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Tips and FAQs

Naperville Ribfest Tips & FAQ

No Pets are allowed at Ribfest.

No outside coolers may be brought into Ribfest. No outside food or beverages (with the exception of factory sealed water bottles or baby formula) can be brought inside the park.

View below for any question you may have, or Contact Us.

Q. What happens when the park closes due to crowd capacity?
A. The decision to close the gates of Ribfest due to crowd density is the decision of the City of Naperville Police Department in concert with Ribfest leadership. Their decision to close for public safety is based on the ability of people to get out of the park in case of emergency. Crowd density is determined by examination of the flow of people primarily by the stage. If the walkways remain open and clear and people can move around, the city will keep our gates open. Once the gates are closed, no one is allowed in once they leave Ribfest.

Park Closing details can be received by signing up on Twitter – @Ribfest_NXC

Q. Does the park close if it rains?
A. No, Ribfest will remain open if it rains but close temporarily during periods of lightning. Ribfest works with the Local emergency Management Weather team to monitor the weather approaching Ribfest. Ribfest will temporarily close during any period where lightning is present. All guests will be asked to leave the park at that time. When the lightning is safely past the park, Ribfest will re-open.

Guests can also listen to FM 95.9 The River for updates on weather and gate reopening. Park Closing details can also be received by signing up on Twitter – @Ribfest_NXC.

You can also listen to WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM, B96, KHiTS 104.3, 93XRT, US99.5, and The Score 670 for information about Ribfest reopening of its gates. Make sure you have your hand stamped before you leave Ribfest so that you can re-enter once Ribfest opens again.

Q. I can’t find a parking place. What should I do?
A. Parking is an issue at Ribfest. Ribfest encourages our guests to park in one of our remote parking lots and take one of the free shuttleRibfest provides.

Q. Where is the best place at Ribfest to watch the fireworks presented by Meijer?
A. There are very few bad locations at Ribfest to watch the fireworks presented by Meijer but spaces are quickly taken so we suggest coming to Ribfest early to get a good spot.

Q. What do you suggest a family bring for a day at Ribfest?
A. Summertime in Naperville can be quite sunny and warm. Ribfest suggests that you bring sun tan lotion and sungalsses. The dining tents provide shady tents to eat and rest. Wear good shoes because Ribfest is around 20 acres in size and almost all of it is on grass. All of the rides and events in the Ribfest Family Area are free with your gate admission, but you might want to bring some extra money for food and beverages and the Carnival Area rides. Most of all, bring patience and have fun.

Q. Who puts on Ribfest and Why?
A. Ribfest is put on by the Exchange Club of Naperville to raise funds to help fight child abuse, domestic violence and to strengthen families in our local communities. We are proud to say in over 26 years we have contributed over $13M back to our community to support this effort.

Q. I think I left something at Ribfest. How do I retrieve it? Lost & Found
A. For any Lost and Found – please stop by the barn at 421 W. Martin just inside the park on Martin during the event. After the event check the Naperville Park District office at Mill and Jackson for any remaining items.

Q. What if I get separated from my child? What is Child ID?
A. Ribfest provides child identification inside each of the three main gates at Ribfest. Child registration ensures that if your child is separated from you that we can quickly locate both parent and child.

If your child gets lost, immediately contact the nearest police officer or Ribfest representative and provide them with a detailed description of your child– clothing, age, name, last location etc.

Special Events

  • Championship rounds of the Miller Lite Bags Tournament - Saturday and Sunday, July 5th and 6th from 1:30-4:30pm at Ribfest. Click here for preliminary round information.

  • Blackhawks Street Crew at Ribfest, 2-6pm daily in the South Park.

  • Naperville's BEST fireworks show, July 4th at 9:30pm. Free public access entry starting at 7:30pm. Fireworks presented by Meijer.

  • Do some JOUSTING in the Family Area daily from 12noon - 8pm!

  • The Chicago White Sox are visiting Ribfest on Saturday, July 5th from 12-3pm. Visit the Family Area to meet players, attend free clinics, and win giveaways!

  • The championship rounds of the Miller Lite Bags Tournament will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 5th and 6th, from 1:30-4:30pm at Ribfest.Click here for preliminary round information.

  • Don't miss Balster Magic Kid Bucks and Magic Show - 3 shows daily!
    July 3 - 1:30, 3:00, 5:30
    July 4 - 1:30, 3:30, 5:30
    July 5 - 3:00, 5:30, 7:00
    July 6
    - 1:30, 3:30, 5:30

  • Check out the Radio Disney Kids Radio Show, broadcasting from the Ribber Row Stage Thursday, July 3 from 1:00-2:30pm!

  • Transform into a butterfly, clown, and more! Face painting daily from 1-3pm and 5-7pm at Erica’s Funny Faces in the Family Area.

  • Hold a snake! See a lizard! Visit the "Cold Blooded Creatures" Reptile Show on July 4th and July 6th from 4-5pm in the Family Area.

  • Soar on NEW HEIGHTS balloon twister from 1-3pm and 6-8pm daily in the Family Area.

  • See your favorite animals from 12noon-8pm daily in the Family Area at Miller Petting Zoo.

  • Zoom down the big slide in the Family Area, open from 12noon-8pm daily!

  • Challenge your friends to Laser Tag in the Family area from 12noon-8pm daily!

Music Stories


  • In 2013 Casey James went out into the merchandise tent to sign 100’s of autographs and get pictures taken with fans after his show.

  • In 2013 Rick Springfield performed a private back yard acoustic concert at a fan’s house in downtown Naperville before Ribfest.

  • In 2013 James Young of STYX purchased 100 tickets for his friends and family to be at Ribfest!

  • In 2012 the guitar signed by Steve Miller that is given to a local charityis actually a work of art. He decorated both the case and the guitar with multiple colored sharpies, penning out the names of his hits, drawing hearts and peace signs.

  • In 2011 during Bruce Hornsby’s show, members of the audience wrote down songs they wanted to hear, laid them on the stage…and he played several of them.

  • In 2010 Julianne Hough worked out at Edward Fitness Center the day of her show much to the delight of the club members.

  • In 2009 Huey Lewis celebrated his birthday onstage at Ribfest. The crowd sang Happy Birthday to him.

  • In 2008 Trace Adkinswas runner-up on the "Celebrity Apprentice" and released a huge hit “You’re Gonna Miss This” when he played Ribfest. As Trace left the stage on his way back to his dressing room, he noticed two young boys in wheelchairs in the middle of the crowd. He waded out into the crowd to meet the two.After getting his picture taken with them, he proceeded to sign autographs, shake hands, and hug every other fan.

  • In 2010 Charlie Daniels was so charming at Ribfest that when he was to do a meet and greet with sponsors before the show, he talked to every single person including the staff volunteers.

  • Elvin Bishop showed up with a bottle of his homemade hot sauce and jelly for the backstage crew. Brought out blues legend, Smokey Smothers for a surprise jam at Ribfest.

  • In 2005 Umphrey’s McGee travelled from Californiaat the last minute to perform a memorial show for Brian Schultz a long time sponsor of Ribfest who was killed in a car crash. The band had bag pipes on stage to play Amazing Grace and then played the AC/DC song “It’s A Long Way To Top If You Wanna Rock & Roll” complete with the bag pipe solo.

  • In 2005 Adrian Belew donated $5,000 of his fee back to the club because he was touched by the Ribfest cause!

  • In 2004 LynyrdSkynyrd’s famous Outlaws Motorcycle Club showed up with more than a 100 of their “personal security team” at Ribfest!

  • In 2002 Dave Mason showed up with deli trays for the entire Ribfest backstage crew.

  • In 2010 Los Lonely Boys played a free acoustic concert at Wentz Hall for hundreds of the kids we support. Afterward they let the kids onstage to try out guitars and drums. Each kid left with a signed pick or drumsticks and a day of memories.

  • In 2006 Trent Tomlinson, at the time, an up-and-coming country star that had the chart toppers "One Wing in the Fire", and "Country is My Rock”. After celebrating his birthday on stage, he then went to a local Naperville eatery and played for a few hundred local residents and friends, to continue his birthday celebration.

  • In 2003 members of Los Lobos came off stage after their encore performance with Dickie Betts (Allman Brothers Band) and running for their cell phones to call friends and family to tell them who they just played with on stage.

  • In 1998 Pat Benatarwent rollerblading in downtown Naperville and hung out at the Main Street Starbucks the afternoon of her show.

  • In 2001 Mark Farnerfrom Grand Funk Railroad (sold out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles) got a ride to Starbucks for coffee from a Ribfest staff member. Later that afternoon he acted as nursemaid to the same staff member with an ankle injury.

  • In 2010 Eric Burdon and the Animals just finished the show at Ribfest when a patron jumped the barrier and climbed on stage. An injured staff member got to the patron just before reaching Eric who was extremely grateful. The guy just wanted an aotograph, but you never know!