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Back from pandemic, Ribfest organizers forced to prepare for Friday’s storm

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- The 24th annual Ribfest in downtown is back up and running after a year off because of COVID-19. This year, it was the weather they were worried about.  

"Well, we always have an emergency preparedness plan put together,” Co-producer of Ribfest Cindy Chappuis said. “Exit signs are clearly marked within the plaza. This is our 24th annual and we have dealt with a lot of summer storms, so we're very well prepared." 

ABC21 talked with one vendor, Fine Smoke Barbecue on how their team protects their equipment and ribs.  

"We're professionals so we make sure we're ready for that because if you get your stuff damaged, then it's hard to serve when stuff is broke,” Adam Reighley said. “So, we just got to make sure everything is tied down, weighted down, things that can get blown away are put away." 

To have Ribfest back this year, it definitely meant a lot. 

"It was like a great homecoming actually, we’re fully vaccinated, the team is fully vaccinated, we could actually hug each other. It was a great reunion.” Chappuis said. 

"It's been great. I'm out front who talks to people and I just love interacting with people and having a good time so, I'm all in. We're happy to be out it's just great,” Reighley said. 

ABC21 caught up with people who attended Ribfest on how they’re enjoying it so far and how the weather may alter their plans. 

"Everybody in Fort Wayne, I don’t care if it's rain or snow, they still come out,” Hassan Muhammad said. “They might not be here long but they'll still come out and grab four or five bags of food and their happy.” 

"With the summer break, we always go swimming and do different things outdoors and so with the rain it's kind of forcing us indoors during the summer time, that's not good, we like to be outdoors,” Lacie Goodman said. 

Ribfest lasts until Sunday, it's open 11:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. each day. 

Vince Lovergine

Vince Lovergine joined the WPTA team August 2020 as a multimedia journalist.

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