Organizers of Naperville's annual Ribfest celebration will reach out to a specific cultural group for the first time this year when they sponsor Hispanic Day on Saturday, July 5.
The smaller of two stages will feature Latino music from noon to 10 p.m.; the Geneva Mexican restaurant Sergio's Cantina will be added to the usual list of rib vendors; and announcements will be made in Spanish as well as English throughout the day.
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It's all part of an effort to welcome and embrace Hispanics at the festival, said Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, who has been working with the Naperville Exchange Club to create and promote the first Hispanic Day or "El Dia de los Hispanos."
"This is a major step in Ribfest because they've never done anything like this for any other culture, but they want to do this to embrace the Hispanic community," Camacho-Ruiz said. "It's a huge testament to how they really care about the community."
The first Hispanic Day will take place on the third day of Ribfest, which this year runs July 3 through 6 in Knoch Park near downtown Naperville. Carnival rides, traveling rib vendors and free family attractions from Disney and the Chicago White Sox, as well as a petting zoo, inflatables, reptile shows and magic acts will be part of the fun for Hispanic families and anyone else who attends.
Admission is $10 for adults at the gate and children younger than 11 are free. Between noon and 3 p.m., the festival will offer family specials including unlimited carnival ride passes for $10 and pulled pork sandwiches for $5.
"This is creating more of a spotlight to embrace the Hispanic community and recognize the importance of doing something for them," Camacho-Ruiz said.
Bands to perform on the stage dedicated to Latino entertainment are led by headliner Del Castillo and also include Viaje, La Obra, Rio Bamba and Contrabanda Live.
Ribfest organizers wanted to create a Hispanic Day because they had been noticing increasing Hispanic attendance at the festival, which draws about 250,000 visitors a year. Organizers connected with Camacho-Ruiz for help because she runs JJR Marketing, a public relations firm that has helped companies such as Time Warner Cable and Abbott reach the Hispanic market.
Camacho-Ruiz helped translate materials promoting the festivities and put together a Spanish webpage. For details about Hispanic Day at Ribfest, visit ribfest.net/hispanicday.