Discover Burlington Ontario

Canada’s Largest Ribfest Aug 30-Sept3

by Pam Belgrade

For 23 years, Canada’s Largest Ribfest has become a Labour Day weekend tradition here in Burlington.  So why is it dubbed Canada’s Largest?  Ribfest has an annual average attendance of 182,000, over 150,000 lbs of ribs are sold and over $3 million dollars has been raised by organizers the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore over the course of the event.


This year’s Ribfest is held from August 30 – September 3, at Spencer Smith Park and features 19 ribbers serving up some of the best BBQ from the South and beyond.  The 50/50 draw is BACK! The draw last year was so successful the Rotary Club has decided to give another lucky winner a shot at some cash. Be sure to keep an eye out for 50/50 shirts if you would like to purchase tickets at the event! (LL#9991)

Looking for the win!

What’s New in 2018? 

  • Burlington’s Business Networking EventThursday, August 30th from 5pm to 8pm, stay for the DJ Dance Party. Check out the website for full details. 
  • DJ Dance Night Thursday Aug 30th – Featuring DJ Danny D and the Z103.5 Party Patrol Click here for more information on this ticketed event.
  • Want VIP treatment?  – Now there is an exciting new way to experience Ribfest as a Saucy Club member.  Check out website for dates, times and inclusions.
  • Emerging Artist Showcase – Congratulations to Abby J. Hall, Cameron Bogle, and Charissa who won a spot in the Emerging Artist Showcase. These 3  artists will launch their career by performing at this year’s Ribfest. 

Tourism Tips

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

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead 
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) – COMING SOON.  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. There is also a family zone with midway rides, rock climbing wall, Escape Room and vendors throughout the park.

Go Early and Save 
Get a head start on your rib eating by visiting Ribfest between 12-5pm on Friday August 31 and you can save $3.00 on a half rack dinner which will be availabe online soon. If you forget your coupon, don’t worry we will 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

Hate to Wait?

Buy a Front of the Line Pass and bypass ribber line ups, ticket are $10 and valued for one-time purchase of 4, look for the street teams selling tickets from Friday – 1:45 – 8pm, Saturday – 1:45pm – 8pm, Sunday – 1:45pm – 8pm and Monday – 1:45pm – 6pm. 

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.  We always pick up a jar or tow of BBQ sauce from our favourite ribber so we can try to replicate these mouth watering ribs at home.

Bring a friend …sharing is caring

GO Green 
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 CorralThe unstaffed bike corral is located at the East Gate at Lakeshore Road and Brant Street, by the Waterfront Hotel.
  • 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

Be Sun Safe 
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.


Enjoy Responsibly 
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 for Ribfest and if you need assistance planning your visit to Burlington we are happy to help.  Our visitor centre is open daily 8am – 6pm until August 31 and  9am -4pm as of September 1 (including Labour Day Monday Sept. 3)

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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