PrairieFest, the area’s popular community festival is back this weekend, June 16-19. The fest combines small town charm with a stirring summer celebration over Father’s Day weekend.
Free concerts from a mix of national and local bands, along with entertaining performances have always been a highlight of the weekend, and this year’s lineup is sure not to disappoint. Partnered with free parking and free admission, PrairieFest has kicked off the summer since 1989.
The circus comes to town this year with the RockNCircus. PrairieFest will see four days of exciting shows led by Circus Shane Hansen. Festival guests will witness juggling, magic, trampoline skills, cube spinning, fire and a death-defying 65-foot high dive!
Thursday’s celebration begins with the impressive vocal choirs of local high schools and highlights more local musicians with the PrairieWinds Community Concert, a PrairieFest tradition for musicians in our area. Anyone interested in joining the community band can contact Stevan Rexroat at email@example.com. These terrific performances will serve as a great lead in to the Thursday night band, Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press. Chicagoland’s favorite party band combine excellent musicianship, bone-crushing 3-part vocal harmonies, and a contagious stage energy that will keep the crowd singing and dancing.
Local band Acoustic Deficit Disorder will open up Friday, June 17. After, there is a planned International Pop Overthrow with Material Issue. Guests can hear this Chicago band’s 90’s hits “Valerie Loves Me”, “Diane”, “What Girls Want” and “Kim the Waitress”. Friday night caps off with The Smithereens playing “A Girl Like You”, “Blood and Roses”, and “Only a Memory”. They will take the stage with special guest Marshall Crenshaw “Someday, Someway”.
With the help of generous business partners, PrairieFest continues to offer outstanding entertainment for Saturday. Millington, Illinois’s own Woody James will open the day with his band Carolina Pine. Yorkville’s Ethan Bell Band will be a rousing lead in for the night’s big act. On Saturday, June 18, Phil Vassar will perform for the PrairieFest crowd. Vassar made the charts with hits like “Carlene”, “Just Another Day in Paradise”, and “That’s When I Love You”. He also penned number-one hits for some of the most popular country artists: Collin Raye (“Little Red Rodeo”), Jo Dee Messina (“Bye, Bye” and “I’m Alright”), Tim McGraw (“My Next Thirty Years” and “For A Little While”). PrairieFest Park will be the place to be to hear his 20 years of country hits, 10 #1 singles and 27 top 40 songs.
There is no stopping on Father’s Day, June 19. The day will begin with the PrairieFest 5K and Prairie Dog Jog. The PrairieFest parade steps off at 1pm and will entertain thousands along Oswego’s Main Street. The last band of the weekend will not disappoint with American English, the seminal Beatles tribute band playing the park on Father’s Day at 4pm.
Throughout PrairieFest there are activities and events for everyone. MeToo@PrairieFest, an inclusive event for families who would enjoy the carnival with modifications will be Thursday, June 16 from 3-5pm. Friday begins as a great day for kiddos with the Wheels Go Round Touch a Truck event from 10am – Noon and the Friday Family Concert featuring Chicago Children’s entertainers Wendy & DB. That evening at 4:00 begins the PrairieFest Hot Ones with Gindo’s Spice of Life. Festival guests can see just how hot they like their locally made hot sauces.
Fun for everyone continues Saturday with the Cotton Candy eating contest. At 12:30, PrairieFest invites guests to take a couple minutes to learn Anytime CPR with the American Heart Association and the Oswego Fire Protection District. For 3966 seconds, they will be training anyone for free. This time represents the 3966 heart-related deaths that will happen over a four day weekend in the United States. Saturday night is also PrairieFest’s BandSlam where up and coming musical acts take the Family Tent stage to show their stuff.
PrairieFest weekend is always entertaining and this year’s schedule delivers on the tradition again. Those looking to donate blood at the PrairieFest Blood drive, rescue a dog at the Prairie Paws Pet Adoption event, market their wares at the PrairieFest Expo Village, or march in the parade are encouraged to contact festival director Kristie Vest at (630) 554-4425 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also get the latest festival information at www.prairiefest.com. See you at the Fest!
Thursday, June 16
- MeToo@PrairieFest Special Needs Carnival
- Prairie Winds Community Band Concert
- PrairieFest Princesses and Pirates
- Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press, PrairieFest Main Stage
Friday, June 17
- Wheels Go Round Touch a Truck event
- Selfie Spot Community Booth Night
- Acoustic Deficit Disorder, Material Issue, and Smithereens with special guest Marshall Crenshaw, PrairieFest Main Stage
Saturday, June 18
- Fishing Clinic at Chesterfield Park
- Sip & Savor PrairieFest Gastropub
- Bandslam, Youth band open mic night
- Carolina Pine with Woody James, Ethan Bell Band, and Phil Vassar, PrairieFest Main Stage
Sunday, June 19
- PrairieFest 5K and One Mile Prairie Dog Jog, Prairie Point Center
- PrairieFest Parade
- PrairieFest Car Show, PrairieFest Park
- American English, PrairieFest Main Stage
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
- RockNCircus Show
- PrairieFest Expo Village
- Pony Rides
- Petting Zoo
- Windy City Amusements Carnival
- Quilt Show, Little White School Museum