An arm and a rib…
51 weeks out of 52, I spend my money in restaurants across town. I have pretty much given business to all of them at one time or another. Some, I can be seen at fairly regularly, others not SO much, but I make a point of trying everything our beautiful city has to offer.
The one week I do not spend locally per se–and I really shouldn’t say week, when in fact it’s more of a weekend–is that of Ribfest.
On that weekend, I choose to support a local organization, The Cornwall Seaway Lions Club, and attend an awesome festival that took a year of hard work and tedious planning to put together. I choose to go to Lamoureux Park, which is transformed into a beautiful land of amusement for young and old, and listen to amazing musical acts, some local, some not, absolutely at no cost to me. And, YES, if I do get hungry, I spend my money on overpriced ribs from out-of- towners who brought award-winning BBQ right into my backyard. I don’t mind, because it’s not the food I pay for, it’s the experience. And it’s only once a year.
On Monday morning, after the festival was all said and done, I was surprised to see a lot of negative comments on my facebook feed. People were expressing grievances with the fact that all the money that would have otherwise lined the pockets of our local eateries, went to Ribfest. They forget that for every dollar that that was not spent in a restaurant, a dollar was probably spent at another local establishment. Campgrounds were packed, hotels were filled and local vendors looked like they were having a good week-end, sales wise.
It is hard to quantify the ultimate impact an event such as Ribfest truly has on a community. Does it help? Does it hurt? Just in this week’s edition, you will see a few arguments for and against holding them.
I, for one, think that festivals like these contribute greatly to putting Cornwall on the map. There is no telling how many people came accross our wonderful city by way of attending such an shindig. Passersby may fall in love with our waterfront. It’s a gorgeous waterfront! They may think “Hey, what a charming little city! I’ll have to come back and try one of the restaurants sometime!” Some may even like it so much that they will think of relocating or starting a business here…. You think that scenario is far-fetched? Yours truly happened to stumble upon Cornwall some 7 years ago and saw the beauty of it all. I’m sure it can happen to others.
Ribfest saw an audience of more than 60,000 again this year. Certainly, we’ve benefited from it in some way or another.