Exchange Club of Naperville’s Ribfest moves to September this year

Donate Today

The Exchange Club of Naperville announced on social media Tuesday that its Ribfest event would take place in September this year.  The organization put a “Save the Date” photo on Facebook, with more information about the bands coming later.

Why Ribfest in September?

While Ribfest had traditionally been held the weekend leading up to Fourth of July for more than 30 years, this year’s event chair Jerry Kochurka said over the past two years, the Exchange Club has been wanting to try something different.  Last year’s event occurred in mid-June.

“We tried Father’s Day weekend and it didn’t quite get the attendance we were hoping for,” said Kochurka. “So we’re trying to reinvent ourselves.”

The festival will now take place on Friday, September 15 through Sunday, September 17 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton.

Korchurka said September is a better month for booking bands and is excited for the potential that a new time frame could bring.  In addition to live music, the carnival part of the festival will definitely return as well.  He encourages people to periodically check the Ribfest website for more information as the Exchange Club continues to solidify its plans.

Second year at fairgrounds

This will be the event’s second year at the fairgrounds.   Last year’s Ribfest was the first and also saw two last-minute concert cancellations, including headliner Toby Keith, who had to pull back because of his battle with cancer. Kochurka said this was the first time in more than 30 years that a major band had canceled.  While they will be discussing a contingency plan moving forward, he says he wants to remain optimistic about the future instead of looking at the past.

“I’m excited to bring Ribfest 2023,” he told NCTV17.  “We look forward to seeing many people attending as we try to raise money for charities.”

The Exchange Club of Naperville plans and runs the event.  Proceeds benefit charities that help victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

The event had long been held in Naperville, making its home in Knoch Park for more than 30 years. But in 2019, organizers announced they would be moving the event due to redevelopment planned for Knoch Park. The plan had been to move to Romeoville, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to be canceled in both 2020 and 2021.

More than 35 years of service

The Exchange Club has raised more than $18-million for dozens of charities since its inception in 1987.  In addition to the multi-day Ribfest, the club also hosts a number of other events, including:

  • Naperville’s September 11th Remembrance Ceremony
  • Annual Adopt a Family Holiday Program
  • Annual Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year Recognition
  • National Day of Service
  • Winter Coat Project, School Supply Project, Summer Lunch Project
  • Keeping Kids Safe Program
  • Happy Days Project for Seniors
  • Time Out Teddys
  • Scholarship and Citizenship Awards

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you.