Brockville, Ontario



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Austin de Luis

A formula for success


11th annual Ribfest grows again this year

Each year Ribfest seems to grow in popularity while many other festivals seem to struggle to keep their heads above the water, each year looking as if it will be their last. 

There are a number of factors to consider for the different festivals including weather, entertainment venues and line-up and countless other variables that can make or break an event.  Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has been blessed by clear and sunny skies in recent years, but it’s more than just cooperative weather that has made Ribfest a record-breaking success.

The formula is simple:  local talent, interactive scheduled events and as close to complete participation from businesses in the area makes up the recipe Ribfest has perfected.  All of this is made possible by the cause that BBBS represents: a children’s services organization, offering a better life for the kids in their community. 

The entertainment is another key to their success.  Having something for all ages throughout the four-day event is a must.  From the opening of the Kidz Zone on Thursday, there are several games and fun activities for kids of all ages.  The fishing derby and different performers geared towards children make it easy to spend hours on the grounds without the fear of your child’s restlessness setting in.  It isn’t surprising that BBBS has the formula for keeping kids occupied and having fun. 

It isn’t geared solely towards kids, with entertainment, the vendors, the beer tent, and of course the food, which attracts people of all ages. 

No admission at the gates is another key factor that the public has recognized as a big plus for Ribfest.  Knowing that it doesn’t cost anything to get in gives people a more relaxed feeling about staying as long as they want or leaving and coming back another day. 

Whatever the details for the formula of a successful festival may be, Big Brothers Big Sisters has come up with it.  Many aspects are factored in, and the combination of everything Ribfest has to offer along with the support the community has for the organization itself seem to come up with the ultimate formula. 

Congratulations to Big Brothers Big Sisters and everyone who helped make this another highly successful event!

Something thought of, but shouldn’t be said

Shortly after the Observer hit mailboxes last week the calls and emails poured in responding to the editorial I wrote about the state of the downtown core and the problems with the image it portrays. 

I realize that it is a touchy subject and something usually not spoken of, or handled more delicately, but it is a topic I felt could only be written about directly and to the point.  Anyone who has lived in Brockville for more than 25 years remembers what our downtown used to be, and has seen a slow decay over time that brings a tear to the eyes of those that truly care about our city. 

I want to be clear about my previous editorial.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers or even that I know where our city needs to begin to solve this problem.  It is a problem that needs to be discussed and brought into the open.  My only goal in writing about it was to try and begin such dialogue. 

For as many calls and emails I had condemning what I said, I received just as many correspondence of a positive nature, many of which are from people who live or work in the downtown core.  Those who are affected by this problem on a daily basis seem to want this discussion to begin, whereas others may not. 

Several business owners and managers sent me stories about the problem and how it has affected their business.  Stories about calling cabs for customers that wanted to get from one end of King Street to the other during the evening because they didn’t want to walk through a certain part of the street were common.  There were other stories about avoiding the store fronts of different problem areas by either crossing the street or taking alternate routes. 

Some of these stories came from Brockville residents but other examples were from visitors from larger centers like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.  Typically you wouldn’t think that our city would incite an unsafe feeling for visitors from these larger cities but in some cases, it has. 

This is a continuing problem, and until people put more weight into discussing the problem and less time in worrying about how their thoughts or concerns will be received, the closer we will be as a city to work towards solutions.  Sticking our heads in the sand hasn’t worked so far, and I don’t see that approach getting much done in the future. 

So, in saying that, I welcome this week’s avalanche of responses and hope that this makes it past the early discussion point soon, so we can get down to solutions, rather than simply rants pro and con the fact that this discussion needs to be had. 


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