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Rib & beer fests on tap this weekend in Elgin

A scene from Elgin's 2007 Ribfest. After five-year absence event is back without city sponsorship put by manager b7th Heaven.

A scene from Elgin's 2007 Ribfest. After a five-year absence, the event is back without city sponsorship and put on by the manager of the band 7th Heaven. Submitted photo

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Updated: July 15, 2013 6:53PM

ELGIN — It being Father’s Day weekend, plenty of beer and ribs will be consumed across the country. Elgin will be no exception, with two fests being held for fans of brews and pork.

On Friday and Saturday, Festival Park downtown near the Grand Victoria Casino is set to host Elgin Ribfest (

The event used to be called Brewfest, which in its original incarnation was put together by Mike Origer, former owner of the now-closed Prairie Rock Brewing Company downtown and benefactor of the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin.

Origer no longer is involved with the event but has been working with Richie Hofherr who manages 7th Heaven, the band that will headline Saturday night. Hofherr has worked with Origer over the past few years to transition the fest. The name change comes from no microbreweries being involved in the proceedings now and the hope to make the gathering a family-oriented event.

According to a press release for the event, all of the $5 admission fee will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin. That admission fee will be waived for all law enforcement and fire protection employees.

The release states that Ribfest is the first major project for the Global Hands Project, a newly formed nonprofit organization producing local events to bring global awareness for various charitable causes. That organization is working with NTD Events, the company overseeing the event.

“This weekend’s vendors will include ribs and barbecue, with the goal of growing it next year to support a more extensive rib contest,” the release states.

The offerings this weekend will include ribs from just three vendors. Of course, Elgin fest-goers may recall that some locals — under the name Outside Exhibition Group — used to hold a homegrown ribfest and wound up working with the city on the project.

“The last year we hosted the event was 2008. It was cut like many other events from the 2009 budget due to the recession,” Elgin Special Events & Community Engagement Coordinator Barb Keselica said. The event this time has no city sponsorship money involved in running it.

The release states, “Ribfest will feature live music, a variety of local food establishments, beer and non-alcoholic drink tents, games, professional face painting and airbrush tattoos, local artisans and vendors, and more. The layout of the event has also changed to include more covered seating providing space for attendees to gather and enjoy the evening.”

Friday’s live music lineup includes Rumor Hazit, Chasing Alice, and Hi Infidelity. Serendipity, Friction, and 7th Heaven will close the festival on Saturday night. In addition, arrangements have been made to show the broadcast of the second game of the Stanley Cup series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Elgin Public House downtown will host its third-annual Beer Fest.

According to the EPH website, breweries scheduled to attend are Oskar Blues, Two Brothers, Goose Island, New Belgium, Anchor, Left Hand, Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, Revolution, Hopothesis, Lagunitas, Sam Adams, Lakefront, Stone, and Dog Fish Head.


A silver level package is $25 in advance and $30 the day of Beer Fest and includes 10 sampling tickets, prizes and giveaways. Gold-level tickets are $40 and include the silver deal plus access to a VIP area for featured times with Lagunitas, Lakefront, and Goose Island with other tickets for craft and premium-level samples.

A platinum package for $75 holds the same as the gold plus access to featured times with Lagunitas, Lakefront and Goose Island as well as access to a three-course food and beer pairing with Two Brothers and unlimited beer samples at the craft or premium levels.

More information is on the EPH Facebook page or

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