Eastwood Rib Fest defies heat, humidity to satisfy BBQ fans


Despite stifling heat and humidity Friday along with rain today, which may have held down attendance, the coordinator of the annual Eastwood Rib Fest near Eastwood Field says the event is already a success.

“It’s successful because it’s a community event and I want to do it bigger and better every year,” said Kelly Simon, owner of Simon Events Management. “I’m committed to a minimum of three years doing this — and I emphasize the word ‘minimum.’ ”

The rib fest, a mainstay for many years near the Eastwood Mall, did not take place last year, but returned this summer after Simon’s company was contacted by the Cafaro Company, the mall owner. Simon described her first year of the event as “an investment” that she believes will be productive.

“We have 10 corporate sponsors, beer, beverage and media sponsors,” Simon said, “but the most important thing is that we want our vendors and exhibitors to do well.”

Eight rib vendors from Ohio, the Southeast and Midwest, are competing for prizes, as well as for sales of their ribs and special sauces. Several echoed Simon’s optimism.

“We think this will be pretty great for us,” said Todd Lewis of Smokin’ T’s Barbecue in Macedonia. “It’s going to pick up, and in this business you always have hope.”

The fest opens concludes Sunday night with a concert and the announcement of awards for best ribs and sauces.

For the complete story, read Sunday's Vindicator or Vindy.com.

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