Harvest Fest Brings a Bounty of Fall Fun to Downers Grove

Tue September 19, 2017

The annual Harvest Fest celebration will be held from 9 am to 7 pm on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Fishel Park at 1036 Grove St. in Downers Grove. The free family-friendly event will include live musical entertainment, children’s activities, a craft fair, Chilympics chili cook-off, a bags tournament, a pie-eating contest, food trucks, adult beverages and more. The day will kick off at 8:30 am with the DG 5&8 Miler, a competitive running event celebrating 40 years of racing tradition.

The new and improved DG 5&8 Miler features a challenging, scenic course that runs through the rolling residential streets of Downers Grove. Racers can choose to compete in the established 5-mile course or the all-new 8-mile course both starting at the Lincoln Center and finishing at Fishel Park. Both routes are CARA- and USATF-certified. The 5-mile fee is $45 and the 8-mile fee is $55. CARA Members receive discounted registration. Online registration closes on Sept. 26. Day-of registration will be available from 7:30 to 8:30 am at the Lincoln Center. The course map, race information and online registration is available at dgparks.org.

Michelle Varys, DG 5&8 Miler race coordinator, looks forward to providing racers with new perks this fall. “In addition to receiving a long-sleeve tech shirt, the first 500 registered racers will receive a unique racer medal and a beverage ticket to Harvest Fest. We are thrilled to celebrate our 40th anniversary of the race and envision this event as a great opportunity for those racers preparing for the Chicago Marathon.”

Harvest Fest’s autumn festivities will begin following the race. Food trucks and vendors will include Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs, Miner Mike’s Concessions, Well’s Street Popcorn, Every Day’s a Sundae and Cupcakes for Courage. Adult beverages crafted by Alter Brewing Company will include Alterior Motive, Alto Porto and Center Line. Be sure to try Alter’s Lyman Honey Wheat Ale brewed with honey harvested at our very own Lyman Woods. Spaten, Hofbräu, Old Style and Point beers will be on tap and CiderBoys First Press, Cherry Jubilee and Cranberry Road bottled cider will be available for purchase. Adult beverage tickets are $6 each, ID is required for all ages 21 and up.

Bands will take to the stage featuring a tribute to the women of pop with DIVA from 10:30 am to noon, all your favorite country tunes with Hillbilly Rockstarz from 1 to 3 pm and a wide spectrum of timeless hits with Modern Day Romeos from 5 to 7 pm. DJ Coach Josh will spin tunes throughout the day as well.

Kids can burn off energy in the Pumpkin Patch Kid’s Area open from 9 am to 4 pm. Free activities will include mini pumpkin painting, inflatables, face painting, airbrushed tattoos and games as well as activities provided by the Downers Grove Public Library. Caricature drawings will be available for an additional fee.

Shop handmade goods at the Handmade Craft Market from 9 am to 3 pm. The craft fair will feature over 25 vendors selling jewelry and accessories, fiber art, wearables, home décor and more.

Show us your best recipe with the Chilympics Chili Cook-off! Enter yourself or a group to compete in this hot competition. Participants will prepare chili onsite to serve samples to our judges and the community to battle it out for the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice awards. Judging and sampling will take place at 3 pm. Sampling cups can be purchased for $1 each or 5 for $3.

For those who enjoy America’s favorite backyard lawn game, a Bags Tournament will begin at noon with the final match for the championship taking place at 3:45 pm. The double elimination tournament will feature cash prizes for the winning teams. All bags and boards will be provided. The tournament costs $25 per team. Players must be 18 years and above. Onsite registration ends at noon on Sept. 30.

Kids ages 6 to 14 can chow down and compete in the Pie-eating Contest at 3 pm. It’s free to enter and registration will be taken before the contest.

Jay Kelly, Director of Recreation, expects Harvest Fest to become a fall tradition in Downers Grove. “Harvest Fest offers the community a full gamut of fall activities to experience. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy!”

Volunteer support is needed for Harvest Fest and the DG 5&8 Miler. This is an awesome opportunity for students looking for volunteer credits or for those looking for a fun way to give back to the community! To volunteer, call Brian DeWolf at 630.960.7468 or email at bdewolf@dgparks.org. 

The Downers Grove Park District gives a special thank you Fresh Thyme Farmers Market of Downers Grove for their generous event sponsorship of Harvest Fest and the DG 5&8 Miler. Thank you to our race partners and logo sponsors: Alter Brewing Company, Bank Financial, Community Bank of Downers Grove, The Grove Foundation, Korwitts Chiropractic Center, BMO Harris Bank, Orange Theory Fitness, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs, First Student, Downers Grove Golf Club and 4500 Fitness. Thank you also to the Junior Woman’s Club of Downers Grove for volunteer support in the children’s area.