Ribfest from above: Getting ready for Naperville event's 'Last Nights at Knoch'

  • Tables for Ribfest guests are placed in neat rows Tuesday at Knoch Park in Naperville, where the event is scheduled to take place for the final time before it must move next year. The 32nd annual fest, sponsored by the Naperville Exchange Club, begins at noon Wednesday and includes Fourth of July fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Tables for Ribfest guests are placed in neat rows Tuesday at Knoch Park in Naperville, where the event is scheduled to take place for the final time before it must move next year. The 32nd annual fest, sponsored by the Naperville Exchange Club, begins at noon Wednesday and includes Fourth of July fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The main stage is nearly ready Tuesday for Ribfest headliners Billy Idol, Flo Rida, Brantley Gilbert and Bad Company to perform Wednesday through Saturday at Knoch Park in Naperville.

    The main stage is nearly ready Tuesday for Ribfest headliners Billy Idol, Flo Rida, Brantley Gilbert and Bad Company to perform Wednesday through Saturday at Knoch Park in Naperville. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • A row of traveling rib vendors has set up in the southern portion of Knoch Park in Naperville, which is ready for the Exchange Club of Naperville's Ribfest to take place Wednesday through Saturday.

    A row of traveling rib vendors has set up in the southern portion of Knoch Park in Naperville, which is ready for the Exchange Club of Naperville's Ribfest to take place Wednesday through Saturday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/2/2019 5:03 PM

Gaze down on Knoch Park in Naperville from above and it's evident something big is about to take place.

It's the Exchange Club of Naperville's "Last Nights at Knoch," the name given to this year's Ribfest celebration, which is the finale before the event must move next year.

 

Red, white and blue balloons featuring sponsor advertisements are posted along one flank of the main stage in the park at 724 S. West St. Neat rows of tables form a pattern on much of the northern portion of the park. Lines of portable toilets, perimeters of fencing, padded-down pathways and medical tents marked with red crosses all are in place.

And on the south side of the park stands one of the festival's highlights, a row of 11 small white tents, each occupied by grills and smokers, trophies and banners -- all the trappings of a traveling rib vendor about to start hawking barbecue.

The 32nd annual Ribfest runs noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with proceeds benefiting charities that work to end child abuse and domestic violence. Headliners are Billy Idol, Flo Rida, Brantley Gilbert and Bad Company. Tickets are at ribfest.net.

But not all of the action will be in the barbecue booths or on stage.

Looking up also will bring Independence Day entertainment, with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, and a 20-minute flyover by the Naperville-based aerobatic team Lima Lima. The flight show is scheduled to take to the air about 7:10 p.m. between performances by KC & the Sunshine Band at 5 p.m. and Flo Rida at 7:30 p.m.

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