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The annual Ribfest kicks off downtown, organizers say they took big steps to keep people safe

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FORT WAYNE Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - The annual BBQ Ribfest kicked off at Headwaters Park Friday night as one of the only summer festivals not cancelled due to the pandemic. However, the organizers say they made some big changes so that the festival could take place.

"This means a lot to me, I mean we just are going through a difficult time," Executive Director Cindy Chappuis said. "It's an outdoor venue, lots of fresh air and I think it gives people something to look forward to something fun to do."

Chappuis said they have been working with the Allen County Health Department to ensure a safe environment for the festival visitors. Every person attending the Ribfest is required to wear a face mask unless they are seated eating or drinking.

This year's Ribfest was limited to only two days long, five local bands, and two local rib teams. They also made a total cancellation of the cook-off and Celebrity Judges Table.

Owner of Griffin's BBQ Jeffrey Griffin says the annual Ribfest brings out a lot of customers for their business.

"It's good to be chosen as one of the few that get to go here," Griffin said. "But we always want to see the competition and the bigger crowd but its great for business and its also great to give back to the community."

He says it's an honor to be one of the businesses chosen to be at this year's Ribfest and they are sanitizing frequently in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Karli VanCleave

Karli VanCleave is a multimedia journalist at WPTA for the evening newscast. Karli is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Bloomington graduate.
Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (@KarliVanCleaveNews) and Twitter (@Karli_VanCleave), or if you have a story idea send her an email at kvancleave@wpta21.com.

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