NORTH CENTER — The 2 feet of snow on the ground might suggest otherwise, but summer festival season will be upon us, eventually.
Ribfest Chicago — North Center's annual pig-out — has announced its dates for 2014: Circle the calendar for June 6-8.
Now in its 16th year, Ribfest has grown from a handful of vendors serving up slabs of pork in a parking lot to a three-day celebration of barbecue and music that draws 55,000 people.
In recent years, Ribfest's organizers, the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce, have ratcheted up the entertainment value, partnering with Major League Eating to introduce RibMania, an officially sanctioned competition that attracted the world's No. 1 competitive eater, Joey Chestnut, in 2013.
"Best Ribs" honors, determined by a panel of judges, went to Uncle Bub's BBQ in 2013. The "People's Choice," selected by popular vote, went to Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro.
The festival takes place along Lincoln Avenue, between Irving Park Road and Berteau Avenue.