Preparations underway for Ribfest and Hot Nite in the City

By Jill Sperling
August 9, 2018 - 4:31pm Updated: August 9, 2018 - 7:06pm

KAMLOOPS — It's that time of year when smoke fills the sky over Kamloops, the smoke of the grill that is. 

The seventh annual Ribfest gets underway at Riverside Park this weekend, an event that is now a staple in the city.

Thousands of hungry people will pack Riverside Park to take in the food and entertainment. 

"Everything will start tomorrow at 11 a.m.," said spokesman Bryce Herman. "We'll be up and running, Madison Olds will kick us off on the main stage with entertainment, family fun zone, all of the areas of the park will be open for 11:00 and we'll be well underway." 

Before the big event can begin, there is the huge task of setting up the park. 

Dozens of workers arrived at Riverside Park Thursday morning to unload and arrange tables, chairs, and tents. 

Ribbers were set to arrive in the afternoon. 

"The ribbers will be on site this afternoon and people will smell the smells of barbecue by this evening," Herman said. "So it will be up and going, smokers will be running. It's a long process, some of these ribs actually smoke for multiple hours before they ever get into peoples' palates."

The weekend's celebrations won't end with Ribfest, the 24th annual Hot Nite in the City gets underway on Saturday with hundreds of unique cars and their owners lining the streets of downtown Kamloops. 

"We have generally at least 450 vehicles downtown, all the way from really old to really new, and we're now featuring what we like to call Electric Avenue," Hot Nite spokesman Peter Mahaits. "It's electric vehicles on 2nd Avenue. There's charger displays, solar powered charger displays, electric vehicle technology, and electric vehicles will be on display. That's the way of the future."

Together Ribfest and Hot Nite provide a fun-filled weekend for residents and tourists alike. 

"Between us and Ribfest, there's ribs and rods, and 20,000 people downtown," Mahaits said.

"What we do know is those that are in Kamloops during Ribfest, it enhances their experience here for sure," Tourism Kamloops CEO Beverly DeSantis said. "Hot Nite in the City, we of course have folks from all over the place bringing these beautiful cars in, and they usually spend the night, and bring some friends. So, that one drives tourism as well."

While there will be plenty of sizzle in store for the weekend, temperatures will drop and the wildfire smoke is expected to clear just in time for the big events.

UPDATE: Century-old weather record falls in Kamloops