 150,000 lbs of ribs sold and over $3 million dollars has been raised for the community over the course of the event.  Help out the cause by purchasing 50-50 tickets LL# 9141 at the event.

The 2017 Ribfest runs from September 1 -4, at Spencer Smith Park and features 19 ribbers serving up some of the best BBQ from the South and beyond.  Of course it’s not just about having great food, these ribbers are looking for your votes as they vie for Best Ribs, Best Sauce and Best “Pig Rig”.  This year the rib contest will be judged by chefs so the competition will be fierce.

Looking for the win!

Looking for the win!

Here at Tourism Burlington, we like to help so we’ve compiled some tips for making the most of your Ribfest experience.

Plan Ahead for Ribfest
With so much to see and do (aside from rib eating), you will want to plan ahead so you don’t miss any of the fun.  You can pick up a copy of the Ribfest program at our visitor centre (414 Locust St) starting Tuesday August 29.  The program has a map of the festival including locations of ribbers, an entertainment schedule and coupon for Friday afternoon (see below).   Entertainment starts at noon on Friday and runs though to close on Monday evening. You can view the schedule online.  It has just been announced that Burlington band Finger Eleven is the Monday east stage headliner from 5:30 – 7 p.m, we are so #HometownProud of these Famous Burlingtonians!    For the first time an Escape room will be at the festival located at the new gazebo in the east end of the park.  There is also a family zone with midway rides and vendors throughout the park.

VIP seating can be yours … visit the website for details on costs and how to purchase.

Canada's Largest Ribfest - crowd

With all this happening, you will want to plan ahead

Go Early and Save at Ribfest
Get a head start on your rib eating by visiting Ribfest between 12-5pm on Friday September 1 and you can save $3.00 on a half rack dinner by printing this coupon. If you forget your coupon, don’t worry we have them available at our visitor centre at 414 Locust St., stop by on your way down to the park and pick one up.

Ribs, ribs and more ribs

Ribs, ribs and more ribs

Sharing is Caring at Ribfest
With so many delicious ribbers to chose from sometimes it’s hard to pick “the one”.  We always try to go in a group so we can divide and conquer.  Everyone in the group get a different ribber and then we split them up so we get a little taste of everything.  Friends and family don’t want to share? Opt for a small portion (half rack) and try a couple or bring them home for a late night snack.

Sharing is Caring

GO Green – Getting to Ribfest
Ribfest is committed to a 100% green festival, which means lots of re-cycling and composting along with the volunteers from Burlington Green.  The festival have the distinction of being a Festival and Events Ontario “Best Greening of a Festival or Event” award winner.

Think green when you think transportation to Ribfest by considering these eco-friendly options:

•Cycle to the festival and park your ride in the Bike Corral.  The bike corral is located on the promendade south of Spencer’s Restaurant and is a fully staffed secure area.  They will also secure strollers which is great for families with young children.
•Walk or take public transit.  Check bus schedules here
•If you drive, consider carpooling and remember that downtown parking is free in municipal lots and on-street weekends and evenings. Details here.

Bike Corral

Bike Corral

Be Sun Safe at Ribfest
We always hope for sunny skies and nice weather during Ribfest because no one wants a soggy event.  Along with all that great late summer weather comes the need to be sun safe.  Be sure to dress for the weather, wear a hat, slap on some sunscreen and stay hydrated and green by packing a re-fillable water bottle.

Canada's Largest Ribfest

Enjoy Responsibly at Ribfest
If you enjoy an ice cold (alcoholic) beverage, please drink responsibly and be sure to have a designated driver or safe ride home (Burlington Taxi, Driverseat Burlington,etc).


We hope this helps you plan your Ribfest visit and if you need assistance planning your visit to Burlington we are happy to help.  Our visitor centre is open daily 8am – 6pm until September 1 and  9am -4pm as of September 2 (including Labour Day Monday Sept. 4)

Canada's Largest Ribfest - ribber

Do have any tips for enjoying Ribfest? Be sure to share them in our comments section.

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