Friday, July 31, 2009

London's International Rib Festival 2009 -- Damn the ribs are so expensive!

This afternoon I headed downtown to check out London's International Rib Fest in Victoria Park.

Apparently the London Boys & Girls Club no longer runs it with their volunteers as a fund raising event. Money raised at the festival now goes to ChildCan, "a London-based charity that helps families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer."

Victoria Park sits alongside Richmond St. aka Richmond Row where there are a lot of bars, restaurants, and shops. It's a big clubbing area for university students, and I used to spend a lot of time in this area when I lived in London.

Walking through the gates of Victoria Park . . .

There still weren't many people at the festival as it is Friday and it was only 1pm.

I walked around checking out the different food vendors . . . maple candy floss? That's new--to me anyway. I imagine now that I'm older I might not like that much.

There seemed to be a a lot of food vendors that weren't selling ribs--you gotta wonder what the international rib teams think about this as I imagine they want people to be eating RIBS.

First chicken, then burgers? Okay . . . I've been to quite a few of the rib fests and I'm not 100% but I don't think there used to be this many meat vendors--snacks and desserts yes, but why call it a rib fest when there's pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken . . . ?

I like the art on the front of this vendor's trailer . . .

Band shell and concert area. During the winter there's an ice rink here too.

I imagine he's thinking, "WHY did you bring me here? I can smell meat everywhere. Are you going to give me any? NO! Woof!"

The war memorial in the center of the park.

And then I saw my old buddy Bill Paul, the city of London town crier. I used to do clown work with his company at parties, festivals, etc etc etc. Bill's pretty much a permanent feature of London's festival and event scene, and you'll always see him with a group of kids and parents wanting balloon animals and face painting . . .

The beer table area . . . usually packed--still too early.

I then did a tour of the rib making teams . . .

Some teams have more trophies than others, lol.

These guys had banners and posters up with huge bragging stats. They've won a lot of competitions and wanted to make sure EVERYBODY knew about it.

Click on the picture below and you'll see how many places they've won rib competitions.

The prices are still fairly steep for a fund raiser, but the cause is worth it. I may head back tomorrow and get some. I've eaten them before, and they're pretty good.

Here's a few more shots of the different teams' booths . . .

Some of the names are pretty cool . . .

I then walked a half block away from the park to see my old apartment. It was in this century home (over a hundred years old). This location was awesome because it was so close to everything downtown . . . it's probably a good thing I wasn't living here in my early twenties with the club scene so close by, lol.

There are something like NINE small apartments inside this house. My apartment was on the second floor in the front. It was weird to see the windows covered over with tin foil or something, lol. I was tempted to go knock on the door and see if they'd let me in to take a few pics . . . but decided that might not go over too well depending on who answered the door, lol.

The street was pretty quiet except for two things: on weekends when there are festivals it can be loud early in the morning and late at night as the house is only a half block from the park, and secondly the freaking fraternity houses that were about 100 feet away from the house.

Back at the major intersection of downtown London I had to wait to take the bus home . . . luckily I didn't have to wait too long, and I occupied myself on the bus by looking at the pics I'd taken.

Time to go watch some UFC and relax.


St. Paul's Cathedral and St. Peter's Cathedral Bascilica in London, Ontario, Canada

Today I went downtown to check out the London International Rib Festival . . . but before I headed to Victoria Park where it was being held I checked out two cathedrals.

The first was St. Paul's Cathedral. When I was in my teens and early twenties I had the privilege of singing with some very good choirs that put on concerts in this cathedral.

Here's some info about the cathedral.

The acoustics are very nice, and I wish I could have gone in to take some pics.

There's a shaded area in front of the cathedral where people can sit and rest and play with the squirrels.

The sun was playing hiding and seek with the clouds . . . the lighting was pretty good for most of the shots I took.

I like the bit of lens flare in this one.

Here's a few more shots of the entrance. I like the contrasting light and shadows.

The cathedral is pretty big. Here's another wing of it.

This shot was tricky. I wanted to get the colors and details of the cathedral while at the same time getting the silhouetted sun . . .

And a few more shots . . .

I then headed over to St. Peter's Cathedral Bascilica. I've often thought it a little strange that the two cathedrals are only about a block a part . . . not sure what the reason is for that.

St. Peter's has a very different feel and look to it.

Some info . . .

Right side close-up . . .

Left side close-up . . .

And then some shots of the side of the cathedral . . .

I really like the semi-castle feel some of the features have . . . I really don't have much else to say other than I enjoyed taking the pics. I do wish that the sunlight had stayed but it disappeared behind the clouds.

While I might not be a Christian anymore, I still really appreciate the acoustics, architecture, and cultural history of cathedrals.

Singing in these cathedrals was a spiritual experience for me, and one that I will always treasure.