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Planned for Romeoville, Naperville’s Ribfest cancelled for July 4th weekend

Rex Robinson | 5/20/2020, 2:42 p.m.
The Exchange Club of Naperville, organizers of the 33rd annual Ribfest, has decided to cancel Ribfest, scheduled for the July ...

The Exchange Club of Naperville, organizers of the 33rd annual Ribfest, has decided to cancel Ribfest, scheduled for the July 4th weekend. This Ribfest event would have been the first year held in Romeoville.

In consideration of the current COVID-19 conditions and recent capacity restrictions mandated by the state, the Club has concluded that the health and safety of Ribfest attendees, volunteers, and entertainers cannot be guaranteed for such a large-scale public event, organizers said in a press release. “Therefore, the Exchange Club of Naperville, along with the Village of Romeoville, regretfully believes that Ribfest simply cannot go forward this year,” officials said.

“The charitable nature of this annual fundraising event allows us to provide vital funds to agencies that focus their activities on the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence in all forms,” said Bob Black, chairman of Ribfest. “As disappointed as we are not to have a 4th of July with Ribfest, after all this hard work, the greatest disappointment is the impact of not being able to raise funds through Ribfest this year for those deserving nonprofit organizations.”

This extremely difficult decision comes after much deliberation about any possibility of presenting the family fun, philanthropy, dining, and music that have become synonymous with “Ribfest” for thousands of attendees every year, Black added. The Exchange Club of Naperville, he said, was “pleased to partner with the Village of Romeoville in planning this first-ever Ribfest in Deer Crossing Park, and begin optimistic planning for 2021.”

“We look forward to hosting Ribfest in Romeoville come 2021” said Romeoville Mayor John Noak. “We continue to have a strong partnership with the Exchange Club of Naperville and will continue to support its mission.”

Organizers from the Exchange Club of Naperville said they are considering options regarding engaging musical entertainment acts for the 2021 festival, and will announce developments as they arise.

“I am very proud of the hard work that our Club has put in to create an exciting Ribfest at a new venue,” Exchange Club President Ron Amato said in the statement. “It’s unfortunate that we cannot move forward, especially for the local charities that our Club supports as part of its mission, but the health and safety of our attendees, volunteers, vendors, and Club members is paramount. We look forward to seeing everyone at Ribfest in 2021.”

Information regarding refunds will be made available shortly. Ticket holders will also be given the option of making a tax-deductible donation toward the Exchange Club of Naperville’s mission to prevent child abuse and domestic violence. Visit www.ribfest.net for Ribfest updates, donation opportunities, and membership information.