Four years ago, when the four Langley Rotary Clubs joined forces to host their first ever RibFest, the community responded with tremendous support. They turned out in large numbers – more than 20,000 people attended the 2018 event.
The event has only grown since then, with more than 30,000 people from across Lower Mainland coming to Langley in 2019 to enjoy “the very best ribs in town” and help the non-profit raise about $150,000, said RibFest chair Jeff Morfitt.
When the annual event was gaining momentum, COVID hit, forcing organizers to put their plans on hold. But, this year, the three-day event is returning for the first time post-pandemic, and organizers are prepared to offer a “bigger than before” festival – with more than 35,000 attendees anticipated.
In an exclusive interview with Langley Advance Times, Morfitt shared this year’s highlights and updates.
For the first time, the kids zone will feature a Nintendo game station. Some of the other kids’ activities planned include human foosball, kids chess tent, facepainting, a tot zone, mist spray tent, and more.
In addition – Morfitt’s personal favourite segment – the event will feature a “long and talented” entertainment lineup that kicks out at about noon on each of the three days.
Of course, the festival will have multiple food trucks – six to be precise – selling ribs, but not everything has to do with ribs at the RibFest, said Morfitt.
“We have something for everyone. This is a community friendly event for a good cause,” he added.
Through vendor fees, drink sales, and donations, the four Rotary Clubs are aiming to once again raise more than $150,000 – with intentions to help local charities and the community through initiatives like the Starfish Backpacks program that provides nutritious meals kids in need.
In addition, one of the festival’s main highlights – the 50/50 raffle – could bring the local Rotary Clubs another $100,000.
“Rotary doesn’t keep the money. All the funds go towards community service projects,” commented Morfitt.
This year’s festival was made possible through corporate sponsorships and money received through the government’s COVID relief funds.
Thanking the sponsors, Morfitt said it is because of them [sponsors] that the team is able to cover the costs of organizing one of the community’s largest events.
Apart from generous donations, the community also shows support by volunteering. Each year, hundreds take part in the event as volunteers. Typically the number of volunteers ranges between 300 and 400, mostly coming through Langley Volunteer Bureau, Morfitt explained.
“We have really, really worked hard over the past couple of weeks to make this event close t0 100 per cent sustainable,” he elaborated.
Using primarily recycled material, Morfitt said there will be “very less” that would go to the garbage.
“It takes a lot of efforts to get there and we are very proud of it.”
The free three-day event starts Friday, Aug. 12 at McLeod Athletic Park, located at the northwest corner of 56th Avenue and 216th Street.
“When you come, plan and try to donate generously and enjoy this community friendly event,” Morfitt concluded.
For more information on this ribtastic event, people can visit ribfestlangley.com.
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