Pride of the Fox fest comes to St. Charles
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2012 11:16AM
Pride of the Fox RiverFest
♦ June 8-10
♦ Downtown St. Charles
♦ (630) 444-7460
Updated: June 7, 2012 3:18PM
The Pride of the Fox RiverFest is going to the dogs.
The unofficial kickoff of summer in St. Charles, RiverFest is bringing DockDogs to the fest in honor of the fest’s 30th anniversary.
The fest originally started as a celebration of the canoe races 30 years ago. Now, it’s a three-day event that takes place at nine locations in downtown St. Charles June 8 to 10. This year, organizers wanted to do something special. So they brought in the dogs.
DockDogs, as seen on Animal Planet and ESPN, features dock jumping and dock diving by dogs. It will take place at Plaza Green. The dogs will perform throughout the festival, presenting the Big Air Wave competition, an Extreme Vertical and a Speed Retrieve competition.
“It is a competitive, world-wide sport for competitors and their human companions,” said organizer Julie Farris.
That’s not the only show-stopper they’ve got planned.
“We also have a professional barbecue competition,” she said. “A Kansas City Barbecue Society barbecue competition. We’re bringing in competitors from around the country. We have professionals that will be competing on Friday and Saturday, and then on Sunday we have amateur and kid’s barbecue day.”
The cook-off is titled Firin’ up the Fox.
“We became a championship race,” she said. “We’re sold out. We have a waiting list. We’re really happy with that. We wanted to make sure that we went all-out to celebrate our birthday.”
Other activities include the Voice of St. Charles, an all-age singing competition; a Battle of the Bands, a carnival, a car show and a craft show.
“We also have the Kane County SWAT team back again,” she said. “This year, they’re going to do a water assault. They are going to tie off on top of Harris Bank and put a rappel line over the river and have a boat in the river, and they’re going to be dropping down into the boat doing a live water rescue.”
Another way they are celebrating the 30th anniversary is with a hand-built, custom-made electric guitar, she said. A St. Charles artist painted it, and it will be raffled off on the main stage Sunday night. Tickets cost $10.
“And we’re bringing back all of our traditions. RiverFest being 30 years old, we are about traditions,” she said.
That includes dragon boat races Saturday and Sunday (teams have been practicing all week), and a 40-pound sculpture that is going to be created live.
“And the last thing we’re known for is our stage,” she said. “We bring incredible music groups to our stage. This year we decided we were going to bring it back local. Our music committee worked really hard to find some of the best local acts. So we’re proud to say even Sunday night, all our groups are celebrating St. Charles.”
Leslie Hunt from “American Idol” will make an appearance, Billy Croft and the 5-Alarm, Dirty Dan’s Cool Rockin’ Daddies are all performing, and are all hometown kids.
Other acts include Printer’s Row (winner of the 2011 Battle of the Bands), Soda, Infinity, The Homewreckers and Libido Funk Circus.
Other entertainment includes returning favorites the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team performing at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Pottawatomie Park.
They also have an authentic vaudeville act, she said.
“Dan Barth brings his old-time vaudeville stage coach and does a whole act on top of his stagecoach,” she said. “His show has actually been featured in the Smithsonian. He does ventriloquism and magic tricks, and it’s a very interactive show for the family.”
The three-day craft show is along the Fox River and will have about 70 crafters. Expect to see woodworking, art, jewelry and other handmade items, she said.
RiverFest is dog-friendly everywhere except by the main stage, she said.
“We really believe this is going to be a two-day festival,” Farris said. “Meaning, you’re going to need two days to get through all nine venues and enjoy and experience everything we have to offer.”