Above / Naperville Bank & Trust President Tom Miers and several family members were on hand to introduce Curly Hamilton, the 2017 Ribfest mascot. To help celebrate the first 30 years of Ribfest, Hamilton is sure to keep the four-day event moving forward with other appealing new attractions and sponsors to benefit fundraising for social services that help prevent child abuse and domestic violence.

What’s in a name for the 2017 Ribfest mascot revved up to bring good luck to all the activities a the 30th Ribfest? Just ask Julia Hannon who gave Curly the last name “Hamilton.”

When members of the Exchange Club of Naperville met for the Ribfest Mascot Reveal at Naperville Bank & Trust on Saturday morning, June 17, the public was introduced to “Curly Hamilton,” the prize-winning name for the porky piggy that will get kids squealing and hamming it up at Ribfest, June 30 through July 3 at Knoch Park.

“I chose the name Hamilton because of pigs and ‘ham,'” Julia Hannon explained, who submitted the chosen name. “And because Hamilton is a really unique play.”

For her successful submission to name the Ribfest mascot, every one of Julia’s classmates in Mrs. Fitzgerald’s 3rd grade at Brookdale Elementary School in Indian Prairie School District 204 will receive a pass to 2017 Ribfest, good for July 1, 2 or 3 with one accompanying adult guest, too.

Some brief background about the new mascot

Mayor Steve Chirico meets Hamilton.

For the first time in the 30-year history of Ribfest, this year’s event will feature an almost 7-ft. tall, guitar-strumming mascot, a good luck charm, if you will.

On May 1, the Ribfest Sponsorship Committee announced a competition to name its first-ever mascot. A graphic image was provided to welcome submissions from school-aged children to name its brand new mascot, temporarily named “Piggy.”

Entries were due May 23, then finalists were selected by the Ribfest Sponsorship Committee with the final selection voted on by the 145-strong Exchange Club membership.

Julia Hannon said her whole class cheered when the announcement was made over the school’s public address system that her submission of “Hamilton” had won the grand prize.

According to 2017 Ribfest Sponsorship Chairman Joel Carlsen, the piggy now recognized as Curly Hamilton comes with quite a character analysis, a distinguished biography, if you will. The mascot, Carlsen imagines, is a recently retired major in the military, affectionately known as “Major Ham.”

As the story goes, Hamilton was born on the 4th of July, 1988. Now 30, he’s is an elementary school teacher, Carlsen noted. Some of his favorite things include curly fries; the colors red, white and blue; band; football, The Beach; and baseball teams in Chicagoland, especially the one that won the World Series.

Above / Members of the Exchange Club of Naperville are set for 2017 Ribfest to begin its four-day run, June 30 to July 3. “The fireworks are July 3,” said Ribfest Chair Diane Simmons, center.


Dozens of curious onlookers, including Mayor Steve Chirico, stopped by the bank for a snack and a keepsake photo with Hamilton.

Outside the bank, some folks taught Hamilton how to take a selfie with a selfie stick.

After festivities at Naperville Bank & Trust, the party with the Ribfest mascot headed to Centennial Beach where a dip the old quarry would be hogwash.

And just what might ribbers call it if almost-4th graders play tug-of-war with Hamilton at Ribfest? Perhaps pulled pork.

Sponsored by Naperville Bank & Trust, Curly Hamilton is sure to keep Ribfest moving forward as will other generous sponsors that help heighten awareness and fundraising for the cause to prevent domestic violence.

For more information about volunteering, sponsorship opportunities and about everything at Ribfest, visit www.ribfest.net. Gates open at noon on Fri., June 30, and every day through July 3.