Ribfest Chicago: Are You Ready to Pork Out?

By Patty Wetli on June 7, 2013 8:35am 

 Ribfest Chicago runs June 7-9 in North Center, with 13 restaurants competing for the title of Best Ribs.
Ribfest Chicago runs June 7-9 in North Center, with 13 restaurants competing for the title of Best Ribs.
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Facebook/Ribfest Chicago

NORTH CENTER — Of the 50,000 pounds of barbecue served up at Ribfest Chicago June 7-9, only seven or eight are likely to be consumed by the world's No. 1 competitive eater, Joey Chestnut.

The rest is on you, Chicago.

What started in 1999 as a community block party in North Center has since morphed into a three-day festival of music and pork: 20 bands and 26 food vendors, including 13 vying for the title of Best Ribs, are scheduled to participate in Ribfest 2013.

Highlights are sure to include RibMania IV, the only professional eating competition in the Midwest, set for 6 p.m., June 7, at Lincoln and Berteau avenues. 

In just its fourth year, RibMania has become a premier event on the professional eating circuit, attracting Chestnut as a marquee contestant, no doubt angling to break last year's record of 7.8 pounds of ribs in eight minutes.

Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse, last year's Best Ribs winner, will be supplying the BBQ for RibMania.

Given its location in the heart of Chicago's baby-making capital, it's no surprise that Ribfest also boasts the family-friendly Kids Square area at Lincoln and Belle Plaine avenues. Children's crafts, inflatables, singing, dancing, mini-golf and other games will keep the youngsters occupied noon - 8 p.m., June 8, and noon - 7 p.m., June 9.

The ambitious music lineup features a number of up-and-coming local bands along with nationally touring acts performing on two stages.

The Features headlines the fest Friday night, with a release of their new CD. Saturday's closer is Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and We Were Promised Jetpacks shuts down the fest on Sunday night.

Ribfest takes place June 7-9 on Lincoln Avenue between Berteau Avenue and Irving Park Road. Hours are 5-10 p.m., June 7, and noon - 10 p.m., June 8 and 9.

Proceeds benefit the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce's community programs, including beautification efforts and grants to neighborhood schools and nonprofits.

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