Rib-lovers from around the country will soon descend upon the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz for the ninth annual Hudson Valley RibFest slated for Aug. 16, 17 and 18. The event, organized by the Highland Rotary Club, draws upwards of 10,000 to 12,000 people each year, according to Claire Costantino, who volunteers as the public relations person for the festival as well as the treasurer. Because this festival has a sanctioned barbecue contest, she said, where winners can advance to the national finals in Kansas City, “We have people come from Texas, Kentucky, Florida…all over the US!”
While there are your tried-and-true barbecue teams gunning for the win, there are also rib and chicken aficionados who come to enjoy the wide variety of ribs and sauces, chicken and gourmet food from around the Northeast while listening to live music, socializing and having the Shawangunk Ridge and farm fields as a bucolic background.
This year, the Highland Rotary will host a country kickoff concert on Friday featuring renowned country artists Phil Vassar, Chris Janson and Samantha Landrum. The gates will open at 5 p.m. and the music will start at 7, which gives concertgoers plenty of time to enjoy a scrumptious barbecue dinner from six gourmet rib vendors before the music and dancing begin. Limited tickets are available at https://hudsonvalleyribfestconcert.chirrpy.com.
“The barbecue teams and food-lovers who come to this event marvel at the convenience of the location, as we’re only 70 miles from New York City, as well as the beauty of the area,” said Costantino. “We’re used to the country splendor, but so many people just love to have some ribs, a beverage and sit and watch the beauty of the mountains as the sun sets.”