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Ribfest and COVID-19

With the health and wellbeing of the community at top of mind, the steering committee of Waterdown’s Oh Canada Ribfest has made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s event.

The committee, which comprises members of the Waterdown Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Flamborough AM, had been working on plans since January for the June 26-28 event. They delayed making the decision to cancel Ribfest in hopes of gaining some clarity surrounding what protocols will be in place as the province emerges from this spring’s lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but that direction has not yet been defined.

The committee continues to meet and explore options for creating an alternate summer event that will bring the community together and help boost local businesses as we emerge from this global crisis – but only when it is safe to do so.

“As Ribfest co-chairs, it was a difficult decision for us to postpone this year’s event,” noted Rotarians Kevin Smoke and Ryan Bridge. “This event has grown far beyond what any of us could have imagined when it began 11 years ago, thanks to all of you in our community who have supported us in this endeavour.

“Given the unprecedented times that we are currently living in, the steering committee felt it prudent to postpone this year’s Ribfest. Look for us again once the restrictions are lifted. Thank you for your support!”

Currently, local Rotarians are working with local agencies, seniors facilities, and food banks to provide assistance for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waterdown’s Oh Canada Ribfest celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. It is supported each year by grants from the municipal and federal governments, sponsorships from dozens of local businesses and donations from those who attend the festival. The event not only provides a terrific weekend of family-oriented activity and raises tens of thousands of dollars annually for Rotary’s community and international projects, but it also creates opportunities for the local businesses, restaurants, musical artists and volunteers who participate. The Ribfest team is dedicated to finding ways to continue those relationships during the extenuating circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time, the Ribfest steering committee would like to thank the following sponsors for their ongoing support and dedication to the community: Lafarge (Dundas), Tasco Appliances - Burlington, The Dream Centre, Imperial, Scotiabank (Waterdown), Miska Trailer, Burlington Paving, Brown Lawyers, Brown Financial, Kitching Steepe Ludwig Funeral Home, CoOperators, Waterdown Optometric, Waterdown Collision, TD Canada Trust, Co-Operators, Rothsay, Dancemakerz, Woolcott Realty, Con Cast Pipe, Cinmar Graphics, the City of Hamilton and Heritage Canada.

Local Rotarians look forward to working with all our partners, as well as the dozens of businesses who provide in-kind services for Ribfest, our volunteers and local residents as we develop a safe, fun alternative event during these must unusual circumstances. Information and updates will be posted at

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