There’s so much to do in our region! Here are some exciting recreation events happening this season.
Mississippi Backwaters Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard
June 23-July 28, 10 a.m. A 1.5 hour paddle of protected Mississippi backwaters. All levels. Reservations req. Fever River Outfitters 525 S. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 776-9425, feverriveroutfitters.com.
Big Foot Triathlon
June 23, 7-11 a.m. Swim Geneva Lake, bike the hills, run in state park. Sprint/Olympic USAT certified. Big Foot Beach State Park, 1550 S. Lake Shore Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis. (847) 254-2207, ramtri.com.
June 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. With two public battles, weapons demos, campsites open to the public. $10. Elks Page Park, 7883 Lowell Park Road, Dixon, Ill.
June 23, noon-5 p.m. Free admission, live music, tours. Flea market, food vendors, bingo, kids games. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Wildflower Walkabout: Amboy Marsh
June 26, 6 p.m. Explore areas of this 272-acre wetland complex in southeastern Lee County. Mormon Road/Rte. 52, 2 mi. SE of Amboy. (815) 335-2915, naturalland.org.
Heidi Festival/Taste of New Glarus
June 28-30, Fri. 5 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m. Food, entertainment, music, craft fair, dramatization of Heidi. Downtown New Glarus, Wis. swisstown.com.
Wisconsin Blue Ribbon Cheese Fest
June 29-30, 11 a.m-3 p.m. Cheese made with milk from cow, sheep, goat. Free. Ride the Wisconsin Cheesemaker & Craft Brews Train on Sat. 2-4 p.m. Elegant Farmer, 1545 Main St., Mukwonago, Wis. (262) 363-6770, elegantfarmer.com.
Cedarville Summer Celebration
June 29, all day. Free hot dogs, chips, pop. Cake-n-roll, pillow bingo, kids’ games, crafts, flea market. 430 W. Washington, Cedarville, Ill., (815) 563-4302.
Dixon Petunia Festival
July 3, events daily. Carnival, midway, 5K run, ice cream social, live bands each night, sports tournies, parade, fireworks. Page Park & Dixon Riverfront, Dixon, Ill. (815) 284-3361, petuniafestival.org.
Train Ride July 4th Celebration
July 4, day-long. Ride 1912 Heisler steam locomotive-powered train through the countryside; watch fireworks from train. Depot/museum open. Sandwiches, drinks, desserts. Silver Creek Museum & Depot, 2954 S. Walnut, Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
18th Annual Parade & Fireworks
July 4, 6 p.m. Floats, bands, marchers and more. Llive entertainment and food at the Green St. plaza until the fireworks. Downtown Galena, Galena, Ill., (815) 777-2111,visitgalena.org.
Fourth of July Celebration & Fireworks
July 4, 6:30 p.m. Local bands perform; motorcycle & hot rod parades; 7 p.m. city parade, 7th Street/5th Avenue; 9:30 p.m. Annual fireworks celebration over the Rock River. Davis Park, 211 N. Main St., Rockford, rockfordfireandice.com.
The World of Little House
July 5-31, Sat-Sun 10 a.m-5p.m. Activities that let you live like Laura and the Ingalls family and friends, look-alike contests, games of the era, more. Old World Wisconsin (OWW), S103 W37890 Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6300, oldworldwisconsin.org.
8 Miles of Ag-tiques
July 6-7, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Different tractors and old machinery at stops from Orangeville to Monroe. Food, craft shows, tractor drives, more. Start: Hwy. 26, north of Orangeville, Ill., (815) 789-4570, stephenson-county-il.org.
July 12-14, Fri. 5 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m. Carnival, 5K run, bags tourney, parade, craft show, quilt show, more. Downtown Byron, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-5500.
6th Whiteside County Barn Tour
July 13-14, 9 a.m. Starts at RK Riewerts Landscaping, 9585 Henry Road, Morrison, Ill. $20/car, includes tour book/ map. Cookout by the Whiteside County Cattlemen’s Assoc. Info: (815) 772-2165, whitesidecountybarntour.com.
Victorian Light Party Murder
July 13, 6-8:30 p.m. Guests at a party to celebrate the arrival of electricity don’t know there is a killer in their midst. $20. Tinker Swiss Cottage, 411 Kent St., Rockford, (815) 964-2424, tinkercottage.com.
July 13, 5 p.m. Cocktails, dinner, silent/live auctions, live music, raffle. Fundraiser for Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Gardens United Garden Walk
July 13-14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tour some of the area’s finest gardens. Benefits county Assault/Abuse Services. Freeport/Stephenson County Visitors Center, 4596 U.S. Rte. 20 East, Freeport, (815) 232-7200, aassc.org.
Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 14, 9 am to 3 p.m. Hundreds of cars, food, music, raffles. Food pantry donations accepted. Info: carstimeforgot.com. Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St., Delavan, Wis., (262) 728-5095, delavanwi.org.
Wander through the Wildflowers
July 20, 9 a.m.-noon. Guided walking tours through the Anne Meyer Prairie Garden. Free. Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 964-6666, naturalland.org.
Yarn Bombing Exhibit Opens
July 20, noon-2 p.m. Garden entrance and children’s garden are covered in pieces made by local knitters. Free with garden admission. Runs through the season. Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-8146, klehm.org.
Oregon Trail Days Festival
July 20-21, 9 a.m. Outdoor Western themed event. Horse, gun & rope tricks, Native American dancers, demos, tipi camping, vendors, food, more. Info: (815) 238-8672, oregontraildays.org. Event: Lowden State Park, 1411 N. River Road, Oregon, Ill.
Old-Fashioned Farm Fair
July 20-21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Pie-eating contest, the world’s tallest farmer, train rides. Farm-fresh corn, brats & hot dogs, ice cream in waffle cones. Free. The Elegant Farmer, 1545 Main St., Mukwonago, Wis. (262) 363-6770, elegantfarmer.com.
Antique Town Rods Run and Car Show
July 20-21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat: Road tour/poker run. Sun: Over 100 pre-1949 street rods. Galena Riverfront, 101 Bouthillier St., Galena, (815) 777-2088.
Full Moon & Frog Hike
July 22, 8- 9:30 p.m. Look for local frogs and toads, see moon rise over the wetland. Welty Environmental Center, Beckman Mill County Park, 8606 S. County Road H, Beloit, Wis., (608)361-1377.
Elkhorn Rotary Festival of Summer
July 26-27, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Brats, chicken sandwiches and roasted corn from the Rotary, crafters, vendors, live entertainment. Veterans Park, 100 W. Walworth St., Elkhorn, Wis., cityofelkhorn.org.
Native American Prairie Day
July 27, 1-4 p.m. Guided tours of the buried Indian village and ceremonial mound, Native American flute-player, indigenous foods, more. 8642 Ill Rt. 84 S., 1 mile south of Hanover, Ill., (815) 858-9100, jdcf.org.
Mississippi Adventure Day
July 27, Aug. 3, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Group led 7-mile kayak, 3-mile hike, 10-mile bike. All levels. Reservations req. Fever River Outfitters, Galena, (815) 776-9425.
Family Fun in the Garden
July 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Hands-on gardening activities geared to families with young children. Midway Village, Rockford, midwayvillage.com.
153rd Annual Jo Daviess County Fair
Aug. 1-4, events daily. Tactor pull, draft horse pull, motocross/ATV races, live entertainment, carnival rides. Jo Daviess County Fairgrounds, Stagecoach Trail and High St., Warren, Ill., (815)-275-2540.
44th Annual Threshing and Antique Show
Aug 2-4, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. More than 300 gas tractors, steam engines, horse-powered equipment, exhibitions, more. Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2954 S. Walnut Road Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
Aug. 2-4, Fri. 5 p.m.; Sat-Sun noon. Mass Sun., 10 a.m. Authentic Italian food music & folk dancing, carnival, kids’ activities. Boylan High School, 4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford (815) 636-2902, griaa.com.
Swiss Volksfest (Swiss Independence Day)
Aug. 4, 1-6 p.m. Traditional music, yodeling, flag throwing, thalerschwingen. Tell’s Shooting Park, County Hwy O, New Glarus, Wis., swisstown.com.
John Deere Green Iron Days
Aug. 3-4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Hundreds of pre-1979 machines, tours, demonstration of blacksmithing. $5/under 12 free. John Deere Historic Site, 8334 S. Clinton St., Grand Detour, Ill., (815) 652-4551, johndeereattractions.com.
Blues, Beer & BBQ
Aug. 3, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Sample beer, live blues music and BBQ. $23/$20 members/$25 at the door. Freeport Art. Museum, 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755 freeportartmuseum.org.
61st Annual Carroll County Fair
Aug. 6-10, events daily. Agricultural displays, judging events, demolition derby, headliner Casey James in concert Fri. Schell Park, 28374 Milledgeville Road, Milledgeville, Ill., carrollcountyfair.info.
Aug. 9, 8:30-10 p.m. Storytelling, games and smore’s around the campfire. Free. Byron Forest Preserve, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Aug. 10, 4-8p.m. More than 500 antique and classic cars, live music, food court, burn-out contest, more. Reserved Parking: $12; Non-Reserved Parking: $10; Cruise Only Free. 50 W. Douglas St., Freeport, (815) 233-1357, freeportcruisenight.org.
51st Annual Venetian Festival
Aug. 14-18, all-day events. Carnival, craft fair, water ski show, entertainment. Sunday traditional lighted boat parade followed by a firework display over Geneva Lake. Flat Iron Park, 201 Wrigley Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis.,(262) 215-9112, venetianfest.com.
16th Annual Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival
Aug 16-18, 8 a.mm-4 p.m. Car show, parade, carnival, food court, live entertainment, arts & crafts show, more. Downtown Rochelle, Ill., lincolnhighwayheritagefestival.com
Oregon Park District Sprint Triathlon
Aug. 17, check-in 6 a.m.; race start 7:30 a.m. Ages 14 years/up. Swim segment at the Nash Recreation Center Indoor Pool. Bike and run courses will loop through the community and surrounding area. Info/registration: (815) 732-3101, oregonpark.org.
164th Walworth County Fair
Aug. 28-Sept. 2, 7 a.m.-midnight. Carnival, truck & tractor pulls, demolition derby. Grandstand entertainment includes The Oak Ridge Boys, The Beach Boys. Walworth County Fairgrounds, 411 Court Street E., Elkhorn, Wis. (262) 723-3228, walworthcountyfair.com.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Commemoration
Aug. 27, 6 p.m. Program commemorating the anniversary of the 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square, 114 E. Douglas St., Freeport, Ill. (815) 233-2255.