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First Art of Ribs Fest a smokin' success

by jmaloni
Thu, Aug 19th 2010 12:00 pm

by Liz Kovacs

Art of Ribs Chairwoman

Considering the 90 degree temperatures that hit the Buffalo-Niagara area last weekend, people still came out to enjoy the new Art of Ribs barbecue ribs festival in Academy Park, Lewiston, on Aug. 14-15. Sponsored by the Lewiston/Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club, the Art of Ribs 2010 was a first-time event that was only an idea just five months ago.

When the Lewiston Council on the Arts heard that the Lewiston/NOTL Rotary Club was planning a rib fest in Lewiston, they thought it would be a great idea to have the rib event on the same weekend as the 44th annual Lewiston Art Festival. Two festivals, side by side, would be providing attendees with great art in various forms -- including an American culinary favorite:  barbecue ribs.

Occupying Academy Park, the Art of Ribs was designed to provide food, entertainment, beer and a fundraising opportunity for Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Heath Center. Tubby the pig was staged at the entrance to accept donations.

One of the main components of the Art of Ribs was a judging contest. Visitors purchased a judging kit for $12 that was worn around their neck. Tickets inside were for obtaining a sample BBQ rib from each of the six competing vendors. Participants then followed the instructions on how to judge, and score each rib after tasting. Scores were then placed in a ballot box.

Approximately 200 people participated in the judging contest, organizers report. The scores were inputted into a computer spreadsheet and tallied. The proud winners were Alex's BBQ for Best Ribs (People's Choice Award) and Bad To The Bone (Certified Judges Award).

The festival included great live bands such as Jim Beishlin & Jan Mitchell, Tent Cent Howl, Creek Bend Bluegrass Band, Lochside Celtic Band, Hog Tie Sessions, Stone Country Band and Old Skool.

The Lewiston/Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club would like to thank all the wonderful volunteers that poured into this festival, half of which were from Ontario. As a bi-national Rotary Club, the generosity from across the border was so symbolic of the club's tradition of promoting "Friendship Across the Border."

They report that the official photographer for Art of Ribs 2010, Cheryl Gorski, will be posting more than 400 pictures from this event onto her Web site, which can be accessed at cherylgorski.com and artofribs.com as early as next week.

Lewiston/NOTL Rotary Club organizers extend special thanks to the Lewiston Council on the Arts for its support, and also the Village and Town of Lewiston and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.

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