Returning to the Ulster County Fairgrounds this weekend, August 17 to 19, the Hudson Valley Ribfest is a qualifying event for the Empire State Barbecue Championship. If you’re a serious “pitmaster,” you already know that you need to compete in at least four of such in one year to compete for the statewide prize, and you’ll be among the 60 teams firing up their grills and smokers to prepare their cherished recipes.
Trouble is, only your teammates and the judges will be lucky enough to taste-test your entry. For the rest of us, the Ribfest is an opportunity to purchase barbecued treats from Big Kev’s BBQ, Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ, Gullah Q Lowcountry BBQ, Jack McDavid’s Down-Home Diner and Smokin Grate BBQ, not to mention other fair fare from a variety of vendors. Get yourself well-supplied with napkins, then stuff your face and wash your ribs down with beer (or soda, water or famous 4-H Club milkshakes) while you enjoy the live entertainment.
This year’s music lineup will feature Williams Honor and Jessica Lynn on Friday evening, Zepp Again, Country Fresh, BedRock and Williams Honor on Saturday and the Roadhouse Roosters and the Little Creek Band on Sunday. Jace the Illusionist will perform on all three days.
A fundraiser for the Highland Rotary Club, the Hudson Valley Ribfest runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Regular admission is free on Friday, $7 on Saturday and Sunday, free for kids under age 12. For those in quest of the ultimate pig-out, a VIP Tent offering unlimited ribs, beverages, sides and dessert will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday for $75 admission and from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday for $100.
To order tickets and find out more, visit www.hudsonvalleyribfest.org. The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road, on the west bank of the Wallkill River in New Paltz.