RibFest cancelled due to COVID-19

Juan Melgarejo offers a taste of the Ribs Royale sauce-on-a-stick to passersby during last year's Ribfest in Hardy Park. (FILE PHOTO) jpg, BT

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RibFest, one of the highlights of Brockville’s summer, has joined the list of local events that have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

In a statement dated Wednesday, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Leeds and Grenville executive director Jane Fullarton and board president Lisa Reid announced the cancellation of the event, initially scheduled for August 6 to 9, over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

“We felt this was the most responsible course of action to protect the health and safety of our community,” the statement adds.

The event, a fundraiser for the agency, will return for its 20th edition next year, they added.

Over the years, RibFest has become the city’s signature summer event, but the logistics of the August festival run particularly counter to the new directives of physical distancing. Not only do visitors throng to Hardy Park, cramming into lines and at tables to get their fix of succulent ribs, but vendors also travel from far and wide to set up at the Hardy Park venue.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced the city to impose a moratorium on all events at its facilities until June 30. City hall is also working on a recovery plan that stresses a gradual return, when possible, to normalcy, with “standard operating procedures” for each facility.

But Brockville is not alone in seeing cherished events cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other summer events that have been sidelined this year include the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott, the Lansdowne Fair and the Lyndhurst Turkey Fair.

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