Red Frog Events

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Red Frog Events
Industry Event Planning
Founded Chicago, IL (2007 (2007))
Founder Joe Reynolds
Ryan Kunkel
Headquarters Chicago, IL, United States
Area served
Key people
Joe Reynolds
Ryan Kunkel

Red Frog Events, LLC is a privately owned (one member LLC with Joe Reynolds as the sole member) event production company founded in 2007 and based in Chicago, Illinois. The company's current events and services include Warrior Dash, Firefly Music Festival, ShamrockFest, American Beer Classic, EventSprout, and Red Frog Food and Beverage. The company is known for its events and services in the experiential entertainment industry and its company culture. Joe Reynolds and Ryan Kunkel are the Co-CEO’s.


Mirroring the television show The Amazing Race, Joe Reynolds organized and launched Great Urban Race, LLC and hosted the first race on September 15, 2007 in Chicago.[1]

In December 2008, Reynolds brought on four Event Coordinator interns ("Tadpoles") and moved the business from his dining room into an office in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood to help keep up with the planning and organizing of Great Urban Race.[1]

In 2009, Ryan Kunkel joined Reynolds to expand Great Urban Race and develop new events. In the summer of 2009, the first Warrior Dash, a 5k mud race with 12 obstacles, was held in Joliet, IL.

In 2009 Reynolds renamed the company Red Frog Events, LLC.[2]

In 2010, Red Frog Events moved from their Lincoln Park office to their current location at 320 West Ohio Street.[3]

On November 13, 2010, the first Beach Palooza was held at Daytona Beach, FL. The running series was then re-branded as Beach Dash to maintain consistency with their Warrior Dash race series.[4]

In 2011, Red Frog Bar Crawls were launched. The first event, a Halloween costume bar crawl called Nightmare on Clark Street, occurred on October 15, 2011 in Chicago. Snow Day in Washington D.C. was the next in the series on December 17. Two more bar crawls were introduced in 2012: Bright 'N' Tight in San Diego, California, and Derby Days in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 2012 the Firefly Music Festival was launched in Dover, Delaware, bringing in 35,000 attendees for the three-day festival. The headliners included The Killers, Jack White, and The Black Keys.

In 2012 Farm to Fork, a 'farm style dinner,' took place on September 22 at McDonald Farm in Naperville, IL.

In 2013 Red Frog launched three new events. These were: Iron Warrior Dash, which is a longer (12+ miles) version of their Warrior Dash race series, Urban Warrior Dash, which is an urban version of their Warrior Dash race series, and Illuminite Run, which is a night time run featuring lights and EDM music.

In 2013, Red Frog launched American Beer Classic, a beer festival held on Chicago’s Soldier Field.

In late 2013 and early 2014, Red Frog launched two new events: The Candy Cane Express, which is a train ride around the Chicago area that features milk and cookies, and the Bacon Chase, which will premiere in Atlanta, GA on March 22, 2014. It is a 5k and .05k untimed run that includes unlimited bacon, a Bloody Mary, and a tacky t-shirt.

In 2014, Red Frog Events bought DC-based ShamrockFest, a large St. Patrick’s Day festival with live music and began offering its ticketing platform, EventSprout, to third party event organizers.

In 2015, Red Frog Events launched Big Barrel Country Music Festival and Red Frog Food and Beverage.

On July 21, 2015, Red Frog laid off 29 of its roughly 105 employees.[5]

Events and Services[edit]

  • Founded in 2009, Warrior Dash is an obstacle race and mud run. Participants compete in a 5k run through twelve obstacles. All participants receive a free beer, if they are of legal age, and can participate in the after-party, which involves music, food, and beer. Since the inaugural race in 2009, more than 2.5 million people have competed in Warrior Dash.[6]
  • Firefly Music Festival is a music festival in Dover, DE. The festival lasts four days and features musical performances, dining, and entertainment at the Dover International Speedway, which is transformed into a festival area featuring seven stages. The 2012 lineup featured The Killers, Jack White, The Black Keys, John Legend, The Flaming Lips, Ok Go, Young the Giant, and Cake. Since 2012, Firefly has had headliners Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kings of Leon, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.[7]
  • Big Barrel Country Music Festival[8] takes place annually over three days in Dover, DE. The first year of the event was 2015. Red Frog Events and Goldenvoice partnered to produce and promote the country festival. 2015 headliners were Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood.
  • American Beer Classic[9] is a beer festival that takes place on Chicago’s Soldier Field. The festival began in 2013 and features hundreds of beers. In late 2015, American Beer Classic was rebranded to Chicago Beer Classic with the heightened focus on Chicago breweries.
  • ShamrockFest[10] is a large St. Patrick’s Day festival that takes place in Washington D.C. Red Frog Events bought the event from GoCity Events in 2014. The festival features live music, games, Irish food and an Irish market.
  • EventSprout[11] is an online registration platform. Red Frog began developing the system in 2009 and now offers it to third party events.
  • Red Frog Food and Beverage is their food and beverage operation service. This portion of the business formed when Red Frog acquired long time partner DJ’s National Food Service in 2015.

Retired Red Frog Events include:

  • Great Urban Race is an urban scavenger hunt that is held in cities across the United States. In a typical race, teams solve twelve clues and complete a variety of tasks while exploring the city. In 2011, there were 37 U.S. qualifying races and a qualifying race in Australia and Canada. The championship race was held on November 12, 2011 in New Orleans, LA. There was a total of 21 races across the country in 2012, with the championship race being held in Las Vegas, NV on November 10.
  • The Beach Dash (formerly Beach Palooza) was launched by Red Frog Events in 2010. Similar to the Warrior Dash, this event is a 5K race with 12 obstacles along a beach. Red Frog Events has hosted 11 Beach Dash runs across the nation. Because of low registration numbers in the US, Red Frog sold the event name and concept to an Australian events company in 2012.
  • On October 15, 2011, Red Frog Events hosted its first Red Frog Bar Crawl, Nightmare on Clark Street, in Chicago, IL. Nightmare on Clark Street visited six Halloween decorated bars in Wrigleyville that provided exclusive access and red beer to all participants. Snow Day in Washington D.C., Bright 'N' Tight in San Diego, CA, and Derby Days in Charlotte, North Carolina, were the following events put on by Red Frog Events.
  • The Farm to Fork is a farm dinner in Naperville, IL. Each course is prepared by a chef mostly using ingredients found on the farm and paired with alcoholic drinks (either beer or wine). The inaugural Farm to Fork featured chef and Chicago native, Valerie Bolon. Farm to Fork took place on September 22 at Naperville's McDonald Farm which is also home to The Conservation Foundation as well as the Green Earth Institute.
  • Iron Warrior Dash is a longer version of their Warrior Dash race series.
  • Urban Warrior Dash is an urban version of their Warrior Dash race series that takes place downtown in major metropolitan areas.
  • Illuminite Run is a night time run featuring lights and EDM music.
  • Candy Cane Express is a holiday themed train ride through various parts of Chicagoland that features milk and cookies.
  • The Bacon Chase is a 5k and .05k un-timed run that features bacon at the water checkpoints at the finish line.


The company was selected as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s “Corporate Partner of the Year” and committed to fundraise $25 million for the organization to open the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Entrepreneurs Unpluggd". Interview with Red Frog Events. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Chicago Tribune". Joe Reynolds, Ryan Kunkel: Lead Warriors. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Illinois State Business Magazine". Red Frog Events. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Timetoast timelines". A history of the Red Frog Family! timeline. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Red Frog Events lays off nearly a third of Chicago staff". 21 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Perez, A.J. "Obstacle races going mainstream, more popular than marathons". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved 11/2/15.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ Peters, Mitchell. "Firefly Festival Director: 'We Want It to Be Talked About 50 Years From Now'". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  8. ^ DeLuca, Dan. "Review: Big Barrel country fest, with Blake Shelton, Sturgill Simpson and more". The Inquirer. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Bernot, Kate. "American Beer Classic plans first festival for Soldier Field". RedEye. RedEye. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff. "D.C.’s ShamrockFest sold to Chicago events producer". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Sweeney, Brigid. "Chicago event firm Red Frog buys D.C.'s ShamrockFest". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Arnold, Ed. "St. Jude receives $25 million commitment from fundraising partner". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved 17 January 2013.