Last year, while heading to Back to Cruel, The Kingston Derby Girls’ season closer, Harvey and I were delighted to stumble upon Kingston’s first Ribfest and Craft Beer Show on the field at The Memorial Centre. We walked right in, not having to pay an admission fee but instead making a volunteer donation to Partners in Mission Food Bank. Being craft beer lovers, we headed straight for the sample area.
In order to sample the wide variety of almost exclusively Ontario brewed beers, you have to purchase a $6 bracelet that is good for the entire weekend. From there, you can purchase tokens that are $1 each and are good for one sample. You also get an adorable souvenir sampling glass – which we still use when enjoying our favourite local, and sometimes particularly strong, craft beers.
But the fest isn’t just about beer. While it’s obviously a big draw for many, there is also a delicious selection of food from award-winning ribbers. They offer pork and beef ribs as well as chicken. You’ll also find roasted corn, blooming onions, beaver tails, ice cream and poutine. Probably a good day to leave your calorie counting app turned off.
Festival goers will also enjoy live music provided by Kingston bands and, new this year, the festival will include a family fun zone with bouncy castles and a climbing wall. I know some of you are reading this and thinking “I’m not taking my kids to a beer festival.” but after our experience last year, I think it is a place where families can go and enjoy themselves. There was a very friendly, relaxed and responsible vibe to this festival last year and I hope to see that continue.
The festival runs Friday, September 5th, 5pm-10pm, Saturday, September 6th, noon-10pm and Sunday, September 7th noon-6pm. Go out and soak up these last few weeks of summer – and some delicious Ontario craft beer. For a super fun time, I highly recommend the Saturday evening ribfest/derby girls combo!