Salamanca's Rockin' Ribfest

Returning for its 4th year, the Salamanca Rockin’ Ribfest comes to Veterans Memorial Park for a weekend of music, food, cars, running and family fun. Listen to local bands throughout the weekend, run in the Gotta Kiss Cancer Goodbye 5K, get your face messy with award-winning BBQ and bring the kids for Sunday’s Family Life Network’s day of family-centric activities. If that isn’t enough, the Rockin’ Ribs n’ Rides Car Show displays some of the area’s coolest rides, while an arts & crafts show will allow you to check out works from local artists.  The Rockin’ Ribfest is brought to you by the Seneca Salamanca Chamber of Commerce and is free to attend. 

The 3-day event starts on Friday, Aug. 14 at 4pm. ‘Goodbye Dawn’ will kick off the musical entertainment as they take center stage at 6pm.  Well-known around the area for playing their unique brand of electronic pop, band member Alex Coustenis expressed his excitement to get back to this venue. 

“This is our 3rd year playing the Ribfest,” he said. “We have a blast every year. It’s a really good event. All of the kids that can’t come and listen to us (because we play in bars) can come. We’ve been adding a bunch of disco to our playlists, and people love dancing to it.”

“We’ve seen a growing interest in BBQ, and figured it would be fun to have an event that’s focused on it,” said John Sheehan, Director of the Seneca Salamanca Chamber. “It brings a lot of people in, and this weekend is huge for the economic development of our area. We’ve coupled engaging entertainment for adults with family-friendly activities for people with kids, and that’s a recipe for success.” 

As for the BBQ, Coustenis was quick to sing its praise. “I think my entire family ate enough BBQ for the entire year.” 

The Seneca Salamanca Chamber brings in multiple award-winning BBQers, including My Happy Place and Sergeant Oinks BBQ. Sergeant Oinks, out of Tiffin, Ohio, boasts awards from around the country.

The music continues on Saturday, when CCR tribute band Midnight Special plays from noon-2:30pm. Nostalgia galore! After Midnight Special is done, The Bob Hartle Band will perform from 3:30-5:30pm.  Saturday night finishes very strong with 80s tribute band The Vapors from 7:30-9:30pm. 

Gotta Kiss Cancer Goodbye, a local organization founded by cancer battler Kathleen Hogan, will host its 5K run (walkers also encouraged!) on Saturday as part of this year’s Ribfest. (Registration at 8am, race starts at 9am). Kathleen, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2009, started the organization in an attempt to raise awareness, fund research and be a bastion of hope and strength for cancer fighters and survivors. 

The Winery of Ellicottville, which makes its own wine right at the business (on Monroe Street in downtown Ellicottville, NY), will offer free wine tasting both Friday and Saturday from noon-5pm.  The Winery will also be selling some of its signature wines at the event, and many of them are a perfect complement to easy summer nights. 

“We wanted to bring in businesses that would drive people to explore all of the great things our area has to offer,” Sheehan said. “We’ll have a wheel that people can spin featuring a lot of these local businesses - Allegany State Park, the Seneca Allegany Casino, etc. - and if you land on said business, you’ll be given a coupon. Stimulating economic growth is one of our main priorities.” 

The car show, a perennial favorite, sees a lot of the very cool cars that are around the area. Registration begins at 9am, and there will be a ‘Best in Show’ award given out at 3pm. Sheehan stressed that all makes and models of vehicles are welcome to participate in the car show, so if you’ve got something good, bring it out! 

One of the main talking points Sheehan discussed was Sunday’s day of family-oriented activities, sponsored in part by the Family Life Network. With over 70 radio outlets across New York and Pennsylvania, the mission of Family Life Network is to engage with people through on-stage acts, music and radio personalities to bring people closer to God. Sunday will also feature lots of fun stuff for the kids - bounce houses, family games and local churches. 

“One of FLM’s premier DJs - DJ Randy Snavely - will be on stage on Sunday (from 12:30-1pm) delivering some inspirational messages, and he’s been on-air for the better part of 25 years,” Sheehan said. “This is one of the only events out of the entire year where it’s free to families and also alcohol-free. Sunday will also feature multiple other Christian-based bands and speakers.” 

For more information on Salamanca’s Rockin’ Ribfest, head to or call 716-945-2034. 

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