McHenry Area Rotary's Blues, Brews & BBQ kicks off Aug. 19

Blues, Brews & BBQ brings its signature live music, craft beers and barbecue to Petersen Park in McHenry Aug. 19-21.

The McHenry Area Rotary's biggest fundraising event of the year, the fest will open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, with perennial favorite John Todd and his band taking the stage at 5 p.m. At 8 p.m., it's on to Jimmy Nick's adrenaline-fueling style and sounds.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, gates open at 3:30 p.m. Up first will be Delmark recording artists Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire. After enjoying her contemporary, soulful sounds, attendees will greet the Led Zeppelin tribute band Kashmir followed by Hot Rocks, whose members will perform the Rolling Stones' most blues-influenced numbers and more.

On Sunday, gates open at noon and music starts at 1 p.m. with Delta Rising. At 3 p.m., Chicago Blues Hall of Famer Mike Wheeler and his band take the stage.

Cost to attend is $10 daily for tickets purchased by Wednesday, Aug. 17, or $15 at the gate. A three-day pass is available for $20 by Aug. 17, or $25 at the gate. VIP passes are available for $100 each, and include entry to the VIP tent where light fare will be served, as well as six drink tickets that can be used in the VIP bar area. Visit by Aug. 17 to take advantage of discounts.

As the fest's name suggests, there's more to Blues, Brews & BBQ than stellar music. The fest features an impressive array of craft beers, hard seltzers, wines, Twisted Tea and more. Drink tickets will be $4 each or six for $20. Domestic beer will cost one ticket; craft beers and other alcoholic beverages will cost two. Numerous soft drinks also will be available.

And when it comes to barbecue, it's hard to beat this fest, said Denis Buch, who co-chairs the event along with fellow Rotarian Don Tonyan.

"We will have several barbecue vendors on-site this year, each with its own special flair," Buch said. "We've also got Dr. Vegetable, some Mexican offerings, sweets, savory sandwiches - people will not go hungry."

With $63,415 in grants provided since Blues, Brews & BBQ 2021, McHenry Area Rotary club leaders hope the Aug. 19-21 event will replenish the club's coffers while also planting smiles on fest-goers' faces.

Tonyan and Mark Adams are president-elect and president of the McHenry Area Rotary, respectively. Both said they hope for a great turnout.

"Blues, Brews & BBQ has always been a lot of fun," said Tonyan. "But really, it's much more than that. It brings the community together both during and after the fest, when you think about it."

Some of the funds raised go toward endeavors like the club's Secret Santa program and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, both of which foster the concept of looking out for one another, Tonyan, Adams and Buch said. This year, tip jars will be located throughout the fest grounds to raise money toward sending 18 youths from McHenry, Johnsburg and Marian Central Catholic high schools to an upcoming RYLA conference.

Raffles also will take place at the fest. Prizes include a new, stainless steel Weber gas grill worth $700 donated by Laskowski Ace Hardware and Ride n' Shine Car Wash, both of McHenry, along with $75 worth of rubs, sauces and spices from 3-zero-1 Boys BBQ Supply in Johnsburg.

Another raffle prize will be a golf foursomes package containing certificates good at McHenry, Boone Creek, Chapel Hill and Bull Valley golf courses. Raffle tickets will cost $1 apiece or six for $5.

Members of the McHenry Area Rotary Club meet regularly at noon Thursdays at Buddyz Pizzeria on Green Street, McHenry. Anyone interested is welcome to attend, but due to fest preparations, there will be no meeting Aug. 18. For general club information, send an email to

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