Starved Rock Country

Two Big Fests Arrive In Starved Rock Country

Libations and live music at Ottawa’s Wine Fest and Morris’ FForest Fest

wine fest

Two exciting festivals arrive this weekend in Starved Rock Country. Experience the hotly anticipated return of the Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Festival, a celebration of delicious eats, live music and fan-favorite wineries, running through Sunday, and the inaugural FForest Festival, which brings a music festival, food truck rally and vendor market to Morris’ Goold Park.

The Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Festival, now in its 11th year, is one of the signature annual festivals held in Starved Rock Country. This celebration of viticulture and great live music has brought together guests from around the state and across the country for three full days of fun. Festivities kicked off Friday evening and will continue through Sunday.

The fest, managed and coordinated by Floret Events LLC in partnership with the city of Ottawa, takes place at the sprawling Jordan Block event space, located at the end of Ottawa’s downtown shopping district – just paces away from the Illinois River. Hours for the 2022 event have been extended; Saturday’s festivities will run from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday’s from noon to 5 p.m.

The ticketed event features 10 popular wineries, distilleries and craft breweries that will provide tastings. Each wine fest ticket for adult guests includes a wristband, a commemorative glass and a set of tasting tickets to use at the event’s libation vendors. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased on-site. This year’s vendors include: August Hill Winery, The Pour Vineyard, Juicy Luzy Sangria, Sable Creek Winery, West of Wise Winery, Star Union Spirits, Walt’s Tap, DESTIHL Brewery, Tangled Roots Brewing Company, and Austrian Lodge. Guests of all ages are welcome to enjoy the festival, but only ticketed attendees age 21 and older are permitted in the tasting area.

The 2022 fest will feature a stacked music lineup, including Nick Leet of the famed Minneapolis power-pop band High on Stress, roots rock legends Miles Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts and the recently reunited alt-country outfit Backyard Tire Fire. Additional acts include tenor saxophonist Lucas Sanor, the Americana stylings of the Aaron Kelly Trio, and Bloomington-based Dan Hubbard, along with local favorites KevinRoyK and Daniel Wilkins. The event will be held rain or shine. While the Jordan Block does have a selection of picnic tables, guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

For more information and to see the full schedule of live music, be sure to visit www.OttawaWineFest.com.

The FForest Fest, which derives its name from “fForest,” a Norwegian word meaning to “Do, Be, and Make in Nature,” is a brand new vendor market and music festival that embraces these qualities. It will be held this Saturday at Goold Park under a thick canopy of mature trees, where guests will get to enjoy nature while soaking in arts and entertainment. Entry to the fun and eclectic event is only $5, and will grant you access to a full day of live music, a diverse vendor and artisan market, and a delectable food truck rally.

The day’s music lineup features a little something for everyone, including Nevada-based singer-songwriter Liam Kyle Cahill, Andrew David Weber (known for his work with the Milwaukee-based band Whiskey of the Damned), The Homeless Gospel Choir (an acclaimed folk-punk band hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who are slated to open later this year for My Chemical Romance), The Tossers ( a six-piece Celtic punk band who have toured with Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Reverend Horton Heat and The Pogues) and Run Forrest Run (Chicago’s premier ‘90s tribute band, who will close out the night with a sing-along and dance party).

The food truck rally will feature tempting offerings from Deb’s Kettle Corn, Edroll’s Filipino Fusino, The Country Seat Pizza, Ben’s Soft Pretzels, Flyin Hawaiian, Big D’s Hotdogs, Moe Joe’s, Big Boom Barbecue and Tacos Before Vatos. There will be a beverage trailer serving up a variety of adult beverages, including craft and domestic beers. Mobile beer carts also will be located throughout the event site.

Morris’ legendary vintage store True North will sponsor a huge Vendor Market, highlighting more than 100 vendors. The lineup features a great mix of antique, vintage, makers, plant/garden, clothing, thrift/recycled clothing, salvage and furniture from throughout the Midwest. Gates open at 10 a.m.; be sure to arrive early to see the retailers’ sprawling selections. While many vendors may accept credit cards, FForest Fest organizers encourage shoppers to bring cash. Vendor activities and demos will take place throughout the day, along with yoga classes and a live charity auction.

For more information and a complete list of vendors and events, go to www.FForestFest.com.