WINCHESTER – The eighth annual Winchester Ribfest Fri., June 8 was another huge success with fall-off-the-bone ribs and weather to match.

Tickets were $20 each, earning the bearer a half a rack of ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, roll, and dessert. More than 400 tickets were sold with the proceeds going toward the Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee, but the benefits reach beyond that according to North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan.

Gloria Stewart (left), Linda Thompson and Bev Shortt served with speed, a little sauciness and a smile.

“[It’s] an event that brings people in, which creates a positive atmosphere and branding for the area. Also we have some funds raised that goes towards the beautification of Sweet Corner Park, of the banners you see downtown and other activities. It helps with that ripple effect that’s a win-win on multiple different fronts,” he said. “We have a lot of local people but we have people from all over the township, people from Ottawa, Kemptville and Morrisburg. It gets them to come into the area and they’re also using other restaurants, which is great too.”

As the sun was setting the savoury smells of BBQ washed over the intersection of Main and St. Lawrence Streets, Marleen Fawcett and Soul Sounds eased the satisfied crowd, with a belly full of ribs and fresh drinks in hand, into a picturesque weekend.

The success of the event can be attributed partly to the brilliant weather but the addition of beer and wine definitely charmed a few newcomers into making the journey and is a sign of things to come.

“We invited Beau’s Brewery to come and Smokie Ridge wine… the idea is to showcase local businesses and it’s actually drawn extra people. I’ve seen people tonight with their Beau’s shirts on and younger people that came to support Beau’s and to try it out,” said Duncan. “The craft beer is the biggest thing and expanding that a little bit. Using Meet Me on Main Street as a launch to maybe doing a craft beer festival locally. We’re getting more now. We have Stone Crop Acres, Smoke Ridge Vineyards, then we have Humble Beginnings in Ingleside, we’ve got two in Embrun and one in Prescott as well. That’s something out of this, and Meet Me on Main Street that I think would be really helpful in the area.”

 

“Smokie” Leblanc from Smokie Ridge Vineyard showcased several wines including a glass of his 2012 Rosie Cheeks.

Derek Fingler (pictured) manned the BBQ and churned out more than 400 half racks of ribs with the help of Tim Wasylko and a group of dedicated volunteers.

Marleen Fawcett and Soul Sounds entertained a couple of young fans at Sweet Corner Park. Press Photos – Schoch