Second annual Midwest Ribfest starts Thursday

One of last year’s ribbers in action

The second annual Wichita Ribfest opens Thursday and will include three days of food from local vendors, music and activities.

The event will be set up just east of Intrust Bank Arena in Lot D, the city-managed parking lot at 777 E. Waterman. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Admission is $4 at the door, then attendees can choose to buy a barbecue meal from one of six national vendors setup inside the gate. Meals generally cost $10 and under and include sides.

All three days will include music by both local and national acts. The festival’s headliners are country acts Keith Anderson, who plays at 9 p.m. on Friday, and Phil Vassar, who performs at 4 p.m. Saturday. In all, 14 bands will perform by the festival’s end.

I was a rib judge last year and will be again this year. I’m currently fasting to prepare for Thursday’s 4:30 judge-a-thon, where I will join a panel choosing the best rib. Visitors also can vote for a “People’s Choice” winner.

There are also kids activities, a Pepsi Sport zone where people can test their athletic skills, and a video game den.

Half-price admission is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free all day on Thursday for those with a Wichita River Festival button.

For a complete schedule, visit intrustbankarena.com or www.facebook/wichitaribfest.