For the last 24 years, every summer a different Ribfest has been set up to raise awareness and funds to help prevent child abuse and domestic violence.
With just 10 days until the gates to 2012 Ribfest open at 4PM, Fri., June 29, the Naperville City Council took a little time to put the spotlight on the first 25 events at its recent meeting.
Representatives from the Exchange Club of Naperville joined Exchange Club President Walter Johnson to accept the Mayor’s Proclamation as the 25-year-old service club was recognized for its success and Ribfest’s impact on the community.
To watch the entire Awards and Recognition presentation at the June 19, 2012, City Council Meeting—where Councilman Doug Krause also honored Little Friends’ CEO Jack Ryan and the DuPage Children’s Museum—visit the streaming video online on the City’s Web site.
In PN’s recollection, back when the club was first organizing and chartered in 1987, an idea for a rib festival surfaced when Glen Ekey was the Executive Director of the Naperville Park District. Over on the City Council, Margaret “Peg” Price was Mayor. At the time, the Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling held on Labor Day Weekend was the city’s only major festival, in place since the mid-1960s.
“The Park District had been looking for a service organization to help sponsor a summer festival featuring a competition of barbecue rib vendors,” said Ekey in an interview back in 2002 for a Ribfest story in the July issue of Positively Naperville.
Ekey had learned about barbecue competitions from a ribber named Billy Bones while visiting Midland, Michigan. The newly formed Exchange Club seemed like the natural choice in a service club, so Ekey sought to create the cooperative team that also included the City of Naperville.
Long story short, the Exchange Club partnered with the Park District and the City, and the rest is history.
And ever since that first Ribfest on Father’s Day weekend in 1988 over at Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk (13 years before Moser Tower!), the event featuring some of the best ribbers in the world has contributed to the successful fundraising efforts of the Exchange Club of Naperville. Imagine the impact of $12 million dollars on local social service agencies, thanks to Exchange Club ingenuity and thousands of volunteers.
For a little Ribfest history, find thoughts and photos of Ribfest’s past at ribfestnostalgia (We regret some hyperlinks on this archived page are dislodged)
2012 Ribfest! June 29-July 3
Be sure to become acquainted with remote parking and shuttle buses for the five-day family-friendly event that runs June 29-July3 in Knoch Park. The annual spectacular fireworks display sponsored, in part, by the City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District, begins at dusk on July 3.
For everything you need to know about 2012 Ribfest—the concerts, the family area, the amusements and rides, the vendors, the EXPO, the live entertainment line-up, the rib judging, the rules— visit www.ribfest.net. For remaining volunteer shifts, visit Volunteer-sign-up.
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