THROUGH DEC. 24
Visit Santa at CherryVale Mall, 7200 Harrison Ave., Rockford, daily, free. Santa will be available for visits and photos in center court. Information: (815) 332-2451 ext. 261.
THROUGH DEC. 31
Holiday Festival of Lights, presented By Rockford Fire and Ice, Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. 2nd St., Rockford, free admission, donations appreciated, 5-10 p.m. through Dec. 23, 5 p.m.-midnight Dec. 24-25, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 29-31.
THROUGH JAN 7, 2018
All Aglow Exhibit, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, prices vary. Celebrate the holidays at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens! Come see sparkling holiday lights and beautiful floral displays inside the warm tropical conservatory. Outdoor grounds are also decorated for the season. Information: (815) 987-8858.
Winter Choral Concert, Rockford University Clark Arts Center, Maddox Theatre, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m., free, donations accepted at the door. Students from the Musical Theater, Dance, and Acting/Directing programs will join the choirs in a celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, featuring selections from Chichester Psalms, Mass, West Side Story, On the Town, Wonderful Town, and others. Information: (815) 226-4100
2017 Rockford Handmade Market, Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford, 4-9 p.m., free admission.Event features some of the best and up-and-coming local and regional vendors selling locally crafted and handmade goods. Information: (815) 277-9427.
Cherry Cherry Christmas, Giovanni’s Restaurant & Conference Center, 610 N. Bell School Rd., Rockford, $40 per person, all inclusive. Join Denny Diamond and The Jewels for some live holiday music along with other feel good songs and a meal. Ticket price includes your meal, show, tax and gratuity. Information: (815) 893-9202.
Broadway at the Coronado – Christmas Wonderland, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m., $27.50-$55. This show features glittering costumes, a dazzling cast and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole Information: (815) 968-0595. A seasonal variety show, custom-made each year for the Rockford community featuring holiday-inspired storytelling, comedy and seasonal and popular music performed by a talented company of national and local musicians and actors. Information: (646) 319-7027.
Luminaria, Severson Dells Nature Center 8786 Montague Rd., Rockford, 6-9:30 p.m. This annual favorite brings together music, a warm fire, hot chocolate and a candle-lit walk through the snow. Short guided night walks will be offered throughout each evening. Information: (815) 335-2915.
J.R. Sullivan’s Hometown Holiday, Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, $25. A seasonal variety show, custom-made each year for the Rockford community, features holiday-inspired storytelling, comedy and seasonal and popular music performed by a talented company of national and local musicians and actors. An all new Rockford story by J. R. Sullivan, founder of the former New American Theater, will close the show. Information: (646) 319-7027.
Shop on State, presented By River District Association, downtown Rockford, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Shop, sip and snack during this hometown holiday experience, featuring shopping, food, and carolers. Information: (815) 963-8111.
Christmas in the Trenches, Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Rd., Rockford, 10-11:30 a.m., $10, pre-registration required. One hundred and three years ago, the soldiers in the Western front of the Great War called an unofficial ceasefire during the week of Christmas. Enemies came together to decorate, exchange gifts, sing carols, and even play football. Re-enactors will decorate the replica trench for the holidays as it was done in 1914, and visitors will receive a tour of the trenches and hear excerpts from letters about soldiers experiencing Christmas in the trenches. Pre-register by calling (815) 397-9112.
Holiday Happenings—Erlander Home, Heritage Museum Park and Tinker Swiss Cottage, noon-4 p.m., $5 each museum. At Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum visitors will get the chance to see Tinker-original decorations and learn about Christmas traditions in the Victorian era. The Erlander Home offers only the beautiful holiday decorations, but examples of Swedish Christmas customs. Six different Christmas celebrations will be featured in the Ethnic Heritage Museum and also Traditional English Christmas celebrations in the newly-opened Graham-Ginestra Home Museum. Information: (815) 964-2424
SweeTen Your Holidays, presented By , Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St
Belvidere, 1:30 p.m., $10. The award winning A-Capella Chorus, River City Sound, will present their annual show, with desserts, cash raffle, and basket raffles. Lots of holiday music to get you in the mood for the season.
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 412 N. Church St., Rockford, 5 p.m., free will offering. Following in the tradition of the Christmas Eve service broadcast annually from King’s College, Cambridge, England, this event features readers from the Rockford community and guest choristers supplementing the Emmanuel Choir. Information: (815) 964-5514.
Shop Til You Drop Vendor/Craft Show, Harmony Club, 1401 15th Avenue, Rockford, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., free admission. Up to 50 vendors and crafters are gathered under one roof. The holidays are fast approaching and they have merchandise and/or services to sell so come on down to find the perfect holiday gift. Information: (815) 965-0049.
Elf Jr. The Musical, presented By Children’s/Youth Theater Project, Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford, 2 and 7 p.m. Based on the cherished New Line Cinema hit, Elf JR. features songs by Tony Award-nominees, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, with a book by Tony Award-winners, Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. Information: (920) 412-7151.
Holiday Pops Featuring Five by Design, Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, $9-$65. The nationally acclaimed vocal group joins the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for a unique take on classic holiday favorites and brand new originals. Information: (815) 965-0049.
Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity Program, Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St.
Rockford, 2-4 p.m., free admission, donations appreciated. This adaptation of Langston Hughes’ most famous theatrical form – the Gospel Play – will be performed by The Reader’s Theater. A Kwanzaa Celebration, a progressive and uplifting African American holiday, will be included in the presentation. Adapted and directed by Dorothy Paige Turner. Information: (815) 962-7402.
Winter Solstice Concert, Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Rd., Rockford, 6 p.m., $10 in advance, $15 day of show. Rockford’s own Indie folk band, Taboo Blah Blah opens the night with their great original sound that got them listed as people to watch in 2016 and a couple of RAMI awards this year. Closing out the night will be the Minneapolis band, Good Morning Bedlam. They are fast becoming an innovative force in the midwest folk scene. Tickets are available at www.seversondells.com/music or call 815-335-2915. Tickets will also be available at the door.
–Winnebago County Holiday Calendar of Events–