Ribfest Chicago returns on June 12 through June 14, with more smokin’ music and barbecue as Chicago’s favorite food and music festival is cooked up once again. Ribfest Chicago celebrates its seventeenth summer this year.
After being selected and featured in 2014 on Food Network’s “Eating America, with Anthony Anderson” and televised to 100 million households and 150 countries, it’s no wonder that Ribfest Chicago has been recognized as Chicago’s “Best Food Fest” for the past three years. This festival remains one of the city’s best summer attractions.
From humble beginnings in a local parking lot, Ribfest relocated to Lincoln Avenue and eventually grew from three blocks to five blocks, from a two-day party to a three-night event, and from 5,000 attendees to 70,000 fans (in 2014). The BBQ component has grown from five local restaurants to thirty Chicagoland rib and non-rib vendors, while the quality of entertainment has made Ribfest an internationally-recognized music festival that hosts premier touring bands. But despite its impressive growth and success, the fest has maintained its North Center neighborhood feel.
More highlights include the celebrity-judged “Best Ribs” award, an amateur rib-eating competition and “RibMania,” the Midwest’s only professional rib-eating competition featuring several top ranked eaters and sanctioned by IFOCE/Major League Eating.
Ribmania VI is the toughest rib challenge you’ll find. Do you have the guts to belly up? Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave., has signed on as this year’s host of the amateur contest. The winner will advance to join the pros in the main competion, RibMaina VI, Friday, June 12 on the Reader Stage a Lincoln & Berteau. In 2013, Miki Sudo threw down the gauntlet grabbing victory from the world’s number one professional eater, Joey Chestnut. In 2014, she returned to the RibMania stage to defend her title … and defend it she did! Sudo took first place with 4.8 pounds of ribs from Uncle Bub’s BBQ in eight minutes. Also in a repeat performance, Michelle “Carboard Shell” Lesco, placed second with 4.18 pounds of ribs in eight minutes. Can this dynamic duo be beaten? Together, they devoured close to nine pounds of ribs. Can we say OMG! Ribfest Chicago is gearing up for another battle of the bones vs. the guys and gals. Will Sudo return to savor another victory? Or will we see a repeat of the Tim “Gravy” Brown vs. Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, where the third time proved to be a charm in moving up from second place to victor?
In addition to all the food, live music is a huge part of Ribfest. Click here for a full schedule of all the acts.
Ribfest will be held on Friday, June 12, from 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, June 13, from noon – 10 p.m.; and on Sunday, June 14, from noon – 1o p.m. $5 suggested donation at gate. Your gate donation and proceeds from the event benefit Northcenter philanthropy and community programs. Ribfest Chicago has contributed approximately $250,000 to more than fifteen Northcenter schools and nonprofits in an effort to improve education, benefit critical nonprofit work, assist special needs and fight hunger, in addition to funding chamber projects and annual programming. Sponsored by the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce.