July 19-21, 2019 in Victoria Park, Kitchener
The Downtown Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show is an annual, three-day event which takes place in Victoria Park in July. While it does feature barbecued ribs and craft beer, the event also offers chicken, pizza, funnel cakes, pretzels, corn, and more. Cider and coolers are available as well, along with non-alcoholic drinks such as water and pop.
The vast beer selection comes from 18 different breweries and encompasses over 60 brands. These breweries include the Waterloo Brewing Company, Muskoka Brewery, and Amsterdam Brewery. Providers of other alcoholic drinks include Dixon’s Distilled Spirits and Shiny Apple Cider. Ribs are sold by Boss Hog’s BBQ, Jack the Ribber, and Camp 31 BBQ, among others.
While the event does involve alcohol, those under 19 are permitted if accompanied by a parent. Those over 19 will be required to purchase a wristband in order to buy beer samples and the purchase of this wristband includes a complimentary souvenir glass. For children, there is a Kids’ Fun Zone presented by Grand River Inflatables.
Admission is free, but donations to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region are accepted and encouraged at the gate; since 2008, the event has raised over $43,000 and collected 12,000 pounds of food. In addition, despite standard admission being free, attendees have the option of purchasing a VIP ticket. This ticket grants access to several perks, including wait staff that will make purchases in order to avoid lines, a separate entrance and exit, and a VIP tent and patio.
Live entertainment is also provided, featuring past groups, such as Noah and the Roaches, The Hot Karls and The Killin’ Time Band. The music is always on while the show is open: from noon until 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon until 6:00 p.m. Sunday.
The Downtown Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show has partnered with Driverseat to provide safe rides home, as well as with the University of Waterloo Men’s and Women’s Rugby Teams to provide team funding in exchange for volunteer work at the show. They have also implemented a Green Management program, which diverted 30% of waste from landfills in 2016 and is intended to divert even more.