Highland Rotary to host the Hudson Valley RibFest on Aug. 18-19

Enjoying the lip-smacking food at a previous RibFest.

Rib-lovers and barbecue aficionados will have all of the meat, sauces, grilling and accessories that they could dream of at the upcoming Hudson Valley RibFest organized by the Highland Rotary on Aug. 18 and 19 at the Ulster County Fairgrounds off Libertyville Road in New Paltz. According to Claire Costantino of the Highland Rotary, this is the “place to be for lovers of finger-licking-good food in the Northeast.”

The two-day rib-romp combines a food festival with a sanctioned Barbecue Contest where winners can advance to the national finals in Kansas City. Barbecue is a fast-growing food-sport in New York, with more teams competing and RibFest attendance growing by leaps and bounds each year. According to Costantino, last year approximately 70 teams fired up their cookers at the RibFest; this year, the goal is to get at least 50 teams to “pit their barbecue skills against some sharp competition for bragging rights and a portion of the $8,500 prize money.”

The more teams, the more points for the big winners and greater excitement for the contestants. The New England Barbecue Society will host a grilling contest on Saturday, Aug. 18 that will include an “Apple Dessert” entry — which fits in perfectly, as apples are the Hudson Valley’s premier agricultural product, and the contest requires that Hudson Valley apples be used in all entries. No imports allowed!


On Sunday, Aug. 19 there will be the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) competition, as the Hudson Valley RibFest is part of the Empire State BBQ Championship challenge, in which a dozen different barbecue events throughout New York are working together to promote great barbecuing in the Empire State. For more details on this go to www.empirestatebbqchampionship.com.

There is still time left for contest teams to join the Hudson Valley RibFest competition. Go to the website at www.hudsonvalleyribfest.org to learn how to enter.

Whether or not you’re firing up a grill, the RibFest attracts thousands of visitors who also come to enjoy the two-day food festival, complete with competitions, music, games and great Hudson Valley eating, including roasted sweet corn, fried pickles, smoothies, lemonade, jerk shrimp and fish, gourmet nuts, fudge and candy — to mention just a few of the palate-pleasers sold by vendors.

There will also be a children’s area with inflatable bouncy houses, a climbing wall, arts and crafts and a visit from Zinnia the Clown. Entertainment includes cooking demonstrations, live music and more. It takes an army of 300 volunteers organized by the Highland Rotary, a civic organization that works to improve the lives of many through various benevolent programs. To learn more specifics, go to www.hudsonvalleyribfest.org.

Admission costs $5 for adults and free for children age 12 and under.