Chicago’s annual “BBQ-palooza” is back and bigger than ever. First debuting in 1999 as a community block party, Ribfest now spans over five city blocks and is nationally recognized as one of the most anticipated summer festivals in the area. If the food isn’t enough, a huge Indie music festival has been added for more entertainment, as well as a Kids Square that provides kids with hours of entertainment while their parents enjoy their grub.
However, with all its added events, Ribfest remains true to its food roots. Over 50,000 pounds of pork will feed the expected 50,000 guests, and at the center of it all is the highly anticipated rib-eating competition. Three years ago, RibMania was introduced as an 8-minute rib-eating contest. Last year, Tim “Gravy” Brown ate 7.8 pounds of baby back ribs in 8 minutes, shattering the previous world record, but this year’s stakes are even higher: not only will the winner be awarded $4,000 in addition to being crowned King of Chicago, the world’s top ranked competitive eater, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, will take on nine other competitors.
If the rib contest doesn’t interest you, there are still other things to do. There will be 26 food vendors, offering their delicious eats while listening to an awesome line-up of over 20 Indie bands set to perform over the span of all three days. Don’t worry, though; the festival continues after the food disappears. An after hours party at Big Bricks will be serving attractive drink specials all weekend as well as more ribs. Ribfest Chicago XV seems like a perfect way to kick off summer with one of America’s favorite comfort foods at the center.