RibFest 2015 fundraising efforts dampened by summer storm

WATCH ABOVE: Wet weather over the weekend put a damper on outdoor events in the city including the 16th annual Ribfest, which is a major fundraiser for a number of charities. But although the rain had a negative effect on events, it meant a good sales day for mall retailers. Angie Seth reports.

TORONTO – Toronto RibFest has been a staple event for thousands of rib lovers gearing up to celebrate Canada Day. But a weekend of stormy, rainy weather put a damper on the event and its fundraising efforts.

For the first time in 16 years, event organizers were forced to shut things down for a day and a half due to the large amount of rain and the muddy mess it left behind.

Volunteers worked frantically the next day once the rain had stopped, shoveling up mud and spreading wood chips everywhere to make getting around a lot easier.

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WATCH: RibFest Chefs heat things up ahead of the festival.

After all their efforts, the event is now back on, but it may have caused some damage when it comes to the event’s fundraising numbers.

“Our goal was to raise a half million dollars this year. We really wanted to knock it out of the park,” said Hugh Williams, Festival Director of Toronto RibFest.

“We do fundraising to give back to the community through many organizations and many rely or expect to get help. We hope to be able to do that again this year.”

The Rotary Club of Etobicoke helps to organize RibFest. Last year it raised well over $300,000. The club’s soon-to-be President Jack Fleming says that with a loss in numbers he is concerned they will not reach anywhere near that amount this year.

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“It’s going to impact us for sure and I have no idea what the numbers will be. It’s going to be very tough I think. We invest quite a bit of money to put this on so we have to cover all those costs at the outset,” Fleming said.

“It’s going to be an interesting discussion about the budget in the coming year. This is our major fundraiser and we are going to have to look at a strategy to do some addition funding.”

Over the last 7 years 90 local organizations and dozens of international organizations and projects have benefited from Toronto RibFest. It is considered to be Toronto’s largest Canada Day fundraiser.

The festival takes place at Centennial Park in Etobicoke until July 1st. It features grilled delights from a number of rib experts looking to attract and feed the big crowds and then the event caps off with a big fireworks show on Canada Day.