Yorktoberfest returning to downtown Yorkville with food, craft beer and music

Event supports the Kiwanis Club of Yorkville’s scholarship program

Popular German band Fritz and the Pretzel Twists entertained crowds at Yorktoberfest Oct. 2 at Yorkville's Riverfront Park, with classic Oktoberfest songs and covers of popular tunes.

Those who attend this year’s Yorktoberfest will find plenty of food, craft beer, music and more.

“It’s basically an Octoberfest with a Yorkville twist.”

—  Jason Pesola, chairman of the Yorktoberfest committee and former president of the Kiwanis Club of Yorkville

The event, which will be held Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 at Riverfront Park East in downtown Yorkville, is put on by the Kiwanis Club of Yorkville. Yorktoberfest will take place from 4 to 10 p.m. Sept. 29 and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 30.

Admission is free.

“It’s basically an Octoberfest with a Yorkville twist,” said Jason Pesola, chairman of the Yorktoberfest committee and former president of the Kiwanis Club of Yorkville.

This is the sixth annual Yorktoberfest, which supports the club’s scholarship program. Last year, the club gave $22,500 in scholarships and created a $25,000 endowment fund.

“This year, we hope to have the endowment fund fully funded and give away as much as we can on top of whatever we raise this year,” Pesola said.

The number of people attending the event has grown every year. Last year, more than 5,000 people attended Yorktoberfest.

Yorktoberfest at one time had been held in the middle of October. But organizers decided to move up the date because of cold temperatures.

“It had gotten so cold that we decided for the rest of our lives, we’re going to have it in the last weekend of September as long as the Kiwanis Club was around,” Pesola said. “We also referred to the Farmer’s Almanac, and according to the Farmer’s Almanac, the last weekend of September has the lowest possibility of rain. This is a very weather-dependent event and last year, we literally had the most pristine, beautiful weather you could imagine.”

The Kiwanis Club of Yorkville relies heavily on volunteers to put on the event. The club has about 80 to 90 volunteers running the event.

The club still is looking for volunteers to help out this year. One does not have to belong to the club to volunteer their time.

This year’s event also will feature about 55 to 60 local craft vendors.

“That is going to go hand-in-hand with the Scarecrow Walk the city does for us,” Pesola said. “Yorktoberfest has become a great community event that all can participate in.”

Yorktoberfest also will feature the second annual Mary M. Ratos Memorial 5K. The race starts at 4 p.m. Sept. 30 at Riverfront Park East.

More than 100 people participated in last year’s race. Pesola said that Ratos was very active in the community and a physical fitness advocate.

She died in 2021 after a long battle with cancer.

Yorktoberfest will feature a variety of music, including popular country artist Eric Chesser, German-style band Fritz & The Pretzel Twists and Yorkville-based band Ripped Jeans Duo.

More information about Yorktoberfest is at kiwanisyorktoberfest.org.