Oh Canada! Ribfest 2011

Waterdown held its second annual Oh Canada! Ribfest this past weekend. I wrote about last year’s ribfest and I’m very glad I did, since 5 of the 6 ribbers that were there last year were there again this year, and none of us could remember which ones we liked. Again this year, we tried ribs from each of the six ribbers. We had a half rack from two of them on Thursday, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday. This year’s ribbers were:

Boss Hog – Sauce was nice and smoky, and the ribs were excellent. My favourite, and Ryan’s too. They even had the best beans.

Fire Island – Our favourite sauce last year, but not this year. Last year, their sauce was smoky and had some bite, while this year it was much sweeter. The ribs we had were big but mostly bone, so they weren’t very meaty.

Silver Bullet – Great ribs and nice tangy sauce. Gail’s and Nicky’s favourite and me and Ryan put them at a solid #2.

Camp 31 – Ribs were good and meaty, sauce was sweeter than most of the others.

Bone Daddy – Great ribs with a nice spicy sauce. Challenged the Silver Bullet guys for #2.

Ribs Royale – New to the Waterdown ribfest this year. We weren’t that impressed with the newcomers, since most of our ribs were tough and dry. We even left one uneaten – a sacrilege. The sauce wasn’t bad. A few other people I talked to said they really liked these guys, so perhaps the half-rack we got was an anomaly.

All of the ribbers also sold BBQ chicken and pulled pork, though it never occurred to me to try anything other than the ribs. They had the same non-rib food vendors as last year – Tiny Tom’s donuts, corn on the cob and yams, hot dogs, burgers, fries, bloomin’ onions, fresh lemonade, and an ice cream van. Unfortunately, the spiral spuds that we enjoyed last year weren’t available this year.

Helping Out

Gail helped out by volunteering last year, and this year all four of us did. On Thursday from 3:00 to 7:00pm, we were stationed in one of the recycling tents, which was somewhat misnamed since all waste (garbage and recycling and everything else) was brought there and we sorted it. Unfortunately, Thursday afternoon was the least busy and so for most of our four hour shift, we just sat. Occasionally we would grab a blue box and walk around the tables picking up garbage that lazy people had left behind, and the boys played with a beach ball for a while. The worst part was that there were twelve people in this tent – the four of us, a friend of Ryan’s, and a bunch of mostly grumpy high school students trying to get some volunteer hours in – so the place was seriously overstaffed.

While sitting in the recycling tent, we got to listen to a few local bands who were performing. The first one had the odd name of Science Ninja Big Ten, and they sounded like a B-52’s cover band, except that they played (AFAIK) originals. They were OK, but not my cup of tea. The second was a trio called Trees and I really enjoyed these guys. They had a Wide Mouth Mason thing happening and did an assortment of originals and covers, though their covers were quite different from the originals – sort of funky and bluesy at the same time. Next was a duo, Ria and Bill, who played “standards” – everything from Petula Clark’s “Downtown” to Van Morrison’s “Moondance” to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made For Walkin'”. Again, not bad but not my thing.

We volunteered again on Saturday afternoon, and this time there were just six (the four of us, one grumpy teenager and another teenager who was quiet but not that grumpy) in the tent, and it was much busier. We certainly had some idle times, but other times the table was piling up with stuff just as fast as we could get rid of it. We got to listen to some different bands too. The Freeltones (who are presumably from the nearby town of Freelton, get it?) played first, and they played mostly 70’s classic rock. They were pretty good, though it’s unfortunate that the singer had his feet glued to the floor. I realize that nobody in the crowd came specifically to see you, and I’m not expecting Mick Jagger kind of energy, but dude, you’re allowed to move. Next was a Dixieland jazz band with the cool name of Subourbon Street. They even had a sousaphone. I’m not a huge fan of jazz, and I have to say that Dixieland isn’t my favourite – at one point they started a new song, and Nicky asked me “didn’t they already play this?” I responded that I couldn’t tell – it sounded to me like they’d played the same song a number of times. After they were done, a band called Straight Cut came out. They played heavier rock and even though there was a half-hour or so between bands, the juxtaposition was a little jarring – from oom-pah-pah to Judas Priest. They played some classic rock (Doobie Brothers, Cream, and both these guys and the Freeltones played Takin’ Care of Business – more on that particular ditty later), but also some heavier stuff – Machinehead by Bush, Whiskey in the Jar (originally by Thin Lizzy I think but these guys did the Metallica version), and the aforementioned Priest. This is my kind of music, so I enjoyed this band.

The Record

On Sunday, the organizers put together an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records – they asked everyone to gather in the baseball diamond to sing BTO’s Takin’ Care of Business, and the performance would be broadcast live on the radio. The world’s record for most people singing simultaneously on the radio was 622, and we packed over 650 people in the ball diamond. If this seems like an odd record to try for, consider some other records that were set and recorded recently – “Most people dressed as Smurfs within 24 hours” and “Most people applying sunscreen at once“. Those Guinness people take their records seriously – we had to close off all the entrances to the baseball diamond except one, and have a couple of people counting everyone who went in. There were a bunch of volunteers whose job it was to watch a small portion of the crowd, making sure everyone was actually singing and not just lip syncing, and count the number of people not singing. Those volunteers had to report their numbers later and sign affidavits to legally swear to the numbers.

Kudos once again to the Waterdown Rotary Club for putting this great event together and to our fellow volunteers. I saw people from my baseball team, people I know on twitter, people from Nicky’s school, people from Scouting, some neighbours and other friends of ours in the area, plus the editor of the local paper and our local MPP. We all had a great time with some great music, a world record, and of course, good eatin’.


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