The Exchange Club of Naperville brings Ribfest back to Wheaton this weekend

People in line at a Ribfest vendor.
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The Exchange Club of Naperville is hosting its 34th annual Ribfest at the DuPage Event Center and Fairgrounds in Wheaton from September 15 to 17.

What to know about this year’s Ribfest

The event is returning to the fairgrounds for its second year, this time later than its usual mid-summer time slot.

“It’s just how our entertainment fell and how we had to plan it this year and then what was available at the fairgrounds,” said Diane Simmons, the Entertainment Chair of Ribfest. “It still could go back to that date but for this year, we moved it to a fall event.” 

But guests can still expect the same activities from previous years with ribs, expos, and a family fun area to enjoy. This year there will be a $5 fee to gain admission to the festival itself. 

Eight rib vendors out at the event

The main food draw for the event is its very namesake.

“So it is Ribfest, so we’ll have eight rib vendors out at the event, as well as other local vendors that will have other [food like] sandwiches and things like that, but our main focus is the ribs,” said Simmons. 

There will be treats as well, with fair-like funnel cakes, Dippin’ Dots, and Nothing Bundt Cakes on hand. 

Who is performing this year?

Apart from the ribs, the event is also known for its musical performances.

This year, Third Eye Blind will headline night one of Ribfest. The rock band is known for hits like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going To Be,” and “Jumper.”

The second night will shift from rock to country with headlining artist Phil Vassar, known for songs like “Just Another Day in Paradise,” “Carlene,” and “Six-Pack Summer.” Alexandra Kay and The Hillbilly Rockstarz will also perform, opening the night.

Simmons said the final night of Ribfest will feature local bands performing throughout the day including Danhattans, OMT, and Superchair Band.

A separate concert ticket is required to enter the concert area, with the Ribfest admission fee included with the price of the concert ticket. The final day’s performances do not require a concert ticket.

Family entertainment

Children will also have events to enjoy in the Wintrust Community Banks Family Area which will have magicians, performers from the School of Rock, inflatables, and other family-fun activities.  

About The Exchange Club of Naperville

The Exchange Club of Naperville holds Ribfest as a fundraiser to help in their mission to fight child abuse and domestic violence. To date, they’ve raised more than $25 million through the event.

Ribfest was a more than 30-year tradition in Naperville and was held in Knoch Park for all but the first year. Remodeling at the park forced the event to change locations in 2020, with plans to move to Romeoville, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to cancel that year, and the next.

It returned in 2022 to its new home at the DuPage County fairgrounds.

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