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Ribfest cancelled this year despite drive-thru format

June 12, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Organizers of the Alliston Ribfest are still making their way across the province this summer in a drive-thru style format to respect physical distancing but won’t be setting up locally. 

New Tecumseth Council decided to cancel the event this year during their Monday night meeting, where they agreed it’s more important to support local businesses in the wake of COVID-19.

“Our local restaurants have been struggling themselves and looking to get back on their feet. If anything, I’d like to see us support our local business and local restaurants,” said Town CAO Blaine Parkin to Council. 

He noted that despite the drive thru format, it could still potentially pose a threat to the health and safety of residents.

“I’m concerned with the number of people that might show up at an event like that, not withstanding it’s supposed to be a drive thru type of curbside pickup arrangement,” he noted. “On a nice evening… I’d say it’d be difficult… to keep people moving through.”

While the event is very well-run and would be welcomed in New Tecumseth any other year, in 2020 it’s important to take a step back, noted Ward 3 Councillor Paul Foster. 

“This is nothing to do with the event. I’ve been both years and it was fantastic. We’d love to have you back but I think this year is not the year,” he explained.

Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross stressed the economic impacts that eateries have endured over the past three months. 

“We need our total community support for our local restaurants; it’s going to be a very long road to recovery for them and we need to show them that we’re behind them,” he remarked. “Let’s do everything we can to help them abut that bridge and get back to the recovery.

“No disrespect to the event, but I think now is the time that we need to show our solidarity with our local restaurants, that we’re here to help them get through these terrible times.”

Ward 6 Councillor Stephanie MacLellan echoed Norcross’s sentiment.

“We need to focus on propping up our local businesses. They’ve been through a horribly rough time that’s not over yet and we need to spend our time and money at our local establishments.”

By Sam Odrowski 
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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