2012 Tour Stop #11 - Naperville RibfestJune 29, 2012
The Naperville Ribfest, hosted by the Exchange Club, celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. The Great American BBQ Tour has been at the last five. Each year, the layout of the event changes and this year was no different. Usually, because of our demonstrations and visiting with people, we are placed far enough away from the main stage; however, this was not the case this year as we were right in line with it all.
This has been an especially hot summer and Naperville didn't disappoint as temps were just shy of100 with a heat index well above. Keep in mind, that is the air temp and not the temperature on the GABT stage with the stainless steel table and two smoking hot Big Green Eggs!
With the 4th falling on a Wednesday, the event was extended a day this year and started on Friday afternoon and went through Tuesday.
On Saturday, we were tickled to read in the event brochure that our favorite “GrillGrrrl” Robyn would be doing grilling demonstrations at the Sears booth. She just "happened" to be cooking with Ty Pennington, so we used our connection to sneak to the front of the line for pictures. That made Christine's day!
On Sunday morning, the event opened up late due to storms that swept through the area. The entire event was cleared and we all had to take refuge in the storm shelter. Lucky for us, everything went just north of us where it knocked out power and really shook things up.
The Ribfest is more about selling ribs than it is a competition. The rib vendors were set up in the Southern part of the park and it was great to see the crew from Willingham’s BBQ at their first Ribfest. They brought a local guy with them who was nice enough to bring us white bag treats from Pticek & Son Bakery. Our buddy Scottie with Cancersuckschicago.com tended the ribs for Uncle Bub’s while his daughter Zoe helped Christine and I at the Great American BBQ Tour trailer. We had a very touching moment when Lynne Barag and Alyson Lupinetti from Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ made a special trip over to say hello. This was their first year back at Ribfest without Butch Lupinetti. Christine and I have such fond memories of Butch stopping by whatever event we were at to just say hello and let us know how much he loved BBQ and KCBS.
While we usually feel safe at events, this was especially true as the Naperville Police Department set up their mobile command station right behind the trailer. It is always good to make friends with the local law…
With ACH Foods who represent Weber Sauces and Seasonings based in the area, we had quite a few of the Weber folks stop by the trailer to get updates on the popularity of the Weber® Just Add Juice™ and new BBQ Sauces. The response has been fantastic and at this event, plenty of "thumbs up!”