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Harvest Fest hopes to draw 3,000 attendees

A beer garden, live music, food, children’s activities and more will soon be at a Downers Grove park.

The second annual Harvest Fest—which is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 30, at Fishel Park—will welcome attendees with familiar attractions and new additions.

“We’re looking to have 3,000 [attendees] over the day if not more,” said Dawn Hartman, manger of marketing and creative development for Downers Grove Park District.

This year, admission to Harvest Fest is free to the community.

A new element added to the festival is the 40th annual DG 5 & 8 Miler. In years past, the race was typically hosted in June.

“The DG 5 & 8 Miler was moved to September to create a large community event in conjunction with Harvest Fest, in addition to being a training run for those runners participating in the Chicago Marathon, [which is] also celebrating [its] 40th anniversary,” Hartman said.

Hartman said the Park District hosts a lot of events in the summer and they wanted to have a “big bang” in the fall.

At 8:30 a.m. that morning, the race will begin at the Lincoln Center and end at Fishel Park.

Hartman said the racecourse goes through residential streets, and went on to say the Park District intends to provide a nice, scenic route for the runners.

Top finishers in the male and female divisions for the DG 5 & 8 Miler will receive a racer medal.

Proceeds raised through the race will go to offset costs for the Park District to host the festival.

Another new element added to Harvest Fest is the debut of the Park District’s Lyman Honey Wheat Ale crafted by Alter Brewing Company. Tastings will be available to those who visit the beer garden.

At 3 p.m., festivalgoers have the option to participate in the Chilympics. Groups will compete against one another to cook a chili recipe, while others sample their creations.

“They do have to cook the chili on site,” Hartman said. “People like to see it being made.”

Hartman said they’ve held the competition for many years, and hope to generate some more buzz.

“We’re hoping to have six to 10 competitors,” Hartman said. “There will be a category for them to be judged. There will be a People’s Choice award. [Attendees] will be able to vote online.”

For the winners in the Chilympics, cash prizes will be available to residential groups and plaques go to municipal groups.

Taking to the stage at 10:30 a.m. to provide live entertainment is Diva, followed by performances by Hillybilly Rockstarz at 1 p.m. and DJ Coach Josh at 3 p.m. Closing out the lineup at 5 p.m. is Modern Day Romeos.

Attendees will have a plethora of food options to try throughout the festival. There, vendors on hand include Robinson’s Ribs, Miner Mike’s Concessions, Cupcakes for Courage, Well’s Street Popcorn and Everyday’s A Sundae.

Other activities include the craft fair, pie eating contest, and bags tournament.

“We are also seeking volunteers for the race and Harvest Fest,” Hartman said.

To get involved, those interested can contact Brian DeWolf at

For a complete listing of the day’s festivities, go to

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