Harvest Fest returns with a bounty of fall fun to Downers Grove

  • Downers Grove Harvest Fest offers free fun for the whole family on Saturday, Sept. 29.

    Downers Grove Harvest Fest offers free fun for the whole family on Saturday, Sept. 29. Courtesy of Heidi Gibbons

Submitted by Dawn Hartman
Updated 9/21/2018 8:12 PM

The annual Harvest Fest celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Fishel Park, 1036 Grove St. in Downers Grove.

The free family-friendly event will include live musical entertainment, a handmade craft fair, children's area, a pie-eating contest, food vendors, adult beverages and a bags area, sponsored by Alter Brewing Company.


The day will kick off at 7:30 a.m. with the DG 5&8 Miler, a competitive running event celebrating 41 years of racing tradition.

The DG 5&8 Miler features a challenging, scenic course that runs through the rolling residential streets of Downers Grove.

Racers will have two hours to complete the 5- or 8-mile course options both starting at the Lincoln Center at 7:30 a.m. and finishing at Fishel Park by 9:30 a.m.

Both routes are CARA- and USATF-certified.

The 5-mile fee is $50 and the 8-mile fee is $60 through 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

CARA members receive discounted registration. Day-of registration will be available from 6:15 to 7:15 a.m. at the Lincoln Center. The chip-timed race will have a gear check, four water stations and an awards ceremony to celebrate the overall male/female of each race plus the first-place male and female of seven different age divisions!

The course map, race information and online registration is available at dgparks.org.

Michelle Varys, DG 5&8 Miler race coordinator, looks forward to providing racers with awesome perks this fall. "In addition to receiving a long-sleeve tech shirt, the first 500 registered racers will receive a unique racer medal and a beverage ticket to Harvest Fest. This race is a great opportunity for those racers preparing for the Chicago Marathon."

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Harvest Fest's autumn festivities will begin following the race. Food vendors will include Robinson's No. 1 Ribs, Fancy Fajita, Da Pizza Dude, Well's Street Popcorn and Every Day's a Sundae.

Adult beverages crafted by Alter Brewing Company, Oktoberfest favorites Spaten and Hofbräu and CiderBoys bottled cider will be available for purchase. Adult beverage tickets are $6 each, ID is required for all ages 21 and up.

Bands will take to the stage featuring rock n' roll oldies with The Rockin' Fenderskirts from 10 to 11:30 a.m., country to hip-hop with The Ethan Bell Band from 1 to 3 p.m. and 1980s rock hits with Hi Infidelity from 5 to 7 p.m.

DJ Coach Josh will spin tunes throughout the day as well.

Kids can burn off energy in the Children's Area open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free activities will include crafts, inflatables, face painting, airbrushed tattoos and games.


Shop handmade goods at the Handmade Craft Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The craft fair will feature 15 vendors selling jewelry and accessories, fiber art, wearables, home décor and more.

Adults and kids ages 6 and up can chow down and compete in the Pie-eating Contest at 3 p.m. It's free to enter and registration will be taken before the contest.

Dave Haring, director of recreation, is thrilled that the park district can provide this fun festival to the community this fall.

"Harvest Fest offers activities and entertainment for all ages," Haring said. "It's a perfect opportunity for families and friends to enjoy a fun day outdoors!"

Volunteer support is needed for Harvest Fest and the DG 5&8 Miler. This is an awesome opportunity for students looking for volunteer credits or for those looking for a fun way to give back to the community!

To volunteer, call Brian DeWolf at (630) 960-7468 or email at bdewolf@dgparks.org.

The Downers Grove Park District gives a special thank you to our 2018 sponsors: Alter Brewing Company, Athletico Physical Therapy, Bank Financial, First Student, Community Bank of Downers Grove, The Grove Foundation, Orange Theory Fitness, Trader Joe's, St. Joseph's School, Driscoll & Crisp Team, Fresh Thyme, Chick-fil-A, Floor Coverings International, Chiro One, Dr. Victoria Koenig, Community Christian Church and 4500 Fitness.

To learn more about Harvest Fest, visit www.dgparks.org.

About Downers Grove Park District

The Downers Grove Park District is dedicated to providing a wide variety of year-round recreation programs, facilities, parks, open space and natural areas that respond to the articulated needs and desires of residents. For more information, call (630) 963-1300, or visit www.dgparks.org.

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