Rotary GroveFest ‘one of the joys’ of Downers Grove

Annual summer festival runs June 20-23

With more than 20,000 attendees expected over the course of the four-day event, nearly 800 volunteers are trained and ready to once again bring to life the annual Downers Grove’s Rotary GroveFest.

All to bring the community together and give back to those in need.

The event begins at 5 p.m. June 20 and runs through June 23 and includes entertainment, rides, a beer garden, car show and a craft beer and cocktail afternoon.

In 2010, the Rotary Club of Downers Grove stepped in and began organizing the Rotary GroveFest to replace the long-standing Downers Grove Heritage Fest.

“Our community looks forward to the fest each year – the fun it brings to local families and how it engages the community,” said Lisa Rasin, Rotary Club executive secretary and chairwoman of this year’s Rotary GroveFest.

GroveFest redistributes all profits from the festival to local and international causes, including 27 nonprofits in and around Downers Grove.

Some of the local beneficiaries include local music-related, trade school or college scholarships, as well as the Boy Scouts, Downers Grove Grade School District 58, Downers Grove FISH Food Pantry, the Diveheart Foundation and the Downers Grove Halloween window painting event.

“We are an all-volunteer group of about 50 to 60 members,” Rasin said. “The money we raise at the fest is given back to the community in various ways in addition to several Rotary Foundation and Rotary International service projects.”

From the money raised at the fest over the years, “we have given away just over $1 million to the community,” said Harry McCabe, president of the Rotary Club of Downers Grove.

“The Rotary saying is service above self,” McCabe said. “That is why I became a Rotarian years ago to help out those less fortunate.”

One of McCabe’s favorite things to do at the fest is to watch the flow of the event over the course of the four days.

“We first have children going to kiddie rides and parents with strollers, then the older kids come in packs for the higher velocity rides, then the beer garden opens and the adults wander in. It truly is a festival for all ages,” McCabe said.

“That is one of the joys,” he added.

Rotary GroveFest attendees can buy wristbands online for the event at

The entertainment kicks off with a special dance party devoted to the music of a very famous female artist who currently is on tour.

“Everyone is encouraged to come in their favorite Taylor wear,” Rasin said.

On Saturday, the entertainment will close out the evening with headliner 7th Heaven. Known for the famous “30 Songs in 30 Minutes” medley of songs from the 1970s and 80s, the band has been an entertainment staple for 39 years.

Sunday will include an assortment of dance bands and will cap off with Mike & Joe, a modern rock cover band, McCabe said.

Other special events include Saturday’s Craft Beer and Cocktail Fest, which includes Downers Grove hometown breweries Alter Brewing Company and Emmett’s Brewing Company, along with other local craft breweries. Sample three-ounce pours will be available for $2.

There is a $5 fee for the beer garden and entertainment area. Otherwise, attendees can wander up and down the Midway to soak in the food vendors and businesses that have set up booths for the event.

The Festival of Cars will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 23.

A worship service will be hosted by Community Christian Church of Downers Grove at 10:30 a.m. June 23.

On Tuesday, June 25, members of the Rotary will be up early and meet at their usual breakfast spot for a morning meeting and unofficial recap of the event, McCabe said.

“So many great things go on over the event between attendees, volunteers, public works employees and Rotarians,” he said. “It is great to hear all the stories.”

Rotary Grove Fest By The Numbers

  • Four fun days
  • More than 20,000 attendees
  • 800-plus volunteers
  • 22,000 drink tickets sold in 2023
  • 20-plus business booths
  • Almost 20 food vendors
  • 20 craft brewers for the June 22 Craft Beer & Cocktail Fest
  • 20 carnival rides
  • 16 entertainment acts
  • One new mascot – Hearty