Naperville Ribfest reopens for 2nd time Thursday; fireworks scheduled for 10 PM

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- The see-saw continues at Naperville's Ribfest. Organizers announced via Facebook that the festival is back open around 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

Ribfest was temporarily closed twice on Thursday due to storms in the Naperville area.

Pitbull will take the stage at 8:30 and for fireworks to start at 10 p.m.

For the second straight day, Naperville's popular Ribfest was temporarily shut down because of the storms.

The event was temporarily shut down for the first time Thursday moments before strong thunderstorms and lightning hit just around 1:30 p.m. It reopened around 3 before closing again around 4:45 p.m.

As a part of their bad weather contingency plan, organizers sheltered festival goers in a high school across the street for their own safety.

"We want to you get on the shuttle and we want you to get back to your cars and go to Naperville Central, which is just across the street. We will open it up," said Ribfest Marketing Director Mary Howenstine.

A fast-moving storm with strong winds knocked down signs and stands at Ribfest in Naperville Thursday.

The heavy rains and high winds eventually passed, but did some damage to a few vendor tents and booths.

A fast-moving storm with strong winds knocked down signs and stands at Ribfest in Naperville Thursday.

Despite the weather, the ribs are still the highlight of this annual festival.

Newcomer Just North of Memphis BBQ of Tennessee hopes their dry rub ribs and their peach bread pudding will make them stand out.

And most agree that despite the competition, the real winners are the crowds of Ribfest attendees.

Organizers say that some of the local musical acts had to be canceled due to the weather delay.

The decades long event is a major fundraiser for the Exchange Club of Naperville, which has raised more than $16 million over 31 years and invested it back into the community to fight domestic violence and more.

But the real stars of this show are the ribs - no matter how they're served up.

"They come out here and they look at them and try to do it on their grills at home, but it's not quite that easy. We put them in a pit and they are smoked for about 4-and-a-half hours. The texture of the meat becomes firm, so you have a little tug on the bone when you bite into it," said Eric Gift with Pigfoot BBQ.

Ribfest runs through July 7 and there is lots to look forward to. For more online ticket and event information, visit

ABC7 is the media sponsor for Ribfest.
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