Rib festival to turn up heat in Haliburton's Head Lake Park

By Chad Ingram
Published Dec. 27 2017

The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Dec. 18 meeting of Dysart et al council.

Head Lake Park is likely to host a rib festival Aug. 24 to 26. Rick Brooks of BWG Events a not-for-profit events organization based out of Bradford-West Gwillimbury came to the council table looking for support for what would be Haliburton Ribfest.

Brooks founded the ribfest in Bradford which eventually grew into the Innisfil Ribfest and Music Festival.

“It outgrew itself” Brooks told councillors. The summer event attracts some 30000 people.

The vision for Haliburton would be to start small bringing in three professional rib teams as well as brewers and entertainment.

Local company Ski Mazing Watersports would also be involved offering its activities on Head Lake.

Brooks is hoping the event will attract 5000 to 8000 people over the course of the weekend.

“We like to work with local breweries” said Brooks adding he intended to approach the county’s microbreweries about getting on board.

There would be concerts by tribute bands as well as a wrestling show. There would be a $3 cover charge for entry to help offset costs for BWG.

“This is a very expensive event to put on” Brooks said explaining there are operating expenses such as security to be paid for.

BWG also looks after clean-up. “We pride ourself on having a clean event” Brooks said.

Councillors were supportive.

“I like your $3 admission to get in” said Deputy Mayor Andrea Roberts. “I think that’s really reasonable.”

“Sounds like you’re good to go” said Mayor Murray Fearrey.

Operating as a not-for-profit BWG donates a portion of gate proceeds to groups in the communities where it hosts events.

For Haliburton Ribfest Brooks said the intention is for that donation to go to Dysart et al’s skateboard park project.

Soap hockey scheduled for July 6-8 in Haliburton

“I’ve heard the question 100 if not 1000 times what is soap hockey” John Teljeur told councillors.

Teljeur operates the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships in Haliburton each winter.

This summer Teljeur plans to bring the World Soap Hockey Championships to Head Lake Park.

Soap hockey is played by barefoot players sliding around on soaped up industrial-sized tarps. They play with plastic sticks and a ball sliding around while wearing helmets.

“It’s comical it’s creative and it does capture your attention” Teljeur said. He hopes the popularity of the pond hockey tournament will bring some of those players back to the community in the summer for soap hockey. The tournament would run July 6 to 8.

Deputy Mayor Andrea Roberts wondered about using so much soap so close to Head Lake.

“We recognize that’s an issue” Teljeur said adding he’s looking for an environmentally friendly product to use. There will also be portable showers so players can rinse off instead of just jumping into the lake.

“This is really positive in my opinion” Mayor Murray Fearrey said of the event.