The Wichita Ribfest has yet to get through a Saturday night.
The 2-year-old event, which was staged over the weekend in a parking lot at 777 E. Waterman, had its final night cut short for the second year in a row because of threatening weather.
About 7 p.m., officials at Intrust Bank Arena, consulting with local weather people, made the call to close the festival at 9 p.m. It was scheduled to close at 11 p.m. after sets by two Mexican bands. Instead, the opening act didn’t play at all, and Kazzadorez performed a shortened set.
Although it didn’t rain after all, there was lightning about 10 p.m., and the festival would have had to have closed early either way. The festival needed about an hour to get the stage torn down and the equipment secured.
In the end, said Christine Pileckas, the arena’s director of sales and marketing, about 10,000 people attended the festival — the same number as last year. The arena has been aiming for about 15,000.
Still, she said, organizers are pleased with the Ribfest and said people responded positively to the extra participatory activities offered this year, including a car show and an interactive sports zone.
“I think over all it went really well,” Pileckas said. “We had two and three quarters of a day of fantastic weather. I would imagine we’ll be regrouping soon to pick the date for next year, and before we know it, we’ll be getting ready to put on the third Wichita Ribfest.”
Several people have asked me which ribbers won the Best in Show, determined by a panel of judges, and the People’s Choice award.
First place in Best in Show went to Chicago’s BBQ, and second place went to Howling Coyote.
The People’s Choice winner was Porky Chick’s.