Two Big Fests Arrive In Starved Rock Country for 2023

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

Lucas Sanor entertains on the saxophone while the crowd of wine lovers relaxes Friday, June 3, 2022, at Wine Fest in Ottawa. The festival runs through Sunday.

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 second annual fForest Festival, which brings a music festival, food truck rally and vendor market to Morris’ Goold Park.

The lineup for this year's fForest Fest.

The fForest Fest, which derives its name from “fForest,” a Norwegian word meaning to “Do, Be, and Make in Nature,” is a vendor market and music festival that embraces these qualities. This fan-favorite fest will be held June 3 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 $10 (free for kids age 5 and younger), 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 (returning for his second year), Andrew David Weber (known for his work with the Milwaukee-based band Whiskey of the Damned), Part Time Problems (a supergroup band comprised of the two aforementioned acts and friends), Jon Snodgrass (of the acclaimed alt-country bands Armchair Martian and Drag the River), Bad Year (a Milwaukee-based punk sensation), Thick (a Brooklyn-based DIY trio that’s toured with punk legends Flogging Molly and Violent Femmes), The Tossers (returning after an electrifying 2022 show, The Tossers have toured with Dropkick Murphys, The Reverend Horton Heat, and The Pogues) and legendary pop-punk quartet Bad Cop/Bad Cop.

With summer in full swing, Morris celebrated Saturday with its first-ever fForest Fest featuring live entertainment, food trucks, yoga under the trees, and kids activities.

The food truck rally will feature tempting offerings from Ben and Jerry’s Naperville, Ben’s Soft Pretzels, Big D’s Hot Dogs, Billy Bricks, Deb’s Kettle Corn, Edrolls Filipino Fusion, Flyin Hawaiian, Golden Rice Authentic Thai Food, Mr. J’s Mobile, Pierogi Rig, Roaming Helen’s Coffee, Shroom Shack, Sporty’s Restaurant, The Bait Shop, The County Seat and The Creamery. There will be a beverage trailer serving up a variety of adult beverages, including craft and domestic beers. Two beverage locations will serve beer and mixed drinks to those with wristbands for ages 21 and older.

Special events taking place throughout the day include 5-Minute Mysteries, Rumblebus Video Games, an all-day bubble party, crystal candle crafts, mystery ice cream taste tests, custom badge activity, kid’s yoga, a DJ dance party, free kids haircuts, a nail polish station, face painting and paint pouring. Several activities require an additional small fee. Head to for prices and the full schedule of special events.

Morris’ legendary vintage store True North will sponsor a huge Vendor Market, highlighting more than 200 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. There also will be an ATM on-site near gate one. For more information and a complete list of vendors, head to

Laurie Smudzinski of August Hill Winery pours a sample of wine for a customer Friday, June 3, 2022, at Wine Fest in Ottawa. The festival runs through Sunday.

The Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Festival, now in its 12th year, is one of the signature annual events held in Starved Rock Country. The 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. Saturday’s festivities will run from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday’s from noon to 4 p.m.

Fred and Debbie Kloese find a relaxing spot to enjoy their wine Friday, June 3, 2022, at Wine Fest in Ottawa.

The ticketed event features eight popular wineries and distilleries 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, Lavender Crest, Kite Hill Vineyards, Sable Creek Winery, West of Wise Winery, Star Union Spirits, Kountry Vodka and Simple Apple Pie Shots. 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 fest will feature a stacked music lineup, including Lucas Sanor on the saxophone (Saturday at noon and 4:30 p.m.), The Junkyard Dogs (Saturday at 3 and 5:30 p.m.), Lark and Sparrow (Sunday at noon), Ryan Witherspoon (Sunday at 2 p.m.) and Lucas Sanor (closing out the day). 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