Southern flavors return

Third annual Ribfest remains popular in Minot

Allan Blanks/MDN Cornell Simon, a grill master at the awarding-winning Porky-N-Beans B-B-Q Company, flips tender slabs of ribs at Minot’s third annual Ribfest Saturday afternoon.

The smoky aroma of chili peppers coated with caramelized brown sugar greeted over a thousand visitors Saturday afternoon during the second day of Minot’s third annual Ribfest.

During day two of Minot’s barbecue celebration, grill masters fired up tender slabs of ribs while fry cooks served deep fried Twinkie’s, Oreo’s and pickles.

Joe Panella, the owner of award-winning Porky-N-Beans B-B-Q Company from Florida, expressed great excitement to share southern flavors with the Magic City.

“This is our second year up here and we love it,” Panella said. “This is a fantastic event. We love Minot, we love the people and everybody has been great.”

Across the North Dakota State Fairgrounds were rows of vendors preparing signature barbecues from Florida, Memphis and North Carolina.

Allan Blanks/MDN Christopher Benkoski and Evan Allison sample ribs at Minot’s third annual Ribfest Saturday afternoon.

Flavors ranging from sweet and zesty to smoky and spicy impressed Ribfest patrons Christopher Benkoski and Evan Allison.

“The ribs are fantastic, arguably the best I’ve ever had,” said Benkoski.

As patrons enjoyed hearty helpings of cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans, the sound of southern rock performed on the soundstage amplified the Southern experience.

In addition to the sweet taste of lemonade paired with funnel cakes, nearly a dozen bounce houses formed a vibrant skyline at the fairgrounds.

Rick Heit, a visitor and parent at Ribfest, described the event as a family attraction with fun entertainment.

Allan Blanks/MDN From left to right, sisters Brienna Heit and Chelsea Heit have a friendly competition in a bounce house at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds during Minot’s Ribfest.

“It’s exciting that Minot has the opportunity to host events like this,” Heit said. “I am very impressed with the variety of bounce houses here. There’s about 11 or 12 houses which is the most I’ve seen in one place.”

Along with climbing in and out of bounce houses, visitors shoot hoops on a basketball court, explore a 9-D virtual reality simulator or test their logic during a live action puzzle game presented by Minot’s Escape Point.

Rib enthusiasts alongside fans of deep fried desserts have one more chance to enjoy Minot’s third annual Ribfest today, starting at 11 a.m.

For more information about Ribfest, visit online at