Rain poured harder than donations at this year’s Ribfest in Oshawa.
Bad weather resulted in fewer visitors and fewer donations at the event held at Lakeview Park last weekend on September 11 to 13.
“The ground was waterlogged. You couldn’t really get around without being really careful and almost slipping over,” describes Geoff Lloyd, president of the Oshawa Rotary club, which hosted the event.
Only one-third of the expected visitors showed up at the 14th annual Ribfest.
Around 16,000 people went compared to the 60,000 that came out to last year’s Ribfest, according to the organization. Many of those who did come didn’t stick around.
“It was cold,” says Ryan Jacks, a protection, security and investigation student at Durham College who attended the event. “We weren’t able to stay there as long as we wanted to stay.”
He says he and his friends only stayed 45 minutes before heading out.
Lloyd says the poor attendance will affect the amount of donations they received this year but they won’t know how much in total until January.
The Rotary club supports many Oshawa organizations like the Air Cadets, Rose of Durham and Durham Deaf Services.
It uses events like Ribfest to help raise donations for these groups.
He says they won’t be able to support as many organizations this year and the money will have to be divided depending on the needs and their ties to each group.
“Some need more money than others. We try to be as fair as possible but some organizations do get more then others,” he explains.
“A lot of that is historical. We have supported groups around Oshawa like the Air Cadets for many years.”
Lloyd says the club will be taking on other actions to try and make up the funding but they don’t know what the initiatives will be yet.
“We have a very enterprising fundraising committee so I’m sure they will think of something.”
They will also be doubling the sponsorship for their annual polar bear dip, an event on New Year’s Day.
“People much braver than I can go down to the beach at Oshawa and have a swim in the icy waters,” he says with a chuckle.
He says the low attendance number is disappointing because they introduced some new twists to this year’s Ribfest. The changes added a host of new country music performers such as Christina Leroux and Jaydee Bixby.
“We are very much looking into making this a country and western event,” he says.
Despite the bad weather, Lloyd feels like the event brought people together.
“We, as Rotarians, had a really good time, real good fellowship. I think those who came were involved in some sort of camaraderie because of the weather. There was a strong bond between Rotarians and those who attended.”
This marks three years in a row bad weather has affected Ribfest.
Lloyd says they are looking to change the date for Ribfest in the future to July or August to avoid this problem.
He adds they will keep people updated on their website if any dates change.