(DHI Media File Photo)
(DHI Media File Photo)


VAN WERT — The Van Wert Rib Fest is coming up Aug. 8-9.

Larry Lee, executive director of the Van Wert Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, which organizes the annual Van Wert Rib Fest, has announced more details about this year’s event.

The eighth annual affair will be held Aug. 8 and 9. The gates will open at 5 p.m. Aug. 8 with 12 food vendors ready to serve some the best festival foods in the area. On Aug. 9. the gates will open at 11 a.m.

Rib vendors participating this year include Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ from Convoy, Low & Slow BBQ from Fort Wayne, Pigtails BBQ from West Salem, Ohio, Pork Brothers BBQ from Lima, Smoke Shack BBQ from Pickerington, Ohio, and Timmy’s BBQ from Garrett, Indiana.

“We think we’ve got a great line-up of rib teams this year,” Lee said. “We have local favorites, like Gibson’s and Pork Brothers and we have Smoke Shack, who have been a part of each of the past events. We are excited to welcome Pigtails BBQ from eastern Ohio, who also participated in the 2014 Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest. And we’re glad to welcome back Low and Slow, who were part of last year’s event, and Timmy’s BBQ, who were here two years ago.”

In addition to the rib teams who will provide a variety of meat selections and sides, there will be six other food vendors on site.

“Annie’s Concessions will be offering fries, funnel cakes and lemon shake-ups. Fiske Concessions will be selling french fries and ice tea. CJ’s Shaved Ice will be on hand as well as Sycamore Ice Cream, and Mike’s Wisconsin Cheese Curds will also be available,” Lee added. “Saucy Sows will be there selling a variety of sauces and batters.”

The 2014 edition of the Rib Fest will feature outstanding musical entertainment. At 5 p.m. on Aug. 8, the local group Bad Advice will be on stage. Bad Advice is a blues-based rock-n-roll band that puts on a very entertaining and crowd interactive show.

They will be followed by The Earthquakers from Erie, Pennsylvania, at 7 p.m.

“They were a real crowd–pleaser last year so we invited them back to do a Friday night show,” Lee said.

At 10:30 p.m. another local group, Jackpot, will be on stage to round out the evening.

On Aug. 9, local favorite Double Kik will open the entertainment stage at 5:30 p.m. followed by Nashville Crush at 7 p.m.

“The popularity of Nashville Crush is phenomenal in this area and we hope they draw a significant crowd,” Lee said.

The evening will conclude with a performance by Scotty Brachter, a blues artist from Middletown, Ohio.

“Scotty was here three years ago, but his performance was cut short due to stormy weather and we wanted to get him back here and give him an opportunity to do his full show.”

Other events on Saturday at Rib Fest include the annual Youth Wiffleball and Corn Hole tournaments. Registration forms for these events can be obtained at the CVB office at 136 E. Main St. or online at www.vanwertribfest.com. The deadline for the Wiffleball Tournament is Aug. 4, while corn holers may either enter early or same-day registration will also be accepted.

“We are pleased to be working with the United Way of Van Wert County in a fund-raising project called ‘When Pigs Fly’,” Lee commented.

For a $10 donation you can buy a plastic pig which will be dropped along with up to 499 others over an open spot at the Rib Fest. A pig-pen will be marked on the ground. The owner of the pig landing closest to the pen will receive $650, the second closest will get $350 and the pig landing the farthest away from the pig pen will earn $250 for its owner.

“What a fun way to support this vital local agency,” he said.

Pigs (tickets) may be purchased from any United Way Board member at the United Way Office at 1151 Westwood Drive or at the Rib Fest.

“We are also happy to have the YWCA of Van Wert County with us,” Lee said. “They will be sponsoring Pig Races at this year’s Rib Fest. Last year was the first time for the pig races and they were a big hit.”

The YWCA will use the proceeds of the pig races to help support their transitional living program and domestic violence services.

Babes Out on Bikes, a local female motorcycle group, will host a Poker Run departing from the Rib Fest at noon Aug. 9. The money raised from the run will be used to help local breast cancer victims.

“We are really excited about all the things happening at this year’s Rib Fest,” Lee said. “Each year we try to make the event better than it was the year before. With all the great support from the community, with the great line-up of entertainment added to the great food brought by our vendors, and all the fun activities taking place, we believe we’ll have the best rib fest to date.”

“We are very excited to welcome the Van Wert High School Class of 1979, the Crestview Class of 1979 and the Antwerp High School Class of 2004 to the Rib Fest,” Lee said.

These classes are having their class reunions at Rib Fest.

Admission price for this year’s event is $5 per person on Aug. 8, $2 on Aug. 9 before 7 p.m. and $5 after 7 p.m. Children under 12 will be admitted free both days.