How will Naperville replace Ribfest? Two-day 'Naperville Salute'

  • A new Fourth of July festival in Naperville will allow residents to see fireworks in town.

    A new Fourth of July festival in Naperville will allow residents to see fireworks in town. Daily Herald file photo

  • Warren Dixon III

    Warren Dixon III

  • Herm Schneider

    Herm Schneider

Updated 11/8/2019 8:16 AM

Organizers of a new Fourth of July festival coming to Naperville next year in the absence of the long-running Ribfest say they're committed to creating a low-cost, community-centric event with a big fireworks bonanza.

Called The Naperville Salute, the event is in the works for Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, with local music, kids activities, a Taste of Naperville and fireworks worth waiting for, Co-Chairman Warren Dixon III said.


"We're going to up the ante on the fireworks show a little bit," Dixon said, calling the planned display "one of the largest Naperville has ever seen."

"It'll be the same length of time, but it'll be more extravagant," he said.

Volunteer leaders of the nonprofit Naperville Responds for Veterans formally announced the new event Thursday evening during the charity's annual gala, saying it aims to be a successful Naperville Fourth of July event first and a fundraiser second. Organizers anticipate the Salute will become an annual occasion.

Dixon, the Naperville Township assessor, is leading the planning effort along with Herm Schneider, head athletic trainer emeritus for the White Sox. Dixon said he believes the community has been looking for a more local event. "And we're committed to keep it low-cost and fun for everyone."

The festival will take place on Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk and across Aurora Avenue at the Naper Settlement.

The hill will become a concert stage for local acts that are yet to be announced. Admission is expected to be free or $5. If there is a charge, Dixon said, organizers are partnering with the Downtown Naperville Alliance, Naperville Development Partnership and Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce to offer tickets to customers who make purchases to support in-town businesses.

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"It's not a regional music festival anymore. It's a Naperville community event," Dixon said. "We're really looking to bring people back out from the neighborhoods."

The Naper Settlement grounds during the Salute will become the Taste of Naperville and a kids area with activities such as a zip line, Dixon said. Ten to 20 restaurants, coordinated by food and beverage chairman Anthony Losurdo, general manager of Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House in Naperville, are expected to join. Food prices are anticipated to be roughly $5 to $10.

Dixon said Salute organizers also are working with partners including the city of Naperville, Naperville Park District and Naperville Unit District 203 to minimize road closures and other disturbances.

Meanwhile, organizers of Ribfest with the Exchange Club of Naperville are partnering with the village of Romeoville to host their 32nd event at the Romeoville village hall and recreation center. The event moved because its longtime home, Knoch Park, is undergoing construction to build a new softball diamond and synthetic turf field.

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