Who We Are
Truth be told, it’s far less about who we, a ragtag group of 6 unlikely organizers, are as it is about who WE, the entire community, are! You see, this all started with a crazy idea Peggy, our President and dogged leader, had one morning in the Spring of 2015. Crazy…or genius? Hard to tell but when Marc, Randy and Guy heard it, it sounded exactly like the type of thing we were inadequately prepared or skilled for, so naturally, we jumped on it. Our minds and mouths fired off in all directions and it became obvious we needed someone to document all of it, brilliant or idiotic, so we finagled Sue into joining the lunacy. We also had less dollars than cents so Jane was brought in to make sense of our dollars.
At its essence, the idea had little to do with anything specific (although we are soooooo happy we chose music and ribs…what a combo!) but rather one simple premise…inclusivity! It seemed to us that West Nipissing needed to be reminded of our sense of community and, in order to achieve this, needed a community event that catered to all – young and old alike, from all walks!
Oh what a dream turned reality when, on what would normally have been a quiet lazy Saturday in July (the 18th to be precise), 3,500+ neighbours and friends gathered down at the very beautiful Minnehaha Bay for what many referred to as something akin to a massive family or high school reunion. Children, teens and adults of all ages mingled, chatted, danced, laughed and whooped it up! From the kids zone to the vendors, local and pro rib teams, the jaw dropping entertainment and, of course, all of the incredible people (volunteers and attendees) it was a pretty magical experience!
After all was said and done! After the vendors had packed up and the last few things were put away! After 9 weeks and several hundred hours of collective stress, hard work and panic (and all kinds of good stuff too). It was immediately clear to us that we needed to do this again – only better!
We would also like to thank our good friend, and founding member, Guy Fortier, for his wisdom, connections, hard work and all around good-guyedness. Guy was so inspired by his experience with Rock ‘N’ Ribs that he decided to spread his immeasurable organizational talents to a new venture nearer and dearer to his heart – Lavigne’s Ladies In Waiting Festival. Thank you Guy! We wish you the best of luck on your new adventure!
We are happy to introduce our new member – Jean-François Renaud! With all types of web, media, construction and ninjitsu skills with corresponding facial expressions, JF (pronounced jif) brings a new dynamic to Rock ‘N’ Ribs we are more than happy to exploit!
And so it is!
July 16, 2016, we are heading “Back to the Bay!” and we are putting on one EPIC party for all of you!
*We should also mention that we are a not-for-profit organization called 9294066 Canada Association operating as Rock ‘N’ Ribs Music an Rib Festival made up entirely of volunteers, supported by the incredibly generous businesses, media, organizations and Municipality of West Nipissing, with a portion of proceeds going to support local groups, initiatives and charities.
Meet The Unusual Suspects
Our board of directors!
Vice-president and grill master!
Programming, marketing & communications
Media and logistics
Where and Why
The 2016 Rock ‘N’ Ribs Festival will be hosted at Minnehaha Bay, 300 King Street, Sturgeon Falls, ON on July 16th from 11am until 11pm. We have live entertainment scheduled on 2 stages for the day featuring many local artists as well as a few high profile acts. Naturally, we will be hosting a local contingent of ribbing teams, to be judged, vying for prizes and bragging rights while the event itself will be catered by professional rib teams from the national festival circuit (Jack The Ribber, Route 55 BBQ) as well as several other excellent food vendors (Twiggs, Beavertails, Nana’s Kettlecorn, more…). Of course, we also have a host of other activities, vendors and attractions for people of all ages.
So why are we doing this?
To put it plainly, this is the festival for the rest of us! Over its long and rich history, West Nipissing Ouest and its collective towns and townships have been host to many successful events from carnivals and fairs to pageants, competitions, and music and dance festivals. However, some of these festivals cater to a very specific market and while the intention may be to be as inclusive as possible, invariably they fail to appeal to some.
Over the last 15-20 years, Rib festivals have been extremely successful across the USA and Canada. The International Rib Festival circuit is heavily attended, promoted and profitable. We want to help West Nipissing Ouest become a fixture on this circuit…to become a “must not miss” festival destination, an event that caters to the majority of our community AND injects tourism dollars into the local economy.
But really, really…why are we doing this?
We all live here in West Nipissing. This is our home. We don’t want to live in a community where people live in isolation, only concerned about themselves and their own affairs. We want to live in a place where everyone knows everyone; where it takes 2 hours to run an errand because everyone is friendly and stops to chat; where people remember what “Community” really means; where people look after their neighbours and friends. We want to live in a place that hosts festivals like this – and so do a lot of people!
We’ve had people ask us what our cause was? Is this for the kids? For the sick? The poor? The hungry? Our answer…our cause is the community! So…yes to all of the above!
Festivals like this make this Community better! It stimulates the economy, attracts tourists, promotes our Municipality, involves hundreds and thousands of our residents – volunteers, sponsors, workers, kids and attendees of all ages. It shows us and the rest of the region (Province, Country, World) that a small dedicated group of volunteers from West Nipissing can put on an event that rivals those of much bigger communities. It shows our kids that with initiative, creativity and hard work almost anything can be done…that volunteering, even just a little, can go a long way to helping your neighbours, friends and community. It creates a venue for local artists, businesses and individuals to showcase their talents, services and wares.
Besides…it’s one hell of a fun time!
-Rock ‘N’ Ribs