Ridgefest becomes latest event to be canceled amid 'teen takeover' trend

Many Chicago Ridge residents say "Ridgefest" is like their vacation right here at home.

Ridgefest has been around for over 30 years, but in the last couple of days, the village board decided to cancel the event, citing safety concerns.

Chicago Ridge Mayor Charles Tokar said the board voted unanimously to cancel the fest, which would've included live music, carnival rides and nearly 20 vendors.

The move comes a few weeks after hundreds of teens were seen fighting at a carnival in Tinley Park. The Chicago Ridge village board – and residents – felt local police may not be prepared to handle any potential chaos.

"It breaks my heart. I heard other things were canceled, and I wondered where do we go from here?" asked Cheryl Murphy, a Chicago Ridge resident.

Jesse’s Tavern is a staple in town, attracting much of the overflow from Ridgefest. A bartender there said lots of money is being lost by the cancelation.


Some residents on social media were also speculating that controversial music star Ted Nugent, who was scheduled to perform at Ridgefest this year, was part of the reason for the cancelation.

"We've had Ted Nugent here three times over the years," said Tokar. "Last time was 10 years ago, and we've never had a problem with people. I don't know if the political climate nowadays or what, but our board felt that it's best not to take a chance this year."

Tokar was not able to say whether other future events would be canceled due to safety issues, but village officials are continuing to monitor the "teen takeover" trend.