Ribfest will return to Bradford!

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Rib-lovers are relieved. Ribfest will be returning to Bradford in 2017, but under new management. POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Rib-lovers are relieved. Ribfest will be returning to Bradford in 2017, but under new management. POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Ribfest will return to Bradford in 2017.

Founder and organizer Rick Brooks stepped away from the annual festival, moving on to new opportunities in locations like Owen Sound and Innisfil - and leaving behind complaints that included ineffective clean-up of the site.

Peter Gismondi, Manager of the Superior Events Group, has stepped into the breach.

Superior Events Group is a well-established company that has for the past 20 years been involved in party rentals and  events across Ontario, and Canada. On March 7, Gismondi appeared before BWG Council with Nick Warman, Bradford West Gwillimbury Manager of Recreation  –  asking the Town to declare Bradford Ribfest a “municipally significant event”, as it has in the past, and to approve the festival “in principle,”  allowing the special occasion permit process to begin.

Bradford Ribfest will take place July 28 and 29, tentatively  from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and July 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on property adjacent to Zehr's Market at 500 Holland St. West. The site is slightly smaller than  the site in the past, due to development of the portion of the property in front of Zehr's, and adjustments will be made to accommodate the stage and vendors.

“I'm glad someone stepped up,” said Councillor Mark Contois. “I hope you can make this work.”

“This is not the only festival I produce,” Gismondi said, assuring Councillors that his company hires a third party to clean up its venues, in a responsible fashion. As for complaints that last year staging was left on the property for weeks before being removed, Gismondi noted that his supplier uses the stage for weekly events, and would remove it as quickly as possible.

He also indicated that he is hoping to partner with a local service organization, to operate the  beer garden, and will be looking for sponsorship.

Councillors asked about paperwork for the Festival, noting that late filings and requests for extensions were an annual feature with the previous organizer.

“I'm very pleased to say everything was received by the prescribed time,” Warman said.

Councillors unanimously recommended approval of Bradford Ribfest 2017.