Skip to content

Ribfest shook the lake

Fireworks finished off a great Ribfest Shake the Lake weekend as organizers dodged some nasty weather and event competition to host a successful event.
Photo courtesy Facebook.

Organizers of the 2023 Shake the Lake Ribfest are pleased with the way the event unfolded this weekend at the North Bay waterfront.  

The event included four major ribbers, vendor booths, fireworks, helicopter rides along with musical entertainment.  

Steve Bitonti, committee member and president of The Boat North Bay, believes the event ended with a significant bang thanks to a spectacular fireworks show. 

"The event went off with a bang literally, we had different programming for the fireworks finale where we brought back the barge system, so the entire ribfest community could enjoy instead of being held down the beaten path where they are traditionally let off, so that was a new experience and has trail blazed through the community with how incredible the viewing opportunities were," said Bitonti.  

"That was really cool to end the weekend off like that."

During the event, Bitonti says they faced a couple of environmental challenges including a bad weather forecast for Saturday along with swarms of Shad flies which emerged from the lake on Saturday night.   

"We are North Bayites, we have been dealing with them for centuries right," said Bitonti about the Shad fly attendance. 

See related: Shake the Lake to welcome 1000s to North Bay's waterfront

Bitonti added a busy weekend in North Bay may have brought the attendance down along with the weather forecast. 

"The Ribbers were happy but they are hoping next time they come back up that next time there will be more exclusivity on events that weekend, but overall they had a successful weekend," he said.  

"They were prepared for lots of rain but the weather gods held off so that was great." 

However, the event, which raises money for the North Bay Food Bank, may not reach the same numbers as 2022. 

"Unfortunately, we may not be as robust as far as the fundraiser goes just because of weather along with the other events in town but that is the risk you take when you are planning events this size," said Bitonti as the midway was set up in Lee Park on the weekend and Ferris Fun Day took place on Saturday. 

Debbie Marson, executive director at the North Bay Food Bank is appreciative no matter what the final totals are. 

"The North Bay Food Bank is grateful for the efforts and passion the Gen 7 Fuel Shake The Lake RibFest Committee put forth to have another successful weekend event," she said in an email to BayToday. 

"We have seen an increase in new households registering for our services, up almost 40 per cent from this time last year, so an event like this, where much needed funds can be raised helps us with the consistent need for our hamper items. We cannot thank the committee enough for their hard work along with the community and donors for their generosity.

Bitonti figures they will not meet the attendance record of 12500 which went through the gates in 2022.  Bitonti notes that includes children who enjoyed the Kidsland events for free last year. 

"We will be considerably shy of those numbers only because of the weather," said Bitonti.

"Saturday is always our big day, if we do it next year they are excited but we certainly cannot make it happen without local sponsors." 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
Read more

Reader Feedback