PARMA, Ohio – Even though the Parma Area Chamber of Commerce decided not to host its Parma Rib ‘N Rock Rib Cookoff and Musical Festival for the second year in a row, the community organization managed to pivot earlier this this month with a unique event that drew hundreds of hungry people.
The Rib N ‘Rock Food Truck Festival held at Normandy High School allowed residents to not only pick up food from six vendors – Mojo’s Rib Shack, Sue’s Pierogis, Shafer’s Little Blue Trailer, Gyro Guys, Jimbo’s Original Cheesesteaks and Signature Slush – but also enjoy a backyard concert featuring local classic rock tribute bands.
“Of course all the mandates were lifted a week before the event, so we had a really good turnout with almost 500 food orders,” said Phil Kish, executive director of the Regional Chamber of Commerce. Parma. “The salespeople were very happy.
“We had a lot more walkups than we expected. We thought everyone should stay in their car. Overall, we really had a lot of people coming together to help us. A lot of beautiful things came out of it. It was a really fun and interesting day.
Separately, Kish said more than $ 700 in donations were raised from festival-goers to help pay for free first responder lunches for police and firefighters in Parma and Parma Heights.
Unlike the traditional Parma Rib ‘N Rock Rib Cookoff and Musical Festival, which is a chamber fundraiser, Kish said that by participating in the food truck event, his goals were different.
“I never planned to make any money,” Kish said. “I didn’t charge the food truck vendors to be there. The idea was to keep the spirit of Rib ‘N Rock alive in the community.
“The response also showed us how powerful the Rib ‘N Rock brand is on social media.”
While the current plan calls for the return of the Parma Rib ‘N Rock Rib Cookoff and Musical Festival next June for its 30th anniversary celebration, Kish is not ruling out the possibility of turning the food truck festival into a standalone event.
“It’s a possibility,” Kish said. “I would think about it. It depends on what the salespeople tell me if they are interested in starting over. I will say this, it is a lot of work for a one day event.
“If we had to do something with the food vendors again, I’d like to do it at least two days with the approval process and expenses. But I am open to anything. If the community supports it, I’m up for it.
Read more news from the Parma Sun Post here.