Thursday, January 18, 2018
Events

9 tips to enhance your Ribfest experience

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.

Miscellaneous:

• 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.)

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