Ribfest returns to Zoo Miami with sizzling entertainment

The racks are back as Ribfest returns to Zoo Miami, Nov. 1-3, for a weekend jam-packed with finger-licking barbecue and entertainment for the entire family.

Enjoy award-winning barbecue from seven of the finest ribbers in the nation competing to win “best of” in five categories, including best ribs, pork, beef brisket, chicken and sauce.

The winners will be selected in a blind taste test by a panel of celebrity judges to include Chef Ralph Pagano from season one of Hell’s Kitchen, Zoo Miami’s very own Ron Magill, Kiss Country’s Darlene Evans, Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, Thunder Country’s Dougie Hitchcock, and others. Winners will be announced on Sunday at 4 p.m.

In addition to great barbecue, patrons will enjoy all-day live rock and country music concerts by popular local bands including The Mojo Scoundrels, Havoc 305, The Click, The Vibe, Fire Brigade, Burnt Biscuit Band, Gypsy Road, Payback, and the Rodeo Clowns. There will be live remotes from Country music favorites Thunder Country with Dougie Hitchcock on Sunday, and Kiss Country with Darlene Evans on Saturday.

Don’t miss beer-inspired cooking demonstrations and pairings throughout each day at the Chef’s Corner beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday, or purchase home-grown Florida produce and products at the Farmers Market.

Harley Davidson fans don’t miss out on the “Jumpstart” demonstration and motorcycle rally, or if you prefer cars, check out Homestead-Miami Speedway’s authentic NASCAR or test drive a brand new Chevrolet on site. Other activities include hay rides, arts and crafts vendors, themed photo opportunities, and more.

Purchase Zoo Miami/Ribfest combo tickets to enjoy a wild day at the zoo, or enjoy Ribfest as a VIP with VIP tickets that include general admission; a VIP meal (half rack of ribs, baked beans, cole slaw and dinner roll); six beers from an expanded craft/seasonal beer selection to include Blue Moon Pumpkin Harvest, Batch 19, Blue Moon Rounder, Crispin Cider, Fox Barrel Pear, Linenkugel Orange, Third Shift and Blue Moon Short Straw; an event koozie; access to shaded lounge area, and comfort station restrooms.

“We are delighted that Zoo Miami will once again be the site for this year’s Ribfest bringing one of our most popular events to one of our most popular park attractions, providing quality entertainment at an affordable price to Miami-Dade County constituents,” said Jack Kardys, director of Miami- Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department.

“This is a great time for our county family to come together not only to enjoy the outdoors but to enjoy the finest Rib’s that Miami-Dade has to offer. I take great pride to participate in events that take place here in my district,” said Commissioner Dennis C. Moss.

Ribfest hours of operation and ticket information:

Friday, Nov. 1, 4-9 p.m. Free admission and a free side with the purchase of a half-rack or whole rack of ribs.

Saturday, Nov. 2, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. General admission: $10; Ribfest/Zoo Miami combo: $20; and VIP: $75 which includes general admission ticket, a VIP meal and other amenities. Tickets can be purchased in advance at <www.miamiribfest.com> or at the door.

Ribfest was created in 2004 as one of several events taking place at parks across the county in celebration of Miami-Dade Parks 75th year anniversary. In past glory days, the event brought thousands to its previous home at Homestead Air Reserve Park. After a two-year hiatus, Ribfest was resurrected last year to a new site at Zoo Miami, where it will be held again this year.

For more information or to become a vendor, visit <www.miamiribfest.com>.

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