PRIOR LAKE – April 22, 2014 – Rib lovers rejoice! A major new special event is coming this summer to the Minneapolis area. Modeled after events attracting thousands of rib fans and barbecue enthusiasts, The Great Midwest Rib Fest will premier July 25 through 27 at Mystic Lake. The event will feature eight of the country’s top rib cookers, an art festival with more than 100 of the best Minnesota artists and top-name live entertainment, including The Oak Ridge Boys on July 26.
“We are putting together an exciting new outdoor event—with delicious ribs, unique shopping, outstanding music and so much more,” said Edward G. Stevenson, SMSC Gaming Enterprise President/CEO. “You don’t want to miss the best ribs you’ll have ever eaten!”
The Great Midwest Rib Fest will be open Friday, July 25 from 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 26 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to all ages.
The event will feature eight rib cookers vying for $15,000 in cash prizes and the bragging rights that come with winning this inaugural event.
Trophies and cash prizes for first through fifth places for ribs and best sauce will be awarded. The general public will also be able to vote for their favorites by casting a ballot for the Best of the Fest people’s choice award.
The rib judging panel will be led by head judge Jack Riebel, former Executive Chef and co-founder of Butcher & the Boar (named the Star Tribune’s 2012 Restaurant of the Year, and James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant semifinalist). Riebel was also a 2013 James Beard nominee for Best Chef: Midwest. Also judging will be Stephanie March, editor of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Eat + Drink section and host of the Weekly Dish radio show and Sue Zelickson, a regular contributor to Minnesota Monthly, co-creator of the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience and co-creator of the Charlie Awards. Zelickson is a James Beard Broadcast Media Award Winner and judges local and national chef and cooking contests. More judges will be announced soon.
Beth Cooney, who oversaw the largest rib event in the country for 14 years—The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, drawing over 500,000 people annually—is partnering with Mystic Lake in the creation of this new event. “The Southwest metro is easy to get to and a perfect location within the Twin Cities for this type of event,” Cooney said.
A major attraction at the event is an art festival that will showcase over 100 of the best artists in Minnesota. The art festival is being produced by Amdur Productions from Chicago. The firm annually produces 19 art festivals in four states. Amdur takes pride in the quality of the artisans
they feature at their festivals, with all entries going through a jury process. Artists interested in
applying should visit for information.
“We and the artists we represent are very excited to be a part of this new event,” said Amy Amdur, president of Amdur Productions. “We think it is going to be a highlight of our season.”
Free entertainment by top-name and regional live bands will be featured on the main stage throughout the event. Entertainment will be announced shortly. For more details visit
EVENT: The Great Midwest Rib Fest
DATES: Friday, July 25, 4 – 9 pm
Saturday, July 26, 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday, July 27, 11 am – 5 pm
MUSIC: Live music throughout the event with more acts to be announced soon. The Oak Ridge Boys will headline a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
LOCATION: All events will take place outside Mystic Lake.
DETAILS: This free event is open to all ages. Additional vendors will serve sides, desserts and drinks. Guests must be 18 to gamble and 21 to purchase or consume alcohol. More details to be announced at
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Great Midwest Rib Fest48.54 KB

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