If you're looking for one last smoky taste of summer, have no fear, barbecued ribs and outside entertainment are here.
For four days, starting Thursday at 11am, the BOK Center hosts the Rock 'n Rib Festival presented by Rib Crib. The festival comes as a culmination of month-long events to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Tulsa's BOK Center.
"We have a lot of barbecue festivals, but there's not one on just ribs," said Jeff Nickler, special events manager for the BOK Center. "It's a very rare experience for Tulsa to taste ribs like this."
Ribs from seven championship teams known for their rib recipes grilling and heading to Tulsa, that is. Rib vendors -- including, Coyote Roadhouse, Desperado's BBQ (awarded the 2009 Best in the West, recently), Willingham's BBQ, Big Boned BBQ and others -- compete head-to-head Thursday for the Urban Tulsa "Best of Show" award. (Named for yours truly, of course).
Competition and announcement of the winner take place on Thursday, but people will have an opportunity to sample the various ribs throughout the weekend celebration. The vendors are more than ready for people to try them, too.
"Our meat is cooked so tender you can eat it without your teeth," said Dan Johnson from Johnson's BBQ, who competes and will be on hand during the celebration, in a release. "(Our thermo-nuclear sauce is) so hot it will improve your cardiovascular system, sinuses and pancreas simultaneously."
The ribs might be the main attraction to Third Street and Frisco Avenue this weekend, but there's certainly more than barbecue.
Starting at 11:30am on Thursday, live music cranks up to entertain the crowd throughout the day and night. Twelve regional bands along with a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Live Bait, perform to designated themes each night. The themes include classic rock, beach party, country and red dirt and afternoon jazz, respectively.
If you're tired of the barbecue taste scene, other vendors will be on hand to sell delicious eats and treats-including deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies, buttered sweet corn, funnel cakes and fresh-squeezed limeade.
Ultimately, the BOK Center hopes to make the event an annual celebration -- the second weekend after Labor Day -- that draws Tulsans downtown.
"It's a big street fest," Nickler said. "It's really all about ribs, beer and music. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet world championship vendors and celebrate the new energy of downtown Tulsa."
Nickler expects more than 20,000 people to attend the downtown festival throughout the four-day event.
The Rock 'n Rib Festival presented by Rib Crib will be held at the BOK Center on Third Street and Frisco Avenue, Thursday through Sunday. The event is free Thursday and Friday before 1pm, otherwise its $3 per person. Kids under 12 are always free.
For more information, visit bokcenter.com or call Jeff Nickler at 894-4254.
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