Third annual Wichita Ribfest opens on Friday

A scene from last year's Wichita Ribfest

A scene from last year’s Wichita Ribfest

This is the third year for the Wichita Ribfest, an event put on by Intrust Bank Arena in a downtown parking lot just behind the Eagle — and just a block from the arena.

The event opens on Friday with several changes that organizers hope will attract more visitors, including a Friday-through-Sunday schedule and a new admission structure. Instead of paying $4 a day, attendees can pay $5 for a writstband and get in all three days.

Note: Admission does not include food. Once inside, visitors purchase meals from on of six national vendors onsite. Admission does include all the live music and kid activities set up in the festival area. On Friday, national country star Craig Campbell will play.

Read all the details in my Ribfest story, which comes out in tomorrow’s Go! section.

Wichita Ribfest returns in May with changes

A scene from last year's Wichita Ribfest

A scene from last year’s Wichita Ribfest

Intrust Bank Arena announced today its dates for the third annual Wichita Ribfest, an event that features food from national rib vendors plus lots of live music and entertainment.

It’ll be May 16-18 in the same spot it’s been the last two years: City Lot D at 777 E. Waterman.

Arena officials have made two changes for this year’s Ribfest. For one, people can get into the festival all three days for $5. In previous years, people paid $4 each day they entered, but now they’ll be able to buy a $5 wristband and enter every day without paying again.

Also, the arena has changed the event to run Friday through Sunday rather than Thursday through Saturday, as it did the first two years. They hope to make Sunday, May 18, a big family day with lots of activities.

Arena officials said they will announce the entertainment lineup later. They’re offering free Saturday admission to anyone holding a ticket to the Brantley Gilbert concert, which is that night, and on Sunday, members of the military get in free.

You can keep up with Ribfest developments on the event’s Facebook page.

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 or www.facebook/wichitaribfest.

Ribfest contest info PLUS great grilling recipes

I hosed off the back of my house for this photo shoot, people!

I was asked to contribute my favorite grilling recipe for today’s cover story in WichiTalk.

The problem: I don’t write recipes. I just use them, but I have a huge collection of fabulous ones to draw from. I got permission from Cargill to use a recipe for smoky spice-rubbed pork loin with cilantro cream sauce that I picked up nearly a decade ago at the Midwest Winefest. It was authored by Tanya Tandoc, who at the time was working as a spokeswoman for Sterling Silver meats.

It’s one of my most beloved recipes, and somehow, I’ve managed not to lose the original card in the 10 years I’ve had it. That’s definitely not common for me.

The card is now pretty beat up and stained with chipotle sauce and crusty bits of dried cilantro. But the dish is both spicy and cool, and everyone I’ve ever served it to loves it.

The finished product

I have a lot of favorite grilling recipes in my stockpile. Another is this amazing but simple flank steak recipe, and nothing is more fun than grilling pizza.

Anyone out there have a can’t- miss grilling recipe to share?

We’re running a contest tied to the Wichita Ribfest that’s soliciting great recipes. The winner must submit one that’s original or highly adapted, and he or she will get tickets to see ole Bocephus at Intrust Bank Arena.

You have from now until May 16 to enter.

Wichita Ribfest details coming together

The pieces of the Wichita Ribfest at Intrust Bank Arena have been slowly coming together over the past several weeks. And today, the arena announced its Friday, May 18 musical lineup, which includes headliners Gloriana, a country act that opened for Taylor Swift when she performed at the arena in 2010. Local bands The Watchers and Nobody’s Business also will perform that night.

The Wichita Ribfest is an outdoor barbecue festival featuring music and national rib vendors that originally scheduled for last August, but the arena canceled it citing “unforeseen conflicts.”  The annual BlackTop Nationa event was scheduled in the same area the same weekend. Arena officials announced in February that they were rescheduling the event for May 17-19 in Lot D, a city-managed parking lot east of the arena at 777 E. Waterman.

Gloriana will entertain Ribfest crowds on Friday, May 18.

The arena previously announced the Saturday, May 19, musical lineup: Former American Idol contestant Casey James, Mexican musician and singer Kareem Lopez and local groups Conjunto Anonimo, Poultry ‘N Motion and Pretty Ugly.

The lineup of six rib vendors also has been announced: Cowboy’s Barbecue & Rib Co. and Texas Thunder, both from Texas; Chicago BBQ Company; Uncle Bub’s BBQ from Westmont, Ill.; Johnson’s BBQ out of Virginia; and Porky Chicks BBQ out of Arkansas.

Wichita Ribest also will feature a beer garden and kids’ activities. It’s scheduled for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 17, through Saturday, May 19. Admission is $4, free for children 12 and under. Half-price admission wlil be offeree from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Those with a Wichita River Festival button will be admitted free.