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Lions Club hosts Ribfest in Burkhardt on Saturday

Ribfest is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Willow River Saloon in Burkhardt. Among those involved are, from left, organizers Larry Frye and Becky Frye, and contestant and Willow River Saloon owner Chris Kath. (Submitted photo)

The Hudson Lions Club hosts its fourth annual Ribfest Saturday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Willow River Saloon in Burkhardt. The public is welcome to the cooking competition and rib-tasting event. Ribs and side dishes will be available for a charge.

This year's event features the live entertainment of Dave Snyder Acoustic Sounds. Hudson-area brewers American Sky Brewery and Pitch Fork Brewery will be on hand with samples of beer. Members of the St. Joseph Fire Department and EMS squad will demonstrate emergency rescue techniques.

Big Time BBQ Buddies is the defending champion and returns to Ribfest to compete against Season's Tavern, Family Fresh-Hudson, Aesop's Table, Randy Ready's Sports Bar & Grill, Big Guys BBQ and Willow River Saloon.

The competitors will start cooking on site early in the morning. "Ribs need to cook slowly over several hours, no matter if they are smoked or grilled," said Chris Kath, a Ribfest competitor and owner of the Willow River Saloon. "If they are cooked right, the meat will be tender but gently attached to the bone."

The competitors must use pork spareribs, cooked St. Louis style, but each competitor will utilize their own techniques and secret ingredients to give their ribs a unique flavor and texture.

Ribfest is an annual fundraiser of the Hudson Lions Club. Money raised at the event supports local scholarships and humanitarian needs.