The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

September 9, 2010

Ribs, chili are king at Conneaut festival

rib burn-off and chili cook-off, edeward somppi — Local rib chefs and chili cooks will flock to Conneaut Township Park this weekend to see who’s the baddest to the bone and simmers the hottest stuff, respectively.

The city’s first Amateur Rib Burn-off and Chili Cook-off starts Friday and stretches through Sunday night at the park’s east bluff. Admission is free and proceeds benefit the Conneaut Human Resources Center. Parking at the site will be available for a $2 donation.

The event also includes plenty of musical entertainment, artists, crafters and activities for children. Activities begin at 4 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Ten groups are scheduled to vie for a handful of awards, including best ribs/chili, sauce and People’s Choice, said Edward Somppi, CHRC executive director. Rib dinners will be available and kids can enjoy pony rides, train rides, alpacas and llamas.

“Things are really starting to take shape,” he said.

Performers will entertain on a custom-built stage designed and built by inmates at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution from materials purchased by the Conneaut Township Park commissioners, Somppi said. The stage’s design allows it to be disassembled and stored for future use, he said.

Saturday’s schedule kicks off with the Burningstone Cafe Cinnamon Roll Challenge. For $5, people can compete to see who can gobble down one of the cafe’s famous 2-pound sweet rolls. All contenders will receive a T-shirt.

A host of people have worked hard on the food festival, Somppi said. “It’s our first endeavor, so hopefully it goes over well,” he said.

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