Get ready for the sweet smell of BBQ to waft through downtown London, because Ribfest kicks off Thursday in Victoria Park.
The annual festival that draws ribbers in from across North America starts Thursday and runs through holiday Monday.
“200,000 people come to Ribfest and they want so many different things, and so what they look forward to in some people might be one thing, and other people might be another,” said Organizer Doug Hillier.
There will be around 100 food booths, including a Vegan Pavilion.
“We’ve actually made it so that there’s something for everybody because the Vegan Pavilion did very well at Food Fest so we’re doing it again at Ribfest,” Hillier said. “The Vegan Pavilion is here, hopefully to stay.”
That’s where you’ll find James McInnes, founder of Globally Local. The local business broke down barriers at Food Fest as the first 100% fully organic vendors as well as the first 100% vegan installation to the festival.
McInnes will be selling their famous vegan rendition of the Big Mac at Ribfest.
“It’s an entirely vegan burger,” he said. “We use an organic chickpea patty, which we made in house, we make our own MacInnes sauce which is a vegan mayo-based sauce with all the ingredients to make it very similar to what you have at McDonalds, and we use vegan cheese, and we top it off with organic lettuce and onions and pickles.”
He’s excited to be selling food at Ribfest for the first time.
“It’s nice to make the event more inclusive for more people, and that’s kind of our goal is to make it more of an inclusive event, and say, ‘listen, you know, there’s something for everyone here whether you eat meat or you don’t,’ or even if you do eat meat and you want to try something different that’s what our goal is,” McInnes said.
There will be 10 ribbers taking part in the festival.
Ribfest runs 11a.m. to 11p.m. from Thursday through Monday with music, rides, craft vendors, and more.
New this year is the Stihl Timbersports Canadian Championships with 32 athletes competing in Pro and Rookie Divisions.