By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dieters will need plenty of willpower if they attend the fourth annual Rib Burn-off and Chili Cook-off, which comes to Conneaut’s Township Park for three days starting Friday.
The event, sponsored by the Conneaut Human Resources Center, features seven professional rib cookers: Cunningham’s, Breakwall BBQ, Briquette’s Smokehouse, B&M Barbecue, Kay’s Place, The Swinery (from Pittsburgh) and Guy’s Barbecue.
Briquette’s will be defending its title as People’s Choice and Best Chili winners. Kay’s Place finished second in the rib category last year, while B&M Barbecue was voted Best Sauce 2012.
In addition to ribs and all the side dishes, vendors will also be selling an array of goodies, including kettle corn, french fries, root beer floats, ice cream, funnel cakes, fried dough and milkshakes. “A lot of local people are involved,” said Deborah Newcomb, CHRC director.
Judging will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, and making the tough decisions will be the Rev. Frank Gore of Conneaut’s Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, attorney Nicholas Iarocci and State Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson.
Festival hours are 4-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday.
The event has grown each year, said Deborah Newcomb, CHRC director. The seven eateries slated to compete this weekend is the largest number yet, she said.
“We’re very excited,” Newcomb said.
Entertainment for the weekend includes musicians and crafters. The lineup features:
• Sept. 13 — The Fugitives (7-9:30 p.m.)
• Sept. 14 — Lighthouse Cruisers (1-4 p.m.); Back When (1:30-4:30 p.m.); Relay (7-10 p.m.)
• Sept. 15 — Red Dust Mountain Boys (1:30-3:30 p.m.); Good Question (5-8 p.m.)
Proceeds will benefit the CHRC and Conneaut’s Lions and Elks clubs, Newcomb said. For more information, call the CHRC at 593-5273.