Winnebago County Holiday Calendar of Events


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.


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.

Holiday Traditions at Heritage Museum Park, Ethnic Heritage Museum and Graham-Ginestra House, 1129 S. Main St., Rockford, Sundays except Dec. 24, 2 p.m., $7, $5 students, $15 family. Traditional holiday displays from around the world. Graham-Ginestra House is decorated for a traditional English Christmas. Ethnic Heritage Museum has holiday exhibits in the African American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish galleries. Information: (815) 962-7402


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.


Sinnissippi Station Model Garden Railroad Exhibit, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St.,
Rockford, $6 adults ($8 non-residents), lower admission rates for students, seniors, veterans, children. Visitors are transported to a magical miniature world as six G-scale trains and trolleys run down, around, and above the lush tropical setting of Nicholas Conservatory. Miniature Rockford landmarks and willow trestle bridges add to the enchanting ambiance. Information: (815) 987-8858. Closed Mondays.

DEC. 15

Owl Prowl, Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Rd., Rockford, 7 p.m. Program starts indoors with an overview of owls, and proceeds outside to seek owls out along the trails. Dress for the weather. RSVP by calling 815-335-2915 or fill out the online RSVP form:

DEC. 15-17

It’s a Wonderful Life – A Radio Play presented By Artists’ Ensemble Theater, Rockford University, Clark Arts Center, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $19 adults, $10 students. George Bailey needs a miracle and Clarence needs his wings. Join us for this holiday classic. Information:  (815) 394-5004.

DEC. 16

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.

The Craftacular (Our Holiday Event) Vendor/Craft Show, presented By Ken-Rock Community Center, 3218 11th St., Rockford,  9 a.m.-3 p.m., free admission.  Unique items from 25-plus different crafters/vendors. Proceeds go to the Community Center. Concessions and baked goods will be offered as well. Admission:  (815) 398-8864.

DEC. 16-17

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.

DEC. 17

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.

FHN Festival of Trees Luminary Night, Stephenson Street and Lincoln Boulevard, Freeport. Dusk to 9 pm. Enjoy the beauty of the soft light of luminaries along these historic streets. Information: (815) 232-2121.

DEC. 21

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 or call 815-335-2915. Tickets will also be available at the door.

DEC. 26-30

Holiday Hoopla, Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, 11:30 a.m., included with $8 per person museum admission, free for members.  The center transforms into post-holiday headquarters with  hands-on arts and crafts with science, math, and engineering. Information: (815) 963-6769.

DEC. 31

Countdown to Fun, Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford,  12:30 p.m., included with $8 per person museum admission, free for members. Ring in the New Year all afternoon with an energetic blend of math, physics, fun, and art. Design a party hat, craft a noise maker, and get ready to be showered with confetti. Information: (815) 963-6769.

New Year Around the World, Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, 10 a.m., $8 adults, $7 kids. A day of international fun featuring crafts and activities that celebrate cultures from around the world. Watch dancers from other countries perform in their native costumes. Join parades around the museum each hour as a different country rings in the new year. Information: (815) 965-3433


–Winnebago County Holiday Calendar of Events–