Riverfest returns to Niles

Published 2:00 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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NILES — A fan favorite festival made its awaited return to Niles Thursday night.

The first day of Riverfest 2023 arrived with much fanfare at Riverfront Park.

The festival features bounce houses, games and food and craft vendors. Each night, musicians are scheduled to perform at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater. Thursday’s musical acts were Grateful Living, Phillip Strauss and Friends and Work In Progress.

“One thing that’s kind of different is instead of amusement rides, we do have bounce houses,” said festival organizer Josh Sitarz of the Riverfront Optimist Club of Niles. “I want to focus more on the younger kids at this festival with the bounce houses. We also have a whole bunch of different types of music. Santana Project will be back, which is a crowd favorite. Every single year, the hillside is completely packed. We have wonderful food vendors, anything you can think of is down here.”

Sitarz thanked T.J. Martin for helping to coordinate the festival and believes one of the biggest factors in the festival’s success is its accessibility.

“I think one of the big things is just the free admission,” Sitarz said. “It’s something for people to do to come down here, listen to free music and walk around wonderful Riverfront Park. The City of Niles has definitely done a great job on keeping it up.”

Riverfest will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. tonight, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Friday’s music lineup:

4 p.m. – Phillip Strauss and Friends

5 p.m. – Erudite

6 p.m. – PEARL

8 p.m. – Fillmore’s Ladder


Noon – Phillip Strauss and Friends 

1 p.m. – John Lee 

2 p.m. – The Erly 

4 p.m. – Legendary Mud and Dust Band 

5:30 p.m. – Oblates Of Blues

7 p.m. – Ain’t No Blues 

8:30 p.m. – The Santana Project


11a.m. – Christian Service with Spero House

12:30 p.m. – Phillip Strauss and Friends

1:30 p.m. – P Scott and The Prairie Dogs

2:30 p.m. – Jeff Whitaker