Hartford Rib-Off draws big crowd, raises thousands for local charities


It’s all you can eat, all you can drink and all for charity.

The grills and smokers are fired up at Riverside Park for the tenth annual Hartford Rib Off — an event that’s far from its humble beginnings.

“It started in my backyard when some of my buddies wanted to use my backyard to do a smoke off,” said Guy Neumann. 

That was a decade ago.

Now, 30 pit masters, dozens of vendors, and 4,000 pounds of meat makes this the biggest Hartford Rib-Off yet.

Nearly 2,000 people attended Saturday’s event, pulling in thousands of dollars. In the past decade, Rib-Off has raised more than $100,000. 

“We’ve been doing this for the last five years and it’s a blast, said Chris Peters, who is barbecuing on behalf of Mayor Mike’s Foundation for Kids in honor of his late father, former mayor of Hartford Mike Peters. “We have a great time and the best part is we get to raise money every year for great charities.”

Mayor Mike’s Foundation for Kids, which raises money for youth sports in Hartford, is one of this year’s beneficiaries. “We’re the ones this year, we’re the charity so it’s super exciting for us and kind of a cherry on top for this year’s rib off,” Peters added.

Hartford Rib-Off also launched a scholarship fund that will help offset the costs for one Hartford student. 

“I’m passionate about Hartford, I’m raising my children in Hartford, I’m a Hartford guy,” Neumann said. “We’re bringing people that don’t necessarily spend a lot of time in Hartford to Hartford and showing them that Hartford still has it.”


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