RibFest makes its return to Ottawa


After two years of a less than vibrant city with festivals and events either cancelled or held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ottawa is finally getting back to what makes this city shine.

RibFest is just one of the many festivals being held in Ottawa this summer. The event is a staple in the city, as this year marks the 28th year. The festival welcomes eight champion Ribbers from all over North America who showcase the best of grill and sauce. These incredible specialists who live, eat, sleep and breathe BBQ will compete for Ottawa’s coveted “Champion Belt” in Best Rib, Best Chicken, Best Sauce and Best Team/In Show. People attending the festival will also be able to watch the celebrity judging and get in on the action too!

Kevin McHale, the executive director of Sparks Street BIA, is especially excited to have RibFest return to Ottawa after an unexpected break.

“It’s exciting to have our vendors return after a long hiatus and to get stuff going again and to have people excited just to see the RibFest banners on the street for the last couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s just kind of maybe a sign of normalcy in the downtown core!”
However, getting the festival back up and running has come with its set of challenges. Not all the RibFest vendors have gone back to normal hours of operation yet. Some food trucks that normally would be there throughout the festival will not be involved this year. McHale expected there to be challenges in putting this event on but is still very optimistic about this week’s outcome.

“Those are some of the struggles we’re dealing with but we’re working through them,” he said. “Right now, it’s a sunny day and we got a bunch of people walking up and down the street with rib containers, so it’s exciting!”

The festival will be held from June 1-5 on Sparks Street and will be open from 11:00am – 10:00pm daily and Sunday 11:00am – 7:00pm. The festival is also not just about the grill other exciting foodie favourites will also be available, along with live music and performances for everyone to enjoy.