The community came out in large numbers this past weekend for the seventh Annual Tillsonburg Ribfest.
“One of the best Ribfests we’ve had in a long time,” said coordinator Mike Holly, president/owner of the Tillsonburg Thunder hockey team.
“We had lineups each night from four to seven, it has been steady – even on Saturday with the rain,” said Holly on Sunday afternoon. “The ‘ribbers’ have been happy. Everything’s been going really well.”
Due to COVID, this year’s ribfest was take-out style. Not drive-up, but walk up. Being outdoors, facemasks were optional, but the lineup areas were clearly defined. There were no designated sitting areas on site – customers made their orders and took the ribs, chicken, pulled pork, fries – or other ribfest food – home.
“It was nice to be outside. People have been great, they understand about the COVID restrictions. When we started planning this back in December/January we didn’t know what ‘stage’ we would be in, so we had to do it like this. Some of the bigger cities, they changed very fast, but they have hundreds of volunteers.”
For the first time at a Thunder Tillsonburg Ribfest, organizers asked – without pressuring visitors – if they would like to make a donation to the hockey team.
The support was fantastic, said Holly.
“We’d like to thank the people of Tillsonburg for their generosity to the Thunder. They have been very generous … and that’s a big part in helping the team out. So we have to thank them.
“What we noticed is that a lot of people haven’t been to a Ribfest before,” Holly noted. “So we explained who we are and how it works.
“And not just from Tillsonburg. We were talking to a lot of people coming from all over the place saying they were happy to see it here, happy they didn’t have to travel a long ways to get ribs.”
One of the vendors had to go out and get more chicken, said Holly. “And that is good! It’s their last ribfest of the year. After this one, they’ll get them (grills and trucks) all cleaned up and put them into storage for the winter.”
The Tillsonburg Ribfest has already been booked for the last weekend of September 2022.
Tillsonburg Thunder’s WOSHL home opener is Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Kinsmen Memorial Arena. The Stratford Fighting Irish will be in town for a 7 p.m. puck drop.
“We’ve got a good team this year,” said Holly.