Friday, May 27, 2011

Rib Cook-Off Turns 20, With the Help of 263,000 Moist Towelettes

This weekend the smell of fiery coals and sweet barbecue sauce will fill the air along the Cuyahoga River yet again, as the Great American Rib Cook-off turns 20 years old. Ten grill masters from across the country will face off for the coveted title of “Best Ribs in America.”

The classic Cleveland event, which moves to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica this year, is expected to draw more than 100,000 rib enthusiasts, who’ll indulge in 47,000 slabs of ribs, 25,000 rolls and 3,600 gallons of baked beans and wipe off the sticky barbecue sauce with the help of 263,000 moist towelettes.

Beyond ribs, the cook-off also serves up moderately well-known musical headliners. The lineup this year includes rock bands Seether, Collective Soul, Bullet for My Valentine and ’80s pianist Bruce Hornsby. (Past acts have included Ringo Starr, Pat Benatar and former American Idols Ruben Studdard and Elliott Yamin.) Local show choirs will compete in a Glee-style showdown for a chance to see the stars of the Fox show when they perform at the Q on June 14.

If you’d rather devour baklava and gyros, the Tremont Greek Fest takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Festival-goers can watch local Greek dance troupes and bands perform My Big Fat Greek Wedding-style or browse Greek art, jewelry and clothing.

If quaint and intimate is more your style, the Berea Mayfest Saturday at Coe Lake offers tons of art and food and a performance by emerging artist Victor Samalot. We blogged about Cleveland's newest Memorial Day weekend festival, Ctownparty’s Live Art festival, earlier this week.

(photo of 2009 Rib Cook-Off by Keli Shiny-Penny at

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