Ribfest canceled in what would have been its first year in Romeoville
The Exchange Club of Naperville, organizers of the 33rd annual Ribfest, announced Sunday that the July festival would be canceled amid health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival had previously been held in Naperville but was scheduled to be in south suburban Romeoville July 2 through 5.
Organizers have spent the past few months in situation analysis and discussion, in order to assess the current climate for summer festivals, they said in a statement Sunday. 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.
"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, chair 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."
For the first time, the festival was to be held in Deer Crossing Park. Romeoville and exchange club officials have begun "optimistic planning" for 2021.
"We look forward to hosting Ribfest in Romeoville come 2021," Romeoville Mayor John Noak said. "We continue to have a strong partnership with the Exchange Club of Naperville and will continue to support its mission."
Festival organizers are considering options regarding musical acts for the 2021 festival and will announce developments at a later date.
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.