ST. STEPHEN – Get out your hand wipes and bibs Charlotte County; the 2nd annual Ribfest will hit St. Stephen this weekend from Friday, Aug. 13 running through Sunday, Aug. 15. The hedonistic celebration of all things barbecued will be available from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The event, a collaborative effort between the Town of St. Stephen and Charlotte County Ground Search and Rescue (CCGSAR), is “a tour circuit that originates out of Ontario,” says CCGSAR member, Rhonda Hulan.

“When the planning started for this year’s event it was intended to be a drive up the same as last year. However, since New Brunswick is now Green, we were able to have a more traditional Ribfest,” Hulan added.

Hulan said there will be two rib trucks; Texas Rangers BBQ and Crabby’s BBQ Shack, and the menu will be the same as last year with barbecue ribs, pulled pork, and chicken on offer.

“And we can’t forget about the delicious sides of baked beans and corn bread,” says Hulan. “There will be music and entertainment all weekend, as well as vendors on site. An area to sit down and eat.”

Hulan says CCGSAR will be selling popcorn, and there are still spots available for anyone who would like to be a vendor during the event. “We are still looking for vendors for a vegetarian and dessert option,” says Hulan. “Maybe ice cream, or cookies and pie,” she laughs.

Hulan said as there is a plethora of space, vendors will be accepted until Thursday evening.

And why is CCGSAR involved? The reasons are two-fold.

“The teams logistical capabilities for handling special event traffic management is one of reasons the team (Town of St. Stephen) asked us to partner with them,” says Hulan. “Then we are paid a per diem for us to oversee the site management.

“We’re involved because we enjoy supporting our communities and it’s a fundraiser for us.”

CCGSAR is a volunteer based group who offer their support and aid to an array of provincial agencies with missing person searches in the region. CCGSAR can also be tasked with providing assistance during emergencies such as floods and severe weather like ice storms, where they assist with evacuations and house checks, along with essential good deliveries.

The province only provides CCGSAR with $2,500 annually towards expenses, and Hulan doesn’t need to point out those funds don’t cover CCGSAR expenses.

After five years of fundraising, CCGSAR was able to purchase an equipment trailer, which houses the gear required in the field, but now the team needs a truck with which to tow it.

“Currently, one of our generous volunteers uses their personal vehicle to haul the trailer for which the team is very grateful,” says Hulan. “However, this is a short term solution.”

Hulan said while there is a “truck fund” with some dollars already in it, they have a long way to go, and that’s one of the main drivers behind CCGSAR’s involvement in Ribfest. And Hulan wants to be clear; CCGSAR does not receive a percentage or profit from the food sales over the weekend.

They will be fundraising by being available to receive donations onsite, and through their popcorn sales.

“The equipment and assets we have are from fundraising, grants, and sponsorship,” says Hulan.

“Our volunteers will be onsite (during Ribfest) selling $5 50/50 tickets until 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15,” says Hulan. The winner will receive $600, and the draw will be held live on Facebook.

“As always we will be accepting donations if people would like to support our truck fund, and for larger amounts a tax receipt is available because we are a registered charity,” she added.

Hulan said CCGSAR is always looking for new members, but “if you don’t feel going in the woods late at night or in less than ideal conditions is for you, that’s okay because we are always looking for auxiliary members who can assist with fundraising, social media, drivers and site support. It’s a very rewarding way to give back,” she says.

If you want to be a vendor at Ribfest, email charlottecountygsar@gmail.com by Thursday, Aug. 12.

You can watch for updates, contact CCGSAR, and watch the live 50/50 draw on the CCGSAR Facebook page, Charlotte County Ground Search & Rescue.

editor@stcroixcourier.ca