This weekend will be the 25th Ribfest, bringing more than 60,000 people to Vinoy Park for three days of music and meat.
That's 20,000 people a day, so you know it's going to be crowded. We've got some tips to help you maneuver your way through the throngs.
First, the food:
• The later it is, the longer the lines are going to be. Get there early in the day to get your rib fix.
• The longest lines usually form from 5 to 7 p.m. and whenever the top-billed music act starts.
• Don't be fooled into thinking the best 'cue has the longest lines.
• Go with a group, split up, buy from different vendors and then share the bounty.
Now, the crowds:
• If possible, avoid sitting on the south side of the sidewalk that's nearest the stage. In the afternoon, it might look like a clear sight-line to the stage. But as night falls and the main acts go on, there will be a constant stream of people in front of you and you can't see anything.
• Use the Fifth Avenue NE entrance and not the one that's nearest to North Shore Pool. The food lines there at night interfere with the sidewalk and create a massive people jam.
• Remember to establish a landmark if you have to leave in the dark to get something. With things so crowded, finding your way back to your crew can be a real challenge.
• Bring something warm just in case you get chilled. When the sun goes down and the wind comes off the water, it can seem like it's freezing. A slight cold front that moved through Friday will also make it seem cooler than it has been.
• Don't want to lug chairs? Rent one for $5 a day.
If you go
Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday-Sunday at Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Tickets are $16 in advance at Circle K or ribfest.org, $20 at the gate, 12 and younger free with adult admission. (Proceeds from the event go to children's charities.)