Celebrate everything to do with this historic toy, at the 8th Sock Monkey Madness Festival at Midway Village Museum in Rockford, March 3-4.

Events at a Glance: Recreation & Destinations

There’s so much to do in our neck of the Old Northwest Territory! Here are a few fun events coming up this winter.

Celebrate everything to do with this historic toy, at the 8th Sock Monkey Madness Festival at Midway Village Museum in Rockford, March 3-4.

January

Dancing Horses Holiday Extravaganza
Jan. 1-15, see website for times. A Christmas ballerina joins the cast of equine holiday performers. Exotic bird showincluded. Lunch/dinner shows. The Dancing Horses Theater, 5065 Hwy, 50, Delavan, Wis. (262) 728-8200, thedancinghorses.com.
Glaze & Graze
Jan. 6-7, Fri. 5:30 p.m., Sat. 7 p.m. On the first night, create your own three-piece dinner set. On the second, enjoy a gourmet meal served on your creation. Reservations req. Artists Annex, 418 Spring St., Galena, Ill. (815) 777-0354, stonehousepotterygalena.com.
Galena Twilight Snowshoe Hike
Jan. 6-27, Feb. 3-24, Fridays, 4:30 p.m. Leisurely 1.5 mile small group hike at dusk, along Galena River Trail to Buehler wilderness preserve. Reservations req. Fever River Outfitters, 525 S. Main St., Galena, Ill. (815) 776-9425, feverriveroutfitters.com.
Hike The Vines Snowshoe Hike & Wine Tasting
Jan. 7, 21 & Feb. 4, 11, 18, noon & 2 p.m. An afternoon snowshoe hike, at your own pace, through the Galena Cellars vineyard, followed by a wine tasting, cheese and crackers. Shuttle to/from vineyard. Reservations req. Fever River Outfitters, Galena, Ill. (815) 776-9425.
Southern Wisconsin Mid-Winter Antiques Show and Sale
Jan. 7-8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 30 dealers with furniture, jewelry, glassware, primitives, pottery, books, post cards, cameras, more. Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Dr., Janesville, Wis., 608-531-0284, pontiaccc.com.
The Harlem Globetrotters
Jan. 8, 2 p.m. With an 87-year legacy, the team recognized around the world entertains with hilarious hijinks and amazing basketball skills. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5600, metrocentre.com.
Northern Illinois Farm Show
Jan. 11-12, 2012, 9 a.m. over 250 local and leading exhibitors showcasing the latest in products and services in the agriculture industry. NIU Convocation Center, 1525 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, Ill. 815-752-6800 niuconvo.com.
26th Annual Snow Sculpting Competition
Jan. 18-21, daily to 11 p.m. Nearly 30 teams from around the state shape 5-ton blocks of snow into works of art, for a chance to compete in the U.S. National contest in 2013. Sinnissippi Park, Rockford, (815) 987-1603.
Winterfest Snowshoe Adventure
Jan. 28, 5-8 p.m. A one-hour snowshoe adventure in Beloit’s City Center followed by dinner at Bushel & Peck’s. Paddle and Trail, 110 W. Grand Ave., Beloit, Wis. (608) 362-6521, paddleandtrail.com.
Candlelight Snowshoe Hike/Cross Country Ski
Jan. 28, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Hike or ski through luminary-lit trails overlooking the Mississippi River. Marshmallow roast and hot cocoa around a bonfire. Hike will take place with or without snow. Casper Bluff, 525 S. Main St., Galena, Ill. (815) 776-9425, feverriveroutfiters.com.
Bald Eagle Days
Jan. 28-29, 8 a.m.-noon; 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. View eagles with powerful scopes along the Mississippi River outdoors in the morning; attend educational programs all day at Cassville High School. Riverside Park Observatory, 100 W. Amelia St., Cassville, Wis. (608) 725-5855, cassville.org.
Special Olympics Winter Games
Jan. 31- Feb. 2, events daily. More than 400 athletes from Illinois compete in five winter sports: three at Chestnut Mountain Resort, 8700 W. Chestnut Road, Galena, Ill.; two at Mystique Ice Center, 1800 Admiral Sheehy Dr., Dubuque, Iowa, soill.org.

February

Winterfest & U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition
Feb. 1-5, daily. In its 16th year, this snow sculpting competition brings together the nation’s best snow artists. Also music, magic, refreshments. Riviera Park, Lake Geneva, Wis. (262) 248-4416.
Woodstock Groundhog Days
Feb. 1-5, events daily. Kick-off Wed. 6 p.m. and continues through the week, recalling the filming in 1992 of the Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day. Check website for events and times. Historic Woodstock Square, woodstockgroundhog.org.
Thunder Nationals
Feb. 3-4, Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 & 7:30 p.m. See the biggest stars in Monster Trucks, weighing in at 10,000 pounds with 1,500 HP. BMO Harris Bank Center (formerly MetroCentre), 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5600, metrocentre.com.
Grand Geneva Winter Carnival
Feb. 4, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Ski school and ski patrol demonstrations, scavenger hunts, snowboard competitions, snow games, followed by famous torchlight parade down the mountain and fireworks. The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis. (262) 249-4726, grandgeneva.com.
Candlelit Hike/Snowshoe
Feb. 4, 6-8 p.m. This .8 mile winter trek sponsored by Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park is lined with luminaries. Campfire along the trail, with snacks offered for small donation. Big Foot Beach State Park, 1550 S. Lake Shore Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis. (262) 248-2528, friendsofbfbsp.org.
Rock Valley Cat Club Annual Show
Feb. 4-5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cats are judged in four rings each day, in this 55th annual event. Enter your household cat or kitten over four months old. Forest Hills Lodge, 1601 West Lane Road, Loves Park, Ill. (815) 877-8358.
Midway Village Victorian Tea
Feb. 12, 2-4 p.m. A traditional event with era-appropriate entertainment, tea, sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and a party favor. $35/$30 members. Reservations req. Chamberlain Hotel, Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Galena Mardi Gras Parade
Feb. 18, 5:30 p.m. First annual Mardi Gras Parade, featuring the Krewe of Carnival float and other local entries, and lots of beads. Main Street, Galena, Ill. (815) 776-9200.
Keeping Warm in Winter (170 Years Ago)
Feb. 21, 1-3 p.m. Celebrate Stephen Mack’s 212th birthday; learn to make a fire with flint and steel; feel the heft of a buffalo hide; taste historical food. Mack House, Macktown Living History Center, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill. (815) 624-4200, macktownlivinghistory.com.
Murder Mystery Dinner
Feb 24-25, 7 p.m. Pirates, a kidnapped princess and a dead body. Fri. registration/reception; Sat. dinner and theater. DeSoto House Hotel, 230 S. Main St., Galena, Ill. (888) 777-4713, visitgalena.org.

March

Glaze & Graze
March 2-3, Fri. 5:30 p.m., Sat. 7 p.m. On the first night, create your own three-piece dinner set. On the second, enjoy a gourmet meal served on your creation. Reservations req. Artists Annex, 418 Spring St., Galena, Ill. (815) 777-0354, stonehousepotterygalena.com.
8th Sock Monkey Madness Festival
March 3-4, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate Rockford’s sock-knitting industry and the stuffed sock toy made from Rockford Red Heel Socks. Vendors, workshops, entertainment. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112.
Paleofest
March 3-4, daily. The 14th annual dinosaurs offers fun activities with informative programs. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St. Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org.
Amsoil Snocross Series Grand Finale
March 16-18, daily. Top professional snowmobilers compete in the last event of the season. Friday night Monster Slednecks Invasion Tour freestyle showcase. Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort, Lake Geneva, Wis., isoracing.com.
Coronado Performing Arts Center Tours
March 20, April 17, May 15, 6:45 p.m. See this crown jewel up close: the manager’s apartment; the Grand Barton organ; stage and backstage areas; auditorium; lobby. $7. Reservations req. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), Rockford, (815) 968-2722 ext. 17, coronadopac.org.
Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend
March 23-25, daily. Wine tastings; winemaker dinners; shopping; winery tours; seminars; lodging/spa specials. One of the largest indoor wine tasting events in Illinois. Various venues, Galena, Ill., wineloversweekend.com. Photo caption: Photo Credit:
Spring Garden Symposium
March 24, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Knowledgeable speakers show how to create a colorful, engaging garden. Lunch, silent auction, giveaways. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, Wis. (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
62nd Oregon Antique Show
March 24-25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Up to 50 Midwest dealers offering antiques from the early 1800s through the 1950s. Repairs and appraisals; snacks from Oregon Kiwanis. Blackhawk Center, 10th Street at Jefferson St., Oregon, Ill. (815) 732-2219, (815)732-2560. ❚