It is with deep regret that undoubtedly one of Langley’s biggest summer events was cancelled by way of vote.
RibFest, a charity fair of award-winning meats, live acts, and local craft beer was scheduled for August 14 to 18.
At an April 7 meeting, representatives of Langley’s host Rotary clubs cited concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic as cause for the decision, Aldergrove Rotary Club president Pauline Buck related.
Jeff Morfitt, who chaired the successful entry-free family event for its first two years, said the organizing committee felt it was inappropriate to ask sponsors to commit their financial support during the outbreak.
“Most businesses are taking the required steps to weather upcoming economic challenges and that conserving cash is critical,” Morfitt explained.
“Strong sponsor support is required to present our event.”
Other considerations for the cancellation included uncertainty about whether guests would feel comfortable attending the bustling festival that drew upwards of 35,000 people to McLeod Park last summer.
Or, that attendees would have the ability to spend money at RibFest, Buck added, considering COVID-19 has created such “widespread devastating financial hardships.”
Langley’s four Rotary Clubs are continuing to support the community through these tough times, she emphasized.
One of the primary purposes for RibFest was to raise funds so that the clubs could fund more programming and services for those in need.
Last year, RibFest 2019 raised $150,000 – which was divided among the clubs to support projects including Starfish Backpack, which sent home groceries to dozens of elementary students on Fridays.
Currently, Langley Rotarians are working with Langley School District Foundation to keep Starfish programs operational in spite of school closures due to COVID-19.
The RibFest committee has also provided financial support to the Langley Hospice, and recently donated to Inclusion Langley and Fraser Health – 3,400 pairs of latex gloves that were left over from last year’s food and beverage kiosks.
Organizers of the festival have reached out to sponsors, suppliers, entertainers, and volunteers with the unfortunate news, offering thanks for their past involvement and well-wishes amid the public health crisis.
“We look forward to better times ahead when we can rekindle our partnerships with so many excellent organizations and people to present RibFest Langley’s 2021 event, tentatively scheduled for August 13 to 15,” Morfitt assured.