Western Canada’s biggest rib festival at centre of community in Kamloops

It takes a village-sized number of people to stage a marquee, community event. And in Kamloops, the supporting cast around the annual Ribfest at Riverside Park August 9-11 is the result of creating successful and lasting partnerships.

Ask Bryce Herman, a Kamloops Rotary Daybreak member who has been part of Ribfest for years, and he’ll tell you the three-day party and competition celebrating the most fantastic tasting ribs is just part of the story.

“We try and work with other service clubs and agencies so they can come in and benefit, as well,” Herman says. “And that creates an incredible weekend for families and enthusiasts, whether it’s dragon boats, cars, or people who just like getting out and enjoying the park, music and other entertainment.”

Ribfest is at the core, with other attractions such as the Hot Nite in the City car show, Kamloops Dragon Boat Festival and Music in the Park series creating a festival-like atmosphere.

“We have pulled in a number of partners and will continue to seek opportunities where we can,” says Herman, adding the combination of events, which all fall over the same Friday-Sunday period, provides something for everyone.

“Hot Nite in the City car show engulfs the entire downtown main roads and avenues,” Herman says. “Car show enthusiasts generally like to get involved with things, so they can enjoy the car show, then make their way to the park a few short blocks away and take part in Ribfest and music there.”

The Dragon Boat Festival came on board in 2014 and was a good fit, adding another, unique focus of interest. “And Ribfest benefits because the boat races provide some great activities right on the waterfront,” Herman says.

Combined, the events foster community and co-operation, all while ringing up financial support for local community groups.

All of the money raised at Ribfest stays in Kamloops, with a primary focus on assisting seniors and youth. Since its inception, over $600,000 has been raised.

But all of this is not possible without the help of a small army of volunteers.

“It takes about 300 people a day to stage what we do,” Herman says. “You simply can’t undertake something like this without many boots on the ground, which includes Rotarians from throughout the city, not just the Daybreak Club.”

For more information about the annual Kamloops Ribfest and associated events, visit kamloopsribfest.com or email [email protected].

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