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Live music, garage sales among than 20 things to do in Rockford

Jul 12, 2023

This weekend in the Rockford area features a plethora of family fun, including garage sales, an ice cream social and live music.

What: Shop to live music in downtown Rockton while visiting a variety of food and goods vendors.

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and each Wednesday through Aug. 30

Where: Old Settlers Park, 150 E. Hawick St., Rockton

Cost: Free admission

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What: This heartfelt story set to an '80s style classic with a new rhythm is perfect for the entire family to enjoy.

When: Wednesdays through Sundays, June 7 through July 16, 2023

Where: Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford

Cost: $28; $26 seniors/military/teachers; $17 for students; $12 for children ages 12 and younger

For more: 815-921-2160

What: Join the RACVB for lunch and a kickoff to CRE8TIV Transformational Art. Enjoy local food trucks, music, art and live mural painting. Food trucks will accept cash or card.

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday

Where: Corner of State and Church streets, 316 W. State St., Rockford

Cost: Free

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What: Caribbean Night will feature signature rum cocktails, rum flights and a specialty menu. Todd Donnelly will perform on steel drums.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Top Lounge & Rooftop Deck at Embassy Suites, 416 S. Main St., Rockford

For more: 815-668-7878

What: Dinner on the Dock June 8 features Zac Matthews Band. Zac Matthews Band was voted the #1 Country Band in the State of Wisconsin in 2019 and 2021. The music series offers guests great food, craft beer and musical acts from Rockford and the surrounding areas of Chicago, Madison and more. Come by car or boat and relax on the dock.

When: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday

Where: Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 S. Prairie St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission; table and boat slip reservations available

For more:

More:Popular Rockford brewery announces new weekly event for the summer

What: This documentary is about lesbians who discriminate against other lesbians based on gender roles. Join The Liam Foundation and Rockford Public Library for a brief discussion after the film viewing. This film features many queer celebrities, living daily with opinions about how identity should be portrayed. It shines a light on the relationships and experiences within the queer black female community, intersecting race, gender and sexuality.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford

Cost: Free

For more: 815-965-7606

What: Garden Explorers is a ten-week interactive parent/child activity. Each week features a story time led by a community leader, then an activity, craft or children's music. Garden Explorers is appropriate for four- to six-year-olds, but children of all ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult guardian at all times.

When: 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday

Where: Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Cost: Free

For more: 815-229-3930

What: Ars Pvblica brings together artists representing an array of disciplines to explore a topic of cultural and social importance, each using their own medium, with a moderated discussion between the artists, hosts and audience. This month, artists delve into "The Future of Art in the Age of Artificial Intelligence."

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Underground Gallery, 418 E. State St., Rockford

Cost: Free; donations encouraged

What: Byron, Stillman Valley and Davis Junction are teaming up for a weekend full of events, including garage sales, an electronic recycling day, farmer's markets, Byronfest and more.

When: Different events being held Thursday through Sunday

Where: Byron, Stillman Valley and Davis Junction

Cost: Some events are free, some have a cover charge

For more: City of Byron Facebook page

What: Community gathering for ethnic food, farm produce, coffee drinks, kid activities, music, and crafts.

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday through Sept. 28

Where: 503 Seventh St., Fourth & Seventh Streets, Rockford

Cost: Free admission

For more:

What: An annual three-day event featuring 40 miles of garage sales from Rockton to Freeport. This year will feature at least 123 different garage sales.

When: Friday through Sunday

Where: Along Illinois Route 75

Cost: Free

For more: Illinois Route 75 Facebook page

What: Discover Sinnissippi Gardens with your family. Join Nicholas Conservatory program staff each month on a guided hike to discover the plants, animals and insects that call the gardens home. The 45-minute hikes start by the outdoor restrooms at the Conservatory. Programs take place rain or shine. Due to limited capacity, registration is required. Children must be accompanied by a caregiver.

When: 10 a.m. Friday and the second Friday of each month

Where: Nicholas Conservatory, 1354 N. Second St., RockfordCost: Free

For more:

What: The GoDeans, a mostly all doctor band from Janesville, Wis., will play classic hits to today's hits. In the event of inclement weather, Music on the Mall may be cancelled.

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and each Friday through Aug. 25

Where: Edgebrook Mall Center Court, 1643 N. Alpine Road, Rockford

Cost: Free

For more: 815-398-8957

What: Bringing non-stop truck and tractor pull action with two pulling sleds. See street diesel trucks, workstock diesel trucks, outlaw diesel trucks, 3.0 diesel trucks, barnyard gas trucks, outlaw gas trucks, pro gas trucks, modified tractors, muscle tractors, Illini State Pullers and more. Registration closes 30 minutes before start time.

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Boone County Fairgrounds, 8847 IL 76, Belvidere

Cost: $20; kids ages 14 and younger free with adult

For more: 262-210-2920

What: The downtown market features local makers, growers, artists, vendors, food trucks and bakers plus two local breweries pouring beer, a Main Stage area with a local band, and an Acoustic Stage area with a local performer. Local non-profits and organizations to host kids’ activities. That Gurl performs June 9.

When: 4 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and each Friday through Sept. 29

Where: East State and Water Streets, Rockford

Cost: Free admission

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What: Small business artisans, crafters, makers, thrifters and creators are welcome. There will be live music, vendors, food and beverage trucks, yard games, drawings and surprises.

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. First St., Pecatonica

Cost: $5 admission

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What: Local architect Gary Anderson will lead an educational tour highlighting Rockford's industrial history and the residential neighborhoods that provided housing for its workers. The tour will point out architectural styles of homes and industries, their history and impact they had on Rockford's emergence as a leader in multiple industries. The accompanying tour is 8.3 miles. The route is subject to small changes that Gary may add. The route is fairly level. You may leave the tour at any time.

Where: Katie's Cup, 502 Seventh St., Rockford

When: 8 a.m. Saturday

Cost: Free

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What: ARTSY is an arts and crafts exhibit supporting local artisans and crafters in our community featuring creative and talented makers, live music, snack food and more.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Edgebrook, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford

Cost: Free admission

For more: 815-398-8957

What: Introduce your kids to fishing in a safe and controlled environment. Four Lakes Forest Preserve provides several shallow, small lakes. For kids ages 3 to 16 years old. Staff and volunteers will assist. There will be free t-shirts during early check-in; participant prizes, trophies for the winning individual in each age group, and a big fish trophy for the individual that reels in the biggest fish overall. Bring your own fishing poles; there will be a limited number of loaner poles for those without poles. Bait provided. There will also be a live aquarium display. If you or your child requires accessibility assistance, call in advance to arrange assistance or let someone know at your arrival time.

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday

Where: Four Lakes Forest Preserve, 10207 Fish Hatchery Road, Pecatonica

Cost: Free

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What: Exclusive down-to-earth fundraising soiree includes heavy hors d’oeuvres by The Norwegian, a signature cocktail or mocktail, a gourmet s’more station by the fire and live music. Explore The Grove, the unique Nature Playscape, on this evening just for adults.

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford

Cost: $75

For more:

What: The inaugural Midtown Fun and Health Fair features health-related activities and area vendors.

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Patriots Gateway Community Center, 615 S. Fifth St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

For more: 815-222-1299

What: Artist David Rogers’ "Big Bugs: The Pollinators" exhibit opens for a three-month period starting June 10. Consisting of 10 larger-than-life sculptures made of reclaimed forest wood and other natural materials, Rogers’ work is being showcased here for the first time in the Northern Illinois region outside of the Chicago area. The exhibit is focused specifically on pollinator species and their critical role in supporting our shared natural ecosystem and food chain. These sculptures will be installed throughout the grounds and gardens. Each will be located near paved, accessible paths where they can be viewed by guests of all ages and abilities.

When: Saturday, June 10 through Sept. 10

Where: Klehm Arboretum & Observatory, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford

Cost: Free with daily admission

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What: When the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County announced their challenge to visit all 44 preserves for their centennial year in 2022, former RVC math professor Rob Clark met it, making sure to hike at least a mile or two in each one to claim it as a visit and take enough photos during his hikes that others could share in their natural beauty. Clark will share a selection of his photographs, as well tips for enjoying the preserves.

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickop St., South Beloit

Cost: Free; donations appreciated

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What: Enjoy ice cream and games, such as horse shoes, tug of war, boules, gunny sack race and shut the box.

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Macktown Living History, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton

Cost: Free; donations appreciated

For more:

What: Dock diving, rally and agility demonstrations; food trucks, vendors, swim time for your dogs (life jackets provided; you provide towels) and entertainment. Take a tour of the farm. Bring a donation for Boone County Animal Control and take a spin our prize wheel. Requested donations: canned or dry dog/cat food and treats, paper towels, hand sanitizer, dish soap and disinfectant wipes. All dogs are welcome, but please secure them on a 6′ leash. No retractable leashes please.

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Meyer's Tails Up Farm, 5390 Irene Road, Belvidere

Cost: Free

For more: 815-547-5778

What: Enjoy summer evenings in the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell. Local and regional talents work their musical magic. Concessions available (including sandwiches, beer and wine). Performance June 13 is by the Rockford Concert Band.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 13; Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 19

Where: Sinnissippi Park music shell, 2010 Arlington Ave., Rockford

Cost: Free

For more:

Kathi Edwards is a freelance correspondent.

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