It’s that time of year again – the Scarborough Ribfest is back for its 14thanniversary in all its barbequed glory. The four-day affair returns to Thomson Memorial Park (by Brimley Road and Lawrence Avenue) this Friday, July 31st and is the perfect way to wind down the hottest week of summer.

Scarborough Ribfest runs from 11 AM to 11 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It'll also be also open on Monday from 11 AM to 8 PM.

Landing on the August long weekend, the event is surely going to be a hectic one. If you’re planning to go on opening day, here are 7 things you can do to make the most out of your ribfest experience:

1. Wear something breezy, comfortable and expandable

On top of the 28-degree scorcher that we’ll be having tomorrow, you can expect opening day to be packed with swarms of people. If you’re lucky enough to snatch a spot at a table, you’ll most likely still be eating in close proximity with other groups. So wear light clothing to keep yourself cool, and something that leaves some extra room in case you end up eating more than you planned. You’ll be walking through a cloud of thick smoke the entire time as well, so choose clothes you won’t mind catching a strong smoky scent. Lastly, make sure to wear shoes you won’t mind getting caked in mud in case it starts to rain (forecast shows a 40% chance of showers tomorrow afternoon.)


 2. Invite your family and friends

There are so many activities to do at the ribfest other than just inhaling ribs. There are little shopping tents you can explore, a plethora of rides and carnival games to try, and music/karaoke entertainment for your listening pleasure. Of course, you can choose to go to the ribfest alone if you want, but you might not have as much fun by yourself. Besides, you’re bound to run into people you know, and it might be easier to get through all that small talk with a friend or two by your side.


3. Be strategic with your scheduling

As with all festivals, the first and last days are usually the busiest. If you’re not a fan of huge crowds and excessive commotion, you might want to consider attending the ribfest on Saturday and Sunday instead. Nevertheless, you could also try coming super early so you can grab a table for your group, or sometime later into the evening to avoid the madness that goes down during peak hours.


4. Plan ahead for parking or take transit

Parking is always difficult to find during the ribfest; take it from someone who lives across from Thomson Park. Interior neighbourhood roads are lined with either cars that got lucky or pylons that prohibit curb parking. If you don’t mind a little walking, you could always try parking at nearby plazas. Or, if you want to avoid the parking debacle altogether, you could always take the TTC – there are bus stops situated right by the park on both Brimley and Lawrence.


5. Bring cash… lots of it

This one’s a given – you’re gonna want to bring quite a bit of money, even if you’re just there to try the ribs. Chances are you’ll be lured into buying other grub from the surplus of vendors that will be present. There will probably be giant fried onions rings, buttered corn on a cob, chicken and beer varieties, funnel cake and churros available to tempt your taste buds. And let’s be real: who can resist a bag of steamy, chewy hot chocolate churros?


6. Get ribs from anywhere

Unless you’re genuinely passionate about ribs and rib sauce, or an official judge, or intending to participate in the people’s choice vote for best ribs, you probably don’t need to pick the rib stand with the longest line. Honestly, all the ribs are delicious. If you’re just there to enjoy a decent rack of ribs, you probably don’t need to be so picky with where you buy your ribs from. Get your ribs quick so you can spend less time in line and more time enjoying the other activities the ribfest has to offer.


7. Pace yourself

The ribfest is always a lot of fun; so much so that some devoted fans spend entire days there! But if you’re just planning to stop by for a little while, make sure to pace yourself with your food. You don’t want to risk an upset stomach and be forced to use the sketchy port-a-potties, or have to travel to the park restrooms at the other side of the park.

I’ll see you guys there!

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