What could be better than sampling delicious food, listening to live music, and drinking a few libations at an outdoor venue in the summer? The annual Kalamazoo RibFest combines all these aspects while celebrating the art of grilling. This year’s three day festival will occur on August 2-4, at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place in downtown Kalamazoo.
The Kalamazoo RibFest “was started as a fundraising event for The Arc Community Advocates. [They] have raised $925,000 since it started” (RibFest will be celebrating it’s 21st annual festival this year). The Arc Community Advocates supports individuals in the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In order to give Awesome Mitten readers an informed description and insight into this festival, I spoke to Deborah Droppers (with The Event Company of Kalamazoo) who helps plan and promote the event.
RibFest features thirteen food vendors, both local and from out of state. ”I recommend all of the vendors – I would be ‘slaughtered’ if I picked one over the other – they are like family since they come back every year – it’s like a reunion of sorts,” Droppers commented. Alongside the several different options of ribs, vendors offer pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, carnival food, and sausage for consumption.
Part of the RibFest festivities is the Kalamazoo Cook-off. It is an all day cooking competition and can host up to twenty competitors. This year’s cook-off occur on Saturday, August 4, from 8 am to 4 pm. Winners will be rewarded with cash prizes and trophies.
RibFest is a family-friendly event and provides entertainment for individuals of all ages. Special events include an arts and crafts area and games for the children, a ribs eating contest, an arts and crafts market (creations by clients of The Arc Community Advocates), live music concerts, and many more fun events. ”We have about 30,000 to 35,000 who attend over the 3 days – and if we have great weather, for our more popular bands we will have about 10,000 attend the concert at one time.”
“My favorite part is when the weather is in the high 70’s, the site is packed, the beer is flowing, the band is totally awesome, and we know that we have raised money for The Arc Community Advocates – when that happens, I am happy,” says Droppers.
Must be 21 years of age and provide valid picture identification to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Pets are prohibited.
No coolers or beverages allowed through the gate.
$5.00 at 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday
$10 after 7 p.m. on Friday & Saturday only
Children under 12 (with an adult) are free
After 7 p.m., anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult
Hours: 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. on Thursday
11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday