If there’s one thing that defines the beginning of summer in Parma to me, it’s not the end of school or the increasing temperatures, it’s the Parma Rib ‘N Rock. Growing up, it was the perfect foray into summer vacation, going from the final days of school to a weekend of entertainment, rides, and of course, lots of food.

The event started off at what was then Parmatown Mall, where for $4.00 you could partake in the festivities throughout the weekend. Yes, the price of admission is actually a dollar lower than it was back in the 90s. Now in its fourth year at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus, it has continued to grow with its new location into the event we know today.

The highlight of the weekend event is, naturally, the ribs. The rib vendors that have been announced this year are Armadillo’s, Jack on the Bone, Mojo’s, Pigtails, Smokin T’s, and Texas Pit. The vendors are regulars at the Rib ‘N Rock, which helps for nostalgia’s sake on my part, knowing some of the names even from back when I went as a kid.

If you’re looking for a sweeter sauce, Texas Pit’s sauces are for you, while conversely Armadillo’s are move savory. Pigtails have both a darker cook and sauce combination to give it that smokiness. Mojo’s ribs come a little bit thicker to get more of the sauce on their ribs, and Smokin T’s almost require a fork to eat them. While Jack on the Bone has great ribs as well, what I come for is their barbecued mushrooms.

When you go each year you get to know each vendor’s style and which one fits yours. But if this is your first time or you don’t have your favorites written down, just do what I do and grab a sample from everyone. You’re sure to find a favorite.

If ribs are not your thing, there are many other food choices and reasons to come out. The Rib ‘N Rock is an event that does have something for everyone, whether it’s rides, carnival games, or music.

The Young Professionals of Parma will also be running the craft beer tent for the third year. Come enjoy a selection of beer from Saucy Brew Works, Rhinegeist and more, plus wine while supporting the work this non-profit group does to promote our city as a great place for YPs to live, work and play. You can also help by signing up to work a shift at http://ow.ly/CQsu30oMxdp. See you there!

By: Dan Tylicki, YPOP Treasurer