NORTH CENTER — Chicago's one truly smoking hot festival has announced its dates for summer 2013: Ribfest is scheduled for June 7-9 in North Center.
The 15th annual BBQ-palooza promises "50,000 pounds of BBQ/25 hours of food, fun and music."
From its humble beginnings in a parking lot to an extravaganza that now sprawls along five blocks of Lincoln Avenue between Irving Park Road and Berteau Avenue, Ribfest has remained true to its roots: It's all about the food.
In 2012, some 15 rib vendors plied their grub to more than 50,000 attendees, according to the event's organizers, the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce.
Last year, Rub BBQ Co., 2407 W. Lunt St., earned "Best Ribs" from a panel of celebrity judges and Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave., earned People’s Choice honors for the third year in a row. This year's lineup of food purveyors has yet to be announced.
Twenty bands, also TBD, will grace the Ribfest stages. Organizers promise an emphasis on indie, pop, indie roots and alt-country acts.
One highlight is sure to be the fourth annual RibMania, the Midwest's only sanctioned professional rib-eating contest, scheduled for June 7.
Tim "Gravy" Brown took the crown in 2012, packing away 7.8 pound of baby backs in eight minutes, a feat that shattered the previous world record.
Kids Square is also back in 2013, offering games and activities for the youngsters June 8-9.
You've been put on notice. Start stretching your stomachs now.