Iowa promoter hopes to save RibFest

Feb. 22, 2018

An Iowa promoter hopes to save RibFest.

Riverfront Promotions’ owner and production manager will be in Sioux Falls next week to meet with former sponsors and look at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds, which has hosted the event since 2014.

“We are in the process of making the final decision,” said Todd Shanno, the production manager for the business, which has organized a rib festival in Council Bluffs for three years. “We’re coming up to Sioux Falls on Tuesday to meet with people who have been involved before, the sponsors, the fairgrounds folks, to listen to reasons on why they think it didn’t work.”

Shanno said the rib vendors reached out to Riverfront Promotions to save RibFest.

“Those guys are the ones that contacted us,” he said. “They like Sioux Falls.”

SMG Sioux Falls and Pepper Entertainment decided in January that they would no longer produce the 20-year-old event, citing dwindling attendance and rising costs the past couple of years.

The four-day RibFest was held on the first weekend in June, and Shanno said Riverfront is looking at a three-day event, “probably later in June.” The fairgrounds has “about seven different dates in the summer, eliminated by two because of First Fridays, that we could look at.” The popular First Friday event downtown and high school graduations created conflicts for eventgoers, according to the general manager of SMG Sioux Falls.

The rib vendors travel a circuit throughout the year, “but they have some flexibility for dates,” Shanno said.

Riverfront Promotions would put its own spin on RibFest, he said.

“Our Council Bluffs event is very family-oriented,” he said. “We wrap a carnival around ours. We have (bean) bag tournaments and volleyball tournaments, and then the music and food, of course.”

He said RibFest would be Friday through Sunday, with bigger music acts Friday and Saturday nights and “more local acts” Sunday. Bands last year in Council Bluffs included Smash Mouth, The Rumbles and The 70’s Show.

Iowa promoter hopes to save RibFest

Riverfront Promotions, which operates an event similar to RibFest in Council Bluffs, Iowa, will be in Sioux Falls next week to meet with former sponsors and look at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

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