28th annual Ribfest kicks off in Naperville

John Garcia Image
Friday, July 3, 2015
Ribfest underway in Naperville
The grills are fired up and Naperville Ribfest is underway for the 28th year in a row.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A holiday tradition kicked off in west suburban Naperville on Thursday. The grills are fired up and Ribfest is underway for the 28th year in a row.

The competition is fierce at Naperville Ribfest, where Robinson's Ribs showcased their trophies from previous years outside their booth. Last year, first place went to Desperado's from Ohio.

"We got No. 1 right around the corner," said Charlie Robinson, Robinson's Ribs.

The four-day event draws hundreds of thousands of people every year and raises money for charity. Some come for the music, and others for the carnival, but the ribs that are the real draw. The rib competition will be held on Friday.

Some servicemen who are stationed in Naperville are attending their first Ribfest.

"It's pretty awesome," said Sgt. Ramon Harris, U.S. Marine Corps.

Mayor Steve Chirico is a Ribfest veteran, but this year he's one of the judges so he has to be impartial.

"I've been here so many years and have tried so many different times, and they are all good. It's just a great event," Mayor Chirico said.

But there's more than just ribs and rides at Ribfest. Paul Rodgers, the singer- songwriter who founded the rock band "Bad Company", performed Thursday night. The Grammy-nominated solo artist has been performing for five decades.

"Now I can sort of pick and choose where I go and who I play with and what I do. So we've put this really, I think it's a powerful rock and roll show together of all the songs that I've written, and I love doing it," Rodgers said.

For more information on Naperville Ribfest, visit: http://ribfest.net/.