Winnebago County Holiday Calendar Nov. 23 – Dec. 17

Chronicle Media


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.

NOV. 24

Black Friday Public Ice Skating, Carlson Ice Arena 4150 N. Perryville Rd., Loves Park, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., $5 includes skate rental.  Enjoy some fun and healthy exercise with family or friends at a special four-hour Black Friday Skate indoor ice skating session. Information: (815) 969-4069.

Oak Ridge Boys’ 2017 Christmas Celebration Tour, Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, 7 p.m., $39-$70. The nearly two-hour extravaganza will feature a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs—religious, romantic, and fun holiday tunes—as well as some of the Grammy Award-winning quartet’s classic country-pop hits like Elvira, Bobbie Sue, and Thank God For Kids. Information: (815) 968-5222.

NOV. 24-25

Christmas on the Farm, 2346 Illinois Highway 75 North (1 1/2 miles north of Highway 20 and south of Winneshiek Road), Freeport, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  Enjoy this Arts and Crafts Show featuring handcrafted snowmen, Santas, floral arrangements and other unique handcrafted items. Information: (815) 232-6741.

NOV. 24-DEC. 18

The Giving Tree, Oakley Courts, 3117 Kunkle Boulevard, Freeport, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Be part of a tradition and make a local senior’s holiday brighter. Pick an ornament from the Giving Tree with a senior’s name on it from a local Skilled Nursing facility and purchase them a gift, wrap it and return it to Oakley Courts on or before Dec. 18, and the gifts will be delivered to your senior. Information: (815) 233-5129.

NOV. 25

5th Annual “Stroll on State” Holiday Celebration in Downtown Rockford, presented By Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, downtown Rockford along State Street, 2-9 p.m., free admission. “Merry and Bright: a downtown holiday” returns with Stroll on State, a spectacular holiday event to attend. There are plenty of activities, decorations to see, and delicious food to eat at this fifth annual event celebrating the holiday season downtown. Information:

Stroll on State’s Dasher Dash 5K, UW Health Sports Factory, 305 S. Madison St., Rockford, 8 a.m., $30 (plus $2.50 online processing fee), price increases to $35 after Nov. 21.  The route will take runners through an all new certified course. Starting at the UW Health Sports Factory, the race then moves through historic parts of downtown and southwest Rockford, including four bridge crossings, Haight Village and the lovely grounds of Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens. Runners won’t want to spend too much time sightseeing though, because once they cross the finish line on Grove Street hot chocolate and Christmas cookies will be waiting. Information:

NOV. 25-26

72nd Annual Messiah Concert, presented By Rockford Choral Union, Trinity Lutheran Church, 200 N. 1st St., Rockford, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, free admission, donations welcome. Rockford Choral Union presents its  190th and 191st performances of George Frederic Handel’s Messiah. The performances feature four internationally known soloists, more than 120 singers representing 55 area churches, and a full Baroque chamber orchestra with pipe organ and harpsichord.

The Nutcracker, presented By Rockford Dance Company, Rockford University, Maddox Theatre, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, times to be determined. Prepared to be whisked away again to the Magical moments of Clara with her beloved Nutcracker, dolls that come to life and the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Information: (815) 963-3341.

Annual Christmas Show: “A Holiday Bucket List”, Mighty Richland Players Dessert Theater, 203 W. High Street, Orangeville, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $20. This annual show includes favorite holiday tunes, skits and merriment. Located in the historic Masonic Hall, the audience will not only get to see a great show, but also have a wonderful dessert during intermission. Information: (815) 819-1310.

NOV. 25-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.

NOV. 29

Christmas Love Light Angel Tree Lighting, Presence St. Joseph Center, 659 E. Jefferson Street, Freeport. 10:30 am. This tree in the Center lobby offers the opportunity to remember and honor loved ones during the holiday season. The Angel Tree will be illuminated and remain lighted throughout the Christmas season. Information: (815) 232-8935.

DEC. 1

Hollyberry Holiday Bazaar, presented By Fairhaven Christian Retirement Center, 3470 N. Alpine Road, 1st Floor Chapel, Rockford, free admission, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Plenty of home baked goods, crafts, and vendors to enjoy with a BBQ lunch with sides available for $4. Information: (815) 877-1441 ext. 1330.

Cookie Walk & Lunch, presented By SecondFirst Church, 318 N. Church Street, lower Church entrance near Park Ave., Rockford, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., free admission. The annual Cookie Walk features elegant cookies, frozen casseroles, homemade peanut brittle and  lunch. Eat in or carry out. Music provided by the Church Street String Band. Information: (815) 963-8431, (815) 877-8113 or visit

Hollyberry Holiday Bazaar, presented By Fairhaven Christian Retirement Center, 3470 N. Alpine Rd. 1st Floor Chapel, Rockford, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., free admission. Plenty of home baked goods, crafts, and vendors along with a BBQ lunch with sides available for $4. Christmas cookies and special Christmas punch will be served. Information: (815) 877-1441 ext. 1330

Lucia Concert, presented By Erlander Home Museum and Swedish Historical Society, First Lutheran Church, 225 S. 3rd St., Rockford, 7-9 p.m. free will offering. This annual event brings the holiday spirit with traditional Swedish songs and a candlelit processional to the Nordic Cultural Center for refreshments and treats. Information: (815) 963-5559.

Noels, Pastorales, and Carols: Festive Holiday Fare, presented By Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, Mendelssohn Hall 406 N. Main St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m., $30 adult, $6 student. Kick off the holiday season with a concert of seasonal music and caroling featuring Mendelssohn’s grand Möller pipe organ! Organists Jean Anderson, Trish Rooney and Wayne Hatwich will perform festive European holiday works by Bach, Daquin, Charpentier, Franck and others. Information: (815) 964-9713.

First Fridays – Art, Music, Food and Shopping in Downtown Rockford, presented By The Element, downtown Rockford. Each month downtown art galleries, shops, music and theater venues work together to stay open late providing great new art, music and goods.. Information: (779) 537-5319.

“Miracle on Main” Lighted Parade, Main Street and Railroad Street, Lena, 6 p.m. See this lighted parade with Santa in downtown Lena. Visit Santa after the parade at Citizens State Bank, plus carriage rides and treats and specials in the stores. Information: (815) 369-5549.

DEC. 1-2

Rockford Community Nativity Display and Concert, presented By The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 324 University Dr., Rockford, 5-9 p.m. Dec. 1, 3-8 p.m. Dec. 2, free admission. A display of at least 500 Nativity scenes, decorated Christmas trees, live vignettes about the coming and birth of Christ, a story teller, children picture scavenger hunt and musical performances by 17 different local choral and instrumental groups.  Information: (630) 660-6346.

Small Town, Bright Christmas Walk, presented By Pecatonica Woman’s Club, downtown Pecatonica 400 block S. Main St., 4-7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. -3:30 p.m. Saturday, free. A soup dinner and Christmas Tree lighting are among Friday highlights while Saturday events included breakfast and visits with Santa, a Christmas Walk, bingo, cookie decorating and more. Information:

Home for the Holidays, 1135 S. Oak Avenue, Freeport. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Baked goods, cookies, bread, pies and crafts. Information: (815) 233-2399.

Eighth annual Madrigal Dinner,  Student/Conference Center, Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport. 6:30 pm. Join the King, Queen, and Royal Court for an evening of abundant feasting, laughter and merry music. The Madrigal Singers offer glad tidings to all this holiday season. $38. Information: (815) 599-3718.

DEC. 1-3

33rd Annual Rockton Christmas Walk, downtown Rockton, various times. Friday  features an Inaugural Christmas Walk pub crawl. Saturday features a pancake breakfast, visit with Santa, book sale, fair trade sale, letters to Santa and pictures with Santa, carriage rides, caroling and lighting of the park at Village Green Park, the Lighted Christmas Parade, a luminary pathway, and Wimpy’s Fund auction. Sunday

DEC. 1-31

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.

DEC. 2

An 1847 Christmas at the Macktown (Pecatonic) Settlement, presented By Macktown Living History Education Center, 2221 Freeport Rd., Rockton, noon-3:30 p.m. Experience the 12 days before Christmas at the earliest settlement site in WInnebago County. Travel with re-enactors back to a time when Christmas was celebrated with small gifts and kind gestures as a time of sharing and benevolence. There will be hot cider and cookies, and an ornament-making activity for children. Information: (815) 624-4200.

Horticulture for the Holidays Workshop, presented By University of Illinois Extension, Easter Seals Building, 650 N. Main St., Rockford, 8:30 a.m., $25 registration required. Learn about creating eye-pleasing containers and using evergreens. Then learn how to put together a fresh evergreen container to adorn your home for the holiday season. University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners will show step-by-step instructions on how to construct a fresh evergreen container, complete with accessories. Information: (815) 986-4357.

La Posada – Procession and Program, presented By , Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum 211 N. Main St., Rockford, 3-6 p.m., free will offering. La Posada is a Christmas tradition of Latin America. The event includes a procession, a stage performance including holiday music, and refreshments. Information: (815) 962-7402.

Tommy Emmanuel CGP – Classics & Christmas Tour, Coronado Performing Arts Center,  314 N. Main St., Rockford, 7:30 p.m., $25.50-$43.  This one-night-only engagement is a spin-off of Emmanuel’s 2016 release, Christmas Memories and his 2011 release All I Want For Christmas. The albums feature new arrangements for Yuletide classics. Information:  (815) 968-0595.

Breakfast with Santa, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, 8 and 9:30 a.m. Begin your morning with breakfast, meet the lovely Winter Fairy, and enjoy fun holiday activities and a craft. Your morning will end with a trip through our All Aglow Exhibit, complete with a garden train, and visit with Santa. Information: (815) 987-8858.

Julmarknad, presented By Erlander Home Museum and Swedish Historical Society, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 3300 Rural St., Rockford, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., free admission, breakfast $8, meatball lunch $10. Shop the Marknad with vendors of Swedish foods, bakery and handmade crafts. Kaffee Stuga will offer enjoy treats and coffee provided by Rockford Roasting. Information: (815) 963-5559.

Tour de Frost, presented By Team Fur Bandit, start and end at The Vitamin Shoppe, 5946 E. State St., Rockford, 9 a.m. registration, race start 10 a.m., $35 pre-race, $40 day of race. The eighth annual tour is a 20 mile bike ride around Rockford to benefit The Fish-Abled Foundation.

DEC. 3

A Day of Christmas, Beth Eden United Methodist Church,  3201 Huffman Blvd., 2-5 p.m., free admission. Bethlehem Marketplace is an indoor walk-through of the streets of Bethlehem on the day when Jesus was born, including an interactive drama of the sights and sounds of Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth, with a live Nativity and animals. Information: (815) 877-9237.

Christmas Concert and Dessert Buffet, Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St.,
Rockford, 2-5 p.m., $25 per person, $20 students seniors and members, free for children five and under.  Reservations required.  Musical guests include: Rockford Flute Club,  Betsy Baker’s Bluesy Sounds of Christmas, Emerald Wind Harp Ensemble and River City Sound Chorus. This event is a fundraiser for Klehm Arboretum. Information:  (815) 965-8146.

Jingle Bash Craft and Vendor Show – Meet Santa, Harlem High School,  1 Huskie Circle,
Machesney Park, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The show includes many vendors, plus a chance to visit Santa at 11 a.m. This event will be collecting new toys for the Toys for Tots program that will be donated to the Winnebago/Boone/Stephenson local chapter. Information: (815) 315-2762.

Christmas Tea, Stephenson County Historical Museum, 1440 S. Carroll Avenue, Freeport, 1-4 p.m. Celebrate a special Christmas at the historic Taylor mansion on the 160th anniversary of the family’s first Christmas in the house. Enjoy an old fashioned afternoon at the historic mansion which will be decked out in its holiday finery. Enjoy homemade cookies, tea, and holiday punch. Special holiday music will be provided. Donations appreciated. Information: (815) 232-8419.

Embury Methodist Church Christmas Concert, 115 S. Galena Avenue, Freeport. 3 pm. Enjoy a concert of vocal and instrumental music including from organists Randy Cook and Steve McMillan. Information: Information: (815) 233-3109.

Holiday Concert, Ferguson Fine Arts Theatre, Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport. 3 pm. The Highland Chorale and Youth Choir will perform the joyous sounds of familiar and new holiday songs in this free concert. Information: (815) 599-3718.

DEC. 6

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

DEC. 7

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.

DEC.  8

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.

DEC. 8-9

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.

DEC. 8-10

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.

DEC. 10

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.

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.


–Winnebago County Holiday Calendar Nov. 23 – Dec. 17–