Griller Damon Fraser of Boss Hog’s works his magic on ribs and chicken Friday, the first day of Rotary Penticton’s Rib Fest. The smokey treats are available through Sunday at Okanagan Lake Park. Mark Brett/Western News

Fired up for RibFest

Penticton Rotary RibFest kicked off on Friday

The third version of the lip-smacking, mouth-watering, finger-licking Penticton Rotary RibFest kicked off in Okanagan Lake Park today.

“It’s going to be a great weekend,” says Penticton Rotary president and RibFest chair Barb Hoolaeff. “We packed 35,000 people into the park last year over four days and we’re expecting interest to be just as high this year.”

Hoolaeff said there are plenty of great tweaks in store for the public for this year’s event, from redesigned beverage gardens — offering a better experience for adults and families — to an expanded menu for the Rib Valet service.

“Our Rib Valets will be offering a lot more variety this year,” said Hoolaeff. “The Rib Valet service means people can sit and enjoy their beverages while someone else stands in line, and this year the Rib Valet service will be offering more of the most popular menu items from the ribbers.”

Four professional ribbers will be at RibFest this year – Gator BBQ, Misty Mountain, Boss Hog’s, and Smoke and Bones. As well, Save-On-Foods is providing corn on the cob and for those who don’t like barbecued meat, one of the big hits of last year’s event is back.

“Bogner’s of Penticton came last year to provide vegetarian options and they were a big hit,” said Hoolaeff.

Another big hit last year was the Cantex Kid Zone, and the free family fun continues this year as well. Packed with Penticton favourites and out-of-town headliners, the entertainment starts at noon Friday and runs all weekend.

Friday’s headliner, taking the stage at 6:45 p.m., is Blackberry and the Circus Sideshow, an incredible event known as the Caravan of Creeps and incorporating sword-swallowing, fire-breathing and dancing into their musical act.

Saturday sees the ever-popular Roland Allen Rock Trio from Penticton return to the Windward Software Stage at 7:30 p.m. with classic and contemporary rock. Following the Roland Allen Rock Trio stay in the park for the best seats for watching the Canada Day fireworks sponsored by Ellis-Don Construction.

On Sunday, enjoy the sweet country song stylings of for Canadian Idol finalist Jaydee Bixby at 6:45 p.m. Bixby has opened for country icons like Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney and cracked the top 10 Canadian Albums Chart with his debut disc, Cowboys and Cadillacs.

Don’t forget to vote for your favourite ribber. Text your favourite ribber’s name to 1-778-200-RIBS (7427).

The Rotary Club of Penticton RibFest takes place June 30 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.), July 1 (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and July 2 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) at Okanagan Lake Park.