Iowa promoter postpones possible RibFest resurrection

April 11, 2018

An Iowa promoter that hoped to resurrect RibFest this summer is looking at next year instead.

“The obstacle we ran into was the road construction. That put a little bit of fright into us,” said Todd Shanno, production manager for Riverfront Promotions of Council Bluffs. “And the timing. We want to spend the winter months building relationships.”

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. That decision sparked the circuit-traveling rib vendors to see if Riverfront Promotions, which has organized a rib festival in Council Bluffs since 2015, would save RibFest.

Shanno and Riverfront Promotions’ owner came to Sioux Falls in February to meet with former sponsors and tour the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds, which had hosted the event since 2014.

That’s when they learned that the city is rebuilding Madison Street on the north side of the fairgrounds this summer.

They worried that problems with access could hurt attendance or lead to unhappy customers, Shanno said.

“We want to do it right and do it great for the community,” he said. “We want your community to be proud of it.”

Once Riverfront Promotions wraps up Council Bluff’s Rib Fest in August, Shanno said they’ll start gathering sponsors in Sioux Falls.

“The interest hasn’t gone away at all. … We’re going to take every step possible to make that happen.”

Scott Wick, president and CEO of the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds, said he hopes the promoters can bring back Ribfest in 2019.

“I think they are great guys and have a great group,” Wick said. “They do a good job down in Council Bluffs. … They’ve got 150 percent support from us. We’ll do what we can to make it happen.”

Iowa promoter hopes to save RibFest

Iowa promoter postpones possible RibFest resurrection

An Iowa promoter that hoped to resurrect RibFest this summer is looking at next year instead.

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