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Ribs take center stage at Lake Villa winter fest

Updated: March 12, 2013 3:00AM

Rib-cooking and rib-eating teams will vie at Lake Villa Township’s annual Winter RibFest.

The event is set for Jan. 26 from noon to 4 p.m. at Caboose Park, corner of Grand Avenue and Fairfield Road.

For the second year, the cook-off will feature rib-eating, as well as rib cooking as teams compete for the title of best ribs and individuals compete to eat the most ribs produced during the cook-off.

The event also includes sledding, ice skating, snow sculpting, kids’ games and competitions. New this year is hay rides provided by Susanna Farms in Lake Villa.

“The cook-off proved such a success that last year we added the rib-eating contest, with 10 contestants eating as many ribs as possible in three minutes,” said Lake Villa Township Supervisor Daniel Venturi. “We have other activities, but ribs have really become the centerpiece of the event.”

“We will have food and beverages, including hot dogs and hot chocolate, a bonfire, games for all ages, and crafts for the kids, in addition to the rib cook-off and rib-eating contests,” Venturi said.

Entrants traditionally represent a mixed bag of local businesses, residents and public officials. The registration form is available from the township office, (847) 356-2116 and on-line at

Registration fee is $50 and includes the cost of the ribs for the cook-off. Registration fee for the eating contest is $20 and covers the cost of three pounds of ribs allocated to each contestant.

“We provide the ribs, you provide the talent” has become the motto of the festival.

Cook-off contestants are required to provide their own “pit” or cooking device to cook the pork baby back ribs, with electric grills and open fire pits prohibited. Gas and charcoal are allowed.

Electric is prohibited because electricity is not provided at the park, “but if you have your own generator, electric grills can be used,” said Venturi.

Judging for both contests begins at 2 p.m., with teams providing samples of their finished ribs to judges and the public, and some providing other foods for sampling.

The competition includes a “people’s choice award” based on the team that raises the most money for the township food pantry, and an award for the best theme based on the presentation of the teams’ booths and cooking costumes.

Admission to the event is a non-perishable food item for the township food pantry.

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