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Strap on those bibs and pack your wet-naps! It’s that time of year again – the one and only event that should matter to rib-lovers from all walks of life. Toronto Ribfest runs from June 26 – July 1 at Centennial Park in Etobicoke (open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.). If you’ve never been and you’re a pork-eater, I highly recommend it. I’ve been about four times, and you never forget the first time you walk in and see so many rib & barbeque stands — it literally fills a football field. Here’s an example of two stands from last year (there will be 14 ribber stands in total this year).

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And of course, we must talk about the succulent ribs. The best way to go is in a big group, because the social aspect of this event almost outweighs the meat itself. Each person purchases a rack of ribs ($20) from a different stand, then you lay them all out on the table, try each one, and debate your favourites. It’s surprising how much they can vary in taste — some are smokey, others extra saucy or sweet, and last year my favourite had a hint of blue cheese. Some ribbers to try are: Carolina Rib King, Gators, Uncle Sam’s and Camp 31, Bad Wolf and Bibb’s.

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But it’s not only about the ribs, there’s also delicious lemonade or cool beer to wash it all down, grilled corn, and also pulled-pork sandwiches, brisket or chicken. If you can manage, there’s plenty of funnel cake, mini donuts and other sweet delights. There are also live bands, rides, and on Canada Day I hear they have fireworks. It can get very busy (it attracts over 100,000 visitors) and the later you go, the longer the lines. But it’s completely worth it and you’ll want to return year after year. Plus, where else can your friends pose like a champ with a pig trophy?

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UPDATE: We visited Ribfest this year on Saturday, June 27, and unfortunately were disappointed with the experience compared to previous years. Read our post about Regretting Ribfest in Toronto here.

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