COVID-19 Has Temporarily Paused the Music

After careful consideration, the Rotary Club of McHenry has decided to cancel the 2020 Blues, Brews & BBQ festival due to ongoing public health concerns and economic uncertainties surrounding efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We're going to focus this year on doing the good that we can with funds already raised, and we look forward to bringing Blues, Brews & BBQ back better than ever in the future,” said Don Tonyan, a longtime Rotarian who co-chairs the event with Donna Schaefer. “To help the generous business sponsors who have long supported us, such as premier sponsor D.C. Cobb's-McHenry, we'll be returning any dollars committed for this year's fest.”

“We are sorry to disappoint the fest's many fans, the musicians who looked forward to playing and the vendors who helped make Blues, Brews & BBQ the special event that it is. But we can't ignore what is happening,” added Schaefer.

2020 would have marked the ninth year for Blues, Brews & BBQ. The three-day fest at Petersen Park has drawn thousands of fans annually, and had become the club's major fundraising event. Blues, Brews & BBQ generated about $300,000 over the years. Club members have used the money to issue grants to numerous area charities including the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Family Health Partnership Clinic and others.

The club also used the money to support local youth leadership programs, advanced placement testing scholarships for McHenry and Johnsburg high school students, and international causes including polio eradication efforts and natural disaster relief.

Club President Dawn Cassiday-Turner said the club is in the process of issuing emergency grants to Home of the Sparrow ($2,000), the FISH Food Pantry ($2,000), TLS Veterans ($1,000) and Pioneer Center for Human Services ($1,000). Rotary District 6440 is supplying a matching grant of $1,000 to bring FISH's total donation to $3,000, she added.

“With so many people out of work, the need for help with food, housing, mental health services and the types of assistance these agencies provide will grow,” Cassiday-Turner said. “Our club remains committed to doing what we can. Community members who would like to help are encouraged to email us at”

we thank our generous sponsors