Behind the Scenes of Peninsula Ribfest

Despite a few shortcomings about what I saw in the 3rd Annual Peninsula Ribfest from last month, I found myself enjoying my time at the airport. This area isn’t a place I regularly frequent, but for my time out—to get up and close with the man made beasts that can send man flying in the sky with two wings and a jet engine is uniquely thrilling.

That’s all part of the fun in going to Ribfest.

“The airport is a draw in itself,” says Rick Peters, event organizer. “You come in and see the various planes that are out here. We get reservations all the time at the restaurant and everyone wants a window seat to watch the planes as they take off and land.”

I’ll certainly have to go out to RC’s Grillhouse & Lounge one day, but in the meantime, I learned a fair bit about the stuff that happens behind the scenes.

Before the gates open for the public, there are two sets of judges. One is a bunch of chefs taking part and the other are the mayors of nearby municipalities getting first taste. And then the public is unleashed for a people’s choice award. I arrived at the tail end of that and gave my vote to the vendor that lasted the longest.

But criticisms aside, I hear that new ideas are being tossed about in how to handle the 4th annual event. “We’re talking about opening the gates at two o’clock and then run it till six at night and have a live band playing in the hanger; and sell more ribs,” says Peters.

If that happens, it’ll make a commute out very pleasing. I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn just to get in line. But there’ll be line-ups no matter what, to get tickets and then to grab some ribs. I’d even be willing to pay more for Judge’s Choice too, and that idea has also been brought up to help level the playing field.

The top three winning ribs may cost $2 per and the rest at $1.

No matter what the organizers do, at least they acknowledge the shortcomings and the future will only hold better things as the rough edges get smoothed out. Peters acknowledges that they don’t want to inconvenience anybody with restrictions.

“It’ll only get better and better, but it’s also a learning curve and building process. We’re confident that it’s going to be a big event,” says Peters.

“We started small with the attractions, but we don’t see a lot of kids here [yet]. My business partner Cory has ideas, like having a fair with a Ferris wheel where the kids can definitely have a good time.”

That sounds great, and where it goes will depend on the feedback the committee receives. Planning starts in February of every year, and nearly anyone is welcome to come in and give their opinion.

I see big things for this event as it matures. And besides, the venue is perfect to recreate Coney Island. Now who here doesn’t want to ride the Ferris wheel?

Photography by Ed Sum

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