Waterdown’s 4th Annual Oh Canada! Ribfest was a couple of weeks ago, and I almost forgot to write about it! This is hardly a disaster – probably the only person who’ll read it is me next year when we try to remember who we liked this year. Articles describing previous years are here: 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Anyway, I love this event and look forward to it all year. We had the same seven ribbers as last year, but my opinions of some were quite different. They were:
Kentucky Smokehouse – The ribs were pretty good, though the few at the very end of the rack were pretty tough. This is not unusual for ribs, but these ones were impossible to eat. The sauce had a bit of kick though, and we bought a bottle of it to take home. I believe these guys ended up second in the people’s choice awards.
Silver Bullet – These guys had our favourite sauce in previous years and this year it was still pretty good, but I found it sweeter than before. Their ribs were really good. For the third straight year, we bought a bottle of their sauce, and also bought a pound of pulled pork to take home.
Bone Daddy – My personal favourites this year. The sauce was nice and smoky and the ribs were great. I believe they won the judges voting this year.
Ribs Royale – Once again, we were somewhat disappointed with these guys. Their sauce wasn’t bad, but the ribs didn’t have much meat and were tough.
Tennessee Fatbacks – Wasn’t too impressed with them last year and no huge improvement this year. The ribs were juicy so that was good, but the sauce was kind of bland.
Camp 31 – Last year I said their sauce wasn’t as sweet as the year before, but this year it was sweeter again. The ribs weren’t great though – kind of chewy.
Boss Hog – The ribs were dry, but the sauce was good and spicy.
I just realized that I’ve written this article with the implicit assumption that sweeter sauce = bad, spicier sauce = good. That’s not always the case – some sweeter sauces are really good – and of course, it’s only my opinion, but I do tend to prefer smoky and spicy sauces over sweet ones.
We volunteered once again this year, but didn’t get off our butts to sign up until quite late, so there were only a handful of spots open that we could make. We ended up at one of the recycling tents again, and I have to say that these are a fantastic idea. There are no garbage cans in the park at all, just three or four recycling tents where people bring all of their waste. All the rib containers were made of cardboard and so they were compostable, along with all the food leftovers. All the plastic cutlery, beer cups, pop cans, and little plastic cups for sauce were recyclable, so there were blue bins for those. Even the coffee cup lids from Tim Horton’s (across the street) were recyclable and the cups themselves were compostable. Probably 95% of the time, we removed forks from the rib containers, threw the forks in the blue bin, and dropped the rest into the compost bag.
The only things that were thrown in the actual garbage were straws, plastic candy wrappers, and, ironically, the ties that held the bundles of empty compost bags together. Oh, and one used diaper. We stayed in the same tent for four hours and didn’t collect enough garbage to warrant changing the garbage bag at all. Meanwhile, I must have carried 20 four-foot-tall compost bags and 7 or 8 huge bags of recycling over to the collection area.
In previous articles, I wrote about the bands we saw playing during the day, but this year I only know of one for sure: Borrowed Time, which is my friend Ron’s band. We arrived shortly before they finished their set so I only saw a couple of songs, but they were good, especially considering they had only been together for several weeks. The oom-pah-pah band (with the great name of Subourbon Street) that’s there every year were there again, there was a guy that sang and played guitar by himself, and there was at least one band that played mostly Canadian classic rock (I distinctly remember hearing Trooper, Doug and the Slugs, and the Tragically Hip), so I enjoyed them.
It was a little cooler this year than in previous years. But that just means mid-20’s rather than mid-30’s, which was beautiful. Like I said, I look forward to this every year, and this year Waterdown is having a chili festival in September. That’s only one day rather than a whole weekend, but I’m already looking forward to that as well. Then maybe we’ll head to the Westfield ice cream festival and the Winona peach festival. You just can’t have too many festivals dedicated to food!