by HANNAH BROADBENT
Thousands of people went down to B’s on the River last Saturday to eat, drink and BBQ at the 8th annual RibFest.
Owner and event founder Bryan Baumann estimated that there were 2,500 to 3,000 people at the festival, most of which came for one reason – ribs.
The RibFest features 20 contestants who enter their one-of-a-kind recipes to be judged and voted on as favorite, the first place prize is $500.
Baumann said his goal, is to have something for everyone.
“What we wanted to do is create an event where everyone could feel comfortable and wants to come here,” He said.
Event goer Chris Van Gorkom from Winstead attended for his first time, and he agreed with Baumann.
“This event is good for the community. Music and food brings people together and the kids get to play – it’s the perfect combination,” Van Gorkom said.
Baumann said every year he tries to add something unique and always wants more activities for the kids. This year is the biggest event he’s had. Baumann added a basketball tournament for the first time this year and implemented a “no waste policy”. There were compost bins at every corner to accommodate attendees. Baumann said for the event to be a success, he’s planning more than a year ahead.
“We’re transforming the entire golf course into a huge outdoor event, so it’s a lot of hard work,” Baumann said.
There were 120 workers at the event. Their duties included manning the all-you-can-eat chicken and rib buffet, serving drinks and driving golf carts. He said there were 48 campers this year and that’s more than ever. Baumann said it’s all worth it, as his favorite part is at the end of the night when he gets to watch it all come together.
“(People) love coming out here, they say it’s like a class reunion,” Baumann said. “This is a small town and this is like an old small-town festival.”
Paul Fehr, Travis Jacob and Shaun Geyen were contestants for the second time this year and said that the people interaction is their favorite part as well.
“We’re local so we know a lot of people, the more people that come by the more fun it is for us,” Jacob said.
The three are neighbors and started cooking together at home. They said the night before RibFest they had a cookout and presented their four best recipes for the cul de sac to try. The neighborhood voted on their favorite and that’s the recipe they cooked for the contest.
“They’re made with love, you got to have the love,” Geyen said.
Van Gorkom is a smoker as well, he said he is going to join the cook-off next year. Van Gorkom appreciated the variety of cooking and smoking styles he saw, and it was encouraging for him as well.
“It’s a passion of mine,” he sad. “Here you get to see what other people are doing and you think now you want to try those same things.”