Monday, July 2, 2012

Naperville's Ribfest with Ty Pennington and #CBias

So do you know where I was on Saturday?  What?  You don't have my schedule memorized?  I was at Ribfest in Naperville.  It's a local Chicago event that I've heard about for years but just never made it to before.  I mean, c'mon, Ribfest.  What a great way to celebrate summer, and I had the delight of spending the majority of my time in the Sears #GrillingIsHappiness tent with their celebrity demonstrations from Ty Pennington, Robyn Landars, George Hirsch, and Perry Perkins.

Ribfest in Naperville

Personally, I love to grill, and we do it year 'round.  At the pre-event reception on Friday night, one of the Sears folks said something about how they don't want to be there just for the sale of the grill and outdoor living items for the four months we can grill in Chicago, but developing a relationship via #GrillingIsHappiness.  I love almost all that idea - except that part about grilling only four months a year in Chicago.  In our house, we grill all year, and that includes shoveling a walkway to the grill in February!

But Sears is doing it right with the Grilling Is Happiness website.  The four celebrities we got to hang with on Friday and Saturday - who were beyond nice - aren't the only contributors.  The site is filled with constantly updated information on decorating and bbq parties and recipes and everything you need to spend your summer in your outdoor kitchen from all sorts of experts.

Ty Pennington

Ribfest itself was a hoot.  I had a great time hanging with Laura from Mom Mart, another blogger attending.  This is is one of the great Chicago annual events, and there was far more than just ribs there.  The Steve Miller Band played on Friday night - and all concerts are included in the admission - and there was also Joe Walsh and ZZ Top, amongst others.  And just like any other festival, Laura and I found all sorts of other vendors, from the rubber chicken Laura managed to have fly into a grill to every newspaper in Chicagoland to the usual carnival rides and games.  I felt mildly guilty that I hadn't brought the wee ones when I saw the children's area - children 11 and younger are free - but then I remembered how hot it was, and I was ok again.

The carnival games make me giggle as always.  It was fun to watch other people play - neither Laura nor I had any interest in lugging around a prize for the rest of the day - and they were definitely having fun.  Our emcee in the Sears #GrillingIsHappiness tent, Alex, had no such issues and came back from the carnival tent with a giant stuffed husky.  He admitted that he'd beaten out six kids at Whack-A-Mole for it, though he claimed not to have known he was playing kids because they were on the other side.  It made us giggle, and that's what carnivals are for, right?

shooting a basketball

I loved the whole atmosphere of the day.  It was far too hot to eat much of anything, but I made sure to have a few ribs.  As I was on my way out for the day, I found a woman who had the right idea.  A vendor somewhere was selling watermelon or strawberry smoothies - or strawberry daiquiris - in a hollowed out watermelon.  I wish that I'd found it earlier, but I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed my own lemonade(s).  Tell me that isn't one of the coolest things you've ever seen.

Watermelon smoothie

At the actual Ribfest tent, I had a blast.  Of the hours I was at Ribfest, I spent the vast majority of my time hanging out there - and not only because it had shade.  The four chefs each had a demonstration that provided all sorts of neat tips - many of which I recapped in a Google+ album about my Ribfest experience.  When they weren't cooking, they were a hoot.  I loved having a little "behind the scenes" time with them where I could chat with them and see what they were doing to prep their food - extra tips for me!

Candid Ribfest shot

This was such a neat experience, and I got so many great tips.  The whole event was a big draw for me, and I love that this is something local to me.  The big draw for most people, however, appeared to be Ty Pennington.  Ty was at the Sears #GrillingIsHappiness Tent on Saturday with us, and oh did the people line up for their photos with him!  He was so gracious to everyone, which was great.  One lucky person even had the opportunity to grill with him, and yes, Sears gave away grills and other great prizes, too.  We all had to get our photos taken with Ty of course.  Proof that he's a good guy?  When the fan next to us kept blowing my hair into my face,  Ty took care of it - he was my fan blocker with his hand!

Sweaty Ty Pennington
Yes, that is sweat on his shirt.  He had promised to wear shorts, but then didn't.  He regretted it.
The best part of the whole experience is that is isn't over.  Ribfest goes through Tuesday night where they'll have what I've been told are awesome fireworks to close it down.  I'm tempted to go back again this year, but I know no matter what I'll be back again another year.  I just hope it's a little bit cooler so I can try out some more ribs!  Unfortunately, when the winners were announced on Sunday, the ribs Laura and I tried didn't win best ribs or best sauce.  But we were happy with them anyway.  So who's heading to Ribfest with me next year?

Ribfest fibs

Before I forget, I have a winner to announce, too!  In my Father's Day Grilling post, I had a grill tool set to give away from Sears.  Thank you to everyone who entered, but congratulations go to Debi Jackson who was the winner as chosen by!

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears.  As always, all opinions expressed remain my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

1 comment:

  1. I had so much fun hanging out with you for the day at Ribfest. Those ribs were tasty. I just wish I had remembered the sun block!


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