Erie’s Wild Rib Cook Off and Music Festival is back! | Photo via Erie Reader.
Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
An Erie institution has returned to Perry Square: Erie’s Wild Rib Cook Off and Music Festival is on right now and will continue through Saturday June 1st. Hallelujah! I love Ribfest.
Chances are, not all of you love ribs, and I think I get that. Every time I get them I’m surprised how heavy that big old slab is and I get all excited only to be reminded that weight is 2/3 bone and 1/10 sauce. I feel like an idiot for forgetting that a food called ribs consists in large part of, yes, the ribs.
They’re also a mess, which I don’t mind but isn’t for everyone. I always start out thinking I won’t get sauce all over my body, but when I’m done it’s a murder scene. I look like a cannibal. Sauce all over my face, a glob on my shirt, another on my shorts, usually some in my hair, and always on my glasses. I basically revert to a small child in the presence of those things, plus somehow an urgent, mysterious itch always knows to appear on my body right at the moment I’m elbow deep in barbecue sauce.
Speaking of the sauce, there’s something mysterious about that stuff. You know rib sauce. It’s unlike the sauce on any other meat and I have no idea why. It’s just regular barbecue sauce, right? Maybe the high sauce-to-meat ratio brings out the flavor that much more. Try not to overthink it.
When you go to Ribfest, you know what else you’re certain to find? You’ll find 200 signs and banners proudly displayed from a 20-foot metal frame above each vendor’s table. They’ll say all kinds of things, from Best Wings USA 2015 to 4th Best People’s Choice of Western Dunkirk 1999. Are those signs supposed to draw me over to your ribs? Have you ever seen someone comparing and contrasting those awards to decide which place to get their $9 half rack?
I always go to the place with the shortest line, and the ribs are almost always terrific. While I’m waiting, I typically run into some old acquaintance who’ll tell me where he just went and how great those ribs were, and how I should get out of line to go wait 20 minutes over there. Whatever, man.
All of this is so quintessentially Erie, you have no choice but to love it. So get some wet wipes and head down to Perry Square to see something good happening in Erie. You’ll be glad you did.