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Port Moody's most popular event is ready to return after a two-year pandemic hiatus

Port Moody's popular Ribfest is expected to make its return next July after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Ribbers from around North America will be back in Port Moody this summer, as organizers expect to hold Ribfest again after a two-year pandemic hiatus | Mario Bartel/Tri-City News

Start saving your appetite. And your napkins. 

Ribfest is returning.

In a delegation to Port Moody council last week, the event’s co-chair Frank Marchand said planning is already well underway for the annual event’s revival next July 15 to 17 after it had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while it’s still not known what sorts of public health restrictions might still be in place next summer, Marchand said with vaccinations on pace and regulations easing he’s confident “we’ll be able to welcome people back to Port Moody for this world class event.”

Marchand said Ribfest is Port Moody Rotary’s largest fundraiser and its cancellation two years running has cost the service organization about $100,000 it uses to support various programs and organizations in the city.

The first Ribfest was held in 2015, attracting 40,000 visitors to Rocky Point Park. They enjoyed smoked and grilled meats from a variety of professional grillers that travel a circuit of such events around North America, as well as live music. In subsequent years, the event continued to grow, attracting renowned grillers like Port Moody’s own Rusty Johnson, who’s won several national and international competitions.

Marchand said contracts with grillers and musicians are already being drawn up to secure their presence as Rotary is anticipating a lot of competition from other such events around North America as they come back online.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” he said.

Council will consider at a future meeting whether to roll forward the three-year funding commitment for Ribfest that it made in 2019 to make up for the cancelled events.

But, “there’s no reason for us to rethink our support,” assured Coun. Hunter Madsen.

That came as a relief to Marchand as, he said, the city is Ribfest’s “biggest partner.”