PARMA, Ohio — For the second straight year, the pandemic has canceled the Parma Rib ‘N Rock Rib Cookoff and Musical Festival.
“It’s not just the chamber, it’s the whole community that will be disappointed,” Parma Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Phil Kish said. “Parma Rib ‘N Rock helps out many charities. There’s a lot of civic and local organizations that either participate in the event or raise money helping out.
“There’s also just the financial impact this has with all of the vendors. This is one of their primary events they’re able to make a living at. It hurts them, and also affects the chamber,” Kish said.
“We take a portion of our proceeds and put it into our scholarship fund for the Parma City School kids. That’s also affected.”
The annual affair, which in many ways acts as Parma’s unofficial home days event, attracts more than 25,000 rib-and-music-loving folks to the Cuyahoga Community College West campus.
“It’s a great food event with entertainment that everyone looks forward to each year,” Mayor Tim DeGeeter said. “I understand and support the decision due to safety concerns, and look forward to next year.
“Additionally, as we finally keep climbing out of the pandemic, I look forward to upcoming community events later this year,” he said.
Despite the fact much of the population is expected to be vaccinated by the late spring date, Kish said Parma Rib ‘N Rock — which has been held for the last five years at the Tri-C campus — requires advanced planning that this year wasn’t able to be completed due to the pandemic.
There’s also uncertainty about how COVID-19 would have affected attendance.
“We didn’t know how many people would show up,” Kish said. “It’s a 50/50 split. Half of the people want to get out and do things; the other 50 percent are not going to no matter if it’s allowed or not. So we had to cancel the Parma Rib ‘N Rock for those reasons.”
Initially, there was discussion about rescheduling the saucy affair to later this summer, but Kish said logistically it wouldn’t work out.
So what was going to be the 30th annual Parma Rib ‘N Rock will now take place next spring.
However, Kish said the Parma Area Chamber is planning a drive-thru event for June 12 at James Day Park.
“This is in the planning stages,” Kish said. “I do have initial approval from Parma and Cuyahoga County Health Department to have a drive-thru Parma Rib ‘N Rock featuring five food trucks with a limited menu that probably won’t include ribs.
“We can have this event with food trucks, because they’re self-sufficient and they’re also already certified by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
“The idea is to keep the spirit of Parma Rib ‘N Rock alive in people.”
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