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Rib Fest Returns

Celoron’s Lucille Ball Memorial Park Will Host Event

May 2, 2008
By Patrick Fanelli
CELORON — When Celoron officials first learned of the Wild Rib Cook-off and Music Festival’s demise in Jamestown last month, they immediately went to work hoping to bring the popular event to the lakeside village just outside the city limits.

Their efforts paid off, and they confirmed Friday that the popular event will be held the first weekend in June at Lucille Ball Memorial Park across the street from Celoron Village Hall.

‘‘It’s just a great opportunity to showcase the village,’’ said Celoron resident Rick Slagle, who has stepped forward to help coordinate the event. ‘‘It’s just a great opportunity, and plus it allows the rib festival to move forward.’’

Erie event organizer Kathi Danielson, who founded the area’s Wild Rib Cook-off and Music Festival in 2006, originally proposed to hold the third annual event at Baker Park in downtown Jamestown instead of its usual location along West Third Street.

City officials wouldn’t allow Ms. Danielson to hold it there for a variety of reasons, though some expressed interest in working with her on a new date and location before she pulled the plug on the event April 10.

Right away, Celoron officials began discussing with her the possibility of bringing the area’s third rib festival to Lucille Ball Memorial Park only a couple miles away.

‘‘From there, it just took off,’’ Slagle said. ‘‘This was one of the best examples of a community pulling together.’’

Ms. Danielson believes the event will be as much of a success in Celoron as it was in Jamestown, especially since it will coincide with the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball tournament, one of Jamestown’s largest events of the year.

‘‘It’s not too far from Jamestown. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much trouble for people to come,’’ Ms. Danielson said of Celoron. ‘‘The good thing is people know what the event is about, and if they want ribs, they will seek them out.’’

The third annual Wild Rib Cook-off and Music Festival is scheduled to take place Friday, June 6, through Sunday, June 8. Rib vendors will be set up along the road leading to the boat ramp in the park, and the bands will be set up on the boat ramp itself, allowing patrons to sit in the park, eat their meals and enjoy the music, according to Slagle.

The park is a prime location for such an event, Slagle said, since it is situated right next to Chautauqua Lake and is all that remains of the sprawling amusement park that once made Celoron famous.

Ms. Danielson expressed excitement about the prospect of having the event in Celoron, especially with the lake and the extra space for the family and children’s activities she plans to bring as well.

‘‘I’m so excited about this. I really think it will be great fun and a location conducive to a family festival,’’ said Ms. Danielson, who organizes events through her Erie-based company, Performance and Event Management. ‘‘I think it will be great.’’

According to Mayor Tom Bartolo, the village will provide services for the event, and he expects to recoup any expenses the village incurs — though much of the work is expected to be done in-house to minimize expenses for Ms. Danielson and the rib vendors.

‘‘We’re very happy with it,’’ Bartolo said of the event. ‘‘We thought we’d let people know what a beautiful place Celoron is.’’

According to Slagle, the village is on the lookout for sponsors in the Jamestown area and hope to get as much help as they can from the community so the event goes off without a hitch. Many groups in the community have already stepped forward, like the Celoron Moose and the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association, both of which will coordinate the beer garden, as well as Brigiotta’s.

‘‘It’s not just a Celoron thing. It’s a community thing,’’ Slagle said.

According to Ms. Danielson, anyone interested in participating and helping out with the event, including vendors and sponsors, can contact her at (814) 899-5177 or through her Web site, www.performanceandeventmgt.com.

Slagle just hopes this year’s rib festival proves to be as successful as the last two were, though he doesn’t think that will be a problem considering it’s an already-established event.

‘‘The fact that it’s an established event does make it easier,’’ Slagle said. ‘‘It’s just a new location.’’

Fact Box

‘‘It’s just a great opportunity to showcase the village ... plus it allows the rib festival to move forward.’’
• Rick Slagle
Celoron resident

 
 

 

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