It’s not unusual for residents of Chicago to visit Naperville’s Ribfest. But it’s not every day that a Chicago Cubs icon is in town for the July celebration.
Ronnie Wickers, more famously known as Ronnie Woo Woo, walked around Ribfest on Monday. Dressed in his full Cubs uniform, Woo Woo stopped to take photos with fans, shared his infamous “Woo” chants around the park and danced in the front row for Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers.
“The Cubs are out of town and I wanted to go out and meet people and sign autographs,” Woo Woo said. “It doesn’t cost money to be nice.”
Woo Woo said he was attending his first Ribfest. The diehard Cubs rooter said he was enjoying the music and food. But Woo Woo said the best part of the day was bringing smiles to his fans.
Just like Woo Woo, Paul Edwards was also attending his first Ribfest. Edwards, 50, moved to Naperville in February. He said he attended the festival to see REO Speedwagon, Styxand Hornsby.
But when it came to ribs, Edwards said he was a little disappointed.
“Ribfest is great; it’s all about the music,” Edwards said. “As for the ribs, I’ll give them credit. They are making thousands of ribs. Let’s just say I didn’t go back for more.”
Joy Wingren, 51, of Chicagowas also more interested in music than food. She traveled to Ribfest just to see Hornsby. But Wingren said the ribs helped motivate her husband to attend the concert.
“My husband loves ribs; I love Bruce,” Wingren said. “This was my 20th time seeing Bruce. I’ve been following him since the '80s.”
Chris Mohan, 25, of Aurora said he started attending Ribfest when he was a teenager. Mohan said he liked the new layout of the festival at Knoch Park, adding that he didn’t attend last year’s festival.
Unlike Edwards, Mohan said he wished he could eat more at the festival. He had stopped at the Texas Outlawsfor a pork sandwich. While Mohan said most people attend Ribfest for the food, he also admitted the main draw for him is the music.
Although he only attended the festival for two of its four days, Mohan said in his opinion Ribfest 2011 might be one of the best ever. The only Ribfest Mohan said was better was 2006, which featured the Doobie Brothers, Better Than Ezra, Sister Hazeland REO Speedwagon.
“This year is definitely up there,” Mohan said. “I don’t think we’ll ever be able to top ’06, but this might be number two.”