File photo of Retrofest in Chatham. (Photo via Chatham BIA)File photo of Retrofest in Chatham. (Photo via Chatham BIA)

Time for Retrofest and Ribfest in Chatham

The combined Rims and Ribs Festival will kick off Friday afternoon in downtown Chatham and Chatham-Kent's mayor wants to see record crowds.

Project Manager of The Historic Downtown Chatham BIA Connie Beneteau previously said normally Retrofest attracts 25,000 people and Ribfest attracts a similar amount. She believed there will be a huge amount of people downtown throughout the weekend to benefit the businesses.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff urges everyone to celebrate the first big festival of the season and wishes that everybody has a good time.

"Come on out, I want to see record crowds out there this weekend. I think there's some real synergies that are happening between these two events. This is the first big one of the season so get out and enjoy," said the mayor.

The Ribfest festivities at Tecumseh Park start at 3 p.m. on Friday and carry on all weekend until Sunday evening. Tecumseh Park will have live music, a beverage garden, ribs, vendors, and amusement rides all weekend.

On the Retrofest side, Friday from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m., a parking lot party for all model cars is planned behind Retro Suites and Downtown Chatham Centre.

On Saturday from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., the Miss RetroFest Pageant will be held on the bandshell stage in the park. Then celebrity rib judging takes place along with a 50s and 60s Sock Hop.

All downtown Chatham streets and side streets will be closed on Saturday from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to set up for the Classic Car Show. Vehicles must be 25 years and older to register.

On Sunday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., the annual Soapbox Derby will roll down William Street.

The festival comes to end Sunday night with an after-party at Sons of Kent. Tickets for the after-party are $10 and the public can meet and greet the celebrities from Rust Valley Restorations.

Organizers will also be collecting non-perishable donations all weekend to support Outreach for Hunger.

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