Rib Fest is back for the 12th year on Aug. 3-4. Pictured is the 2017 pig races which will return again this year. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)
Rib Fest is back for the 12th year on Aug. 3-4. Pictured is the 2017 pig races which will return again this year. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)
VAN WERT – Rib Fest, now in its 12th year kicks off Friday and heads on into Saturday with a list of events and food vendors.

This year’s food vendor line-up includes After Hours BBQ from Orrville, Ohio; BG’s Main Event from Rittman, Ohio; Low & Slow BBQ from Fort Wayne, Indiana; Pigtails BBQ from West Salem, Ohio; Smoke Shack BBQ from Pickerington, Ohio; and Timmy’s BBQ from Garrett, Indiana.

The event kicks off on Friday at 5 p.m. with the opening entertainment act, Backlit 419 with local artists Bayley Tow and drummer Eli Jones.

Also on Friday, Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ is sponsoring a rib-eating contest starting at 6 p.m. This year’s participants will be Van Wert County First Responders. Come on out and see who can eat the most ribs in five minutes.

On Friday, country band Shelby County Line will perform at 6:30 p.m. Following their performance, The Poets and Pirates: Kenny Chesney Tribute Band will perform at 9 p.m. The night will end at midnight.

On Saturday morning, the 12th annual Rib Fest Wiffleball Tournament will begin at 8 a.m. Then, at 1 p.m., the annual Corn Hole Tournament will begin. There will be cash prizes with a 100 percent payout.

Registration for the Rib Fest Car Show will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Pre-registration can also be completed by going to the Rib Fest website and downloading the entry form. Registration is $10 per vehicle. Categories include best GM, Ford, Mopar, Import, Truck, Patina, Farthest Traveled, Oldest Car, and Young Gun (Young Builder). Custom Trophy awards will be presented at 7 p.m.

The Van Wert County United Way will be dropping their pigs in the “When Pigs Fly” event at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Pigs are available at the United Way office (136 E. Main St.), from any United Way Board member, and any remaining pigs will be available prior to the drop at the event. Pigs are $5 each or five for $20. Grand prize, for the closest pig to the target, is $500 and second prize, for the farthest pig from the target, is $100.

Also on Saturday, pig races will be held at 4:30 p.m. The races are organized by the Van Wert County 4-H with proceeds going to 4-H programs. Citizens will be able to place bets on their favorite pigs.

For entertainment on Saturday, Hot-n-Nasty will be making their third appearance at Rib Fest starting at 4:30 p.m. Following Hot-n-Nasty, Moving in Stereo: The Cars Tribute will perform at 6:45 p.m. Then, BREAKOUT: The Bon Jovi Experience will be on stage to end the night from 9 p.m. until midnight.

Admission and parking for the event are free thanks to area sponsors.