A great weekend’s journey is right inside our region. Here are some of our area’s excellent places to play.
All Hallows Eve
Oct. 28, 2-8 p.m. Trick or treating and children’s activities and crafts, with Village buildings decorated and waiting for young trick-or-treaters. $5/members free. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Oct. 29, 6-9 p.m. Bring your own gutted pumpkin to the program and learn how to use tools in new ways to create the pumpkin you’ve always wanted. Adults must accompany children under 12. 118 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, option 2, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
LOLTOS Spirited Ghost Tours
Oct. 30-31, 7-9 p.m. Experience first-hand accounts of the unexplained noises, scents & sightings within the historic theater during tours given by the Land of Lincoln Theatre Organ Society. $10; reservations required. Costumes optional. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Annual Fall Pancake Supper
Nov. 1, 3:30-7 p.m. All you can eat pancakes, sausage, applesauce, cheese and beverage, plus pies, cakes, cookies and breads individually priced for sale. Adults: $7; Children under 12: $3. Silvercreek Museum, 2954 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, (815) 235-2198, (815) 235-7329.
Fall Night Hike
Nov. 7, 7-8:30 p.m. Listen for the sounds of changing seasons and the last of the evening insects; learn about night vision and how our eyes can play tricks on us in the dark. Free. Jarrett Prairie Center, Byron Forest Preserve, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Veterans 5k Run & Walk
Nov. 8, registration 7:30 a.m., run 9 a.m. Run, walk, or just have fun in support of all the troops and veterans. USATF certified. Benefits the Veteran Drop-In Center. $25/$10 age 13 and under. Sinnissippi Bike Path near YMCA log house, 200 Y Blvd., Rockford, (815) 289-8386, facebook.com/VeteransDropIn5k.
Trinity United Methodist Church
50th Craft Show
Nov. 8, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Numerous vendors; bake sale; lunch available; door prizes. Trinity United Methodist Church, 2600 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport, (815) 233-0057
Northwest Illinois Rock Club’s Jewelry, Gem, Fossil And Mineral Show
Nov. 8-9, Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Midwest dealers with a variety of gemstones, minerals, fossils, jewelry, beads and holiday gifts. Demonstrations, games, speakers, more. Student/Conference Center, Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport. (815) 745-2228.
Galena Winter Farmers Market
Nov. 12, 4-7 p.m. Every second Wed. thru March. Winter vegetables, herbs and other goods and crafts. Galena Middle School, 1230 Franklin St., Galena, galenawintermarket.com.
Behind the Brew: Beer
Nov. 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Learn about various beers and the brewing process, then try samples. Presented by Rockford Brewing Co. Ages 21 & older. Info: Rockfordbrewingco.com. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, burpee.org.
Armory Fall Wine Festival
Nov. 15, 5-9 p.m. Dozens of wines available for tasting and purchase. Make reservations for The Armory’s special Wine Fest Wine Dinner. The Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 741-7400.
Winnebago Turkey Trot
Nov. 15, 8 a.m. Choice of 5K or 8K; age divisions. Winnebago High School, 304 E. McNair Road,
Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-3211, winnebagoparkdistrict.org.
Rockford Arts & Crafts Holiday Spectacular
Nov.15-16, Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. to 5 p.m. More than 100 crafters and artisans with a variety of handcrafted items for holiday decorating and gift-giving: jewelry, floral arrangements, woodcrafts, wearables, holiday décor, quilts, pottery, fine art, more. $4 one day/$6 both. Free parking; on-site restaurant. Indoor Sports Center, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, Ill. Landro Productions, (815) 997-1744.
Nov. 16, 2-4 p.m. Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab brings hawks, owls, falcons, harriers and eagles to this program about the many species in our area and the role they play at the top of nature’s food chain. Jarrett Priarie Center, Byron, byronforestpreserve.com.
Nov. 18, noon-4 p.m. Carolers, Santa, carriage rides, refreshments and special sales in stores decorated for the holidays; view entries in the Gingerbread House Contest at Freeport Public Library; raffle; silent auction. Benefits Freeport Downtown Development Foundation, the Salvation Army and the Freeport Area Church Cooperative. Downtown Freeport. (815) 232-9000, (815) 233-0013.
Holiday Tree Lighting & Open House
Nov. 21-22, Fri. tree lighting 5-7 p.m.; Sat. open house noon-4 p.m. Kick off the holiday shopping season; live entertainment; activities; more. Edgebrook, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
Ladies’ Day Out
Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Santa 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Gentlemen welcome; free gift wrapping; free admission. Local and home-based businesses selling everything from jewelry, clothing and women’s accessories to food, health & beauty products and kitchen items. Food drive, raffles. Fundraiser for the Lena Area Church Cooperative. Elementary School, 401 Fremont St., Lena, Ill., (815) 275-3997.
Nouveau Wine Weekend
Nov. 22-23, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Celebrate the French-inspired tradition of Nouveau, previewing a sampling of the vintage from the fall harvest of Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery’s Nouveau Wine. Special lunches with Nouveau wine at local restaurants; horse-drawn wagon deliveries down Main Street, more. Various downtown locations, Galena, Ill., (815) 777-3330, galenanouveauweekend.com.
Light Up the Parks Holiday Parade
Nov. 23, 4:45 p.m. parade start; 7 p.m. tree lighting. Parade leaves from Schneider Electric, 1354 Clifford Ave., travels north on Elm Avenue and ends at Roosevelt Road. Float awards given at the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Machesney Park Village Hall, 300 Machesney Road. (815) 633-3999, parkschamber.com.
20th Annual Illumination Ceremony
Nov. 24, 4:30 p.m. Kickoff of the annual six-week long Christmas in the Country Celebration. First lighting of more than 2 million lights on the slopes followed by fireworks; cookies; cider; live entertainment; mechanical holiday displays; more. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis., (262) 248-8811, grandgeneva.com.
Lighted Holiday Parade
Nov. 28, 5-8 p.m. tree lighting 6 p.m., parade 6:30 p.m. Santa makes his grand entry from a rooftop to light the tree; floats from businesses, civic organizations and families. Parade route starts at the 200 block of West Grand Avenue and ends at Horace White Park, Beloit. Santa taking requests at Turtle Creek Bookstore beginning at 7 p.m. Beloit, Wis., (608) 365-0150, visitbeloit.com.
Nov. 28-29, Indoor traditional German Christmas market, featuring Swiss artisans in scissor cutting, chip carving and wood carving, plus European arts, Swiss baked goods and many other handcrafted items. Swiss Samichlaus (Swiss version of Santa Claus) will be there to visit with children of all ages. Turner Hall, 1217 17th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-3461.
Picture Day at Midway Village Museum
Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Four locations in the Victorian-era Village will be decorated for the holidays to create beautiful photo opportunities for families and groups, with scenic backdrops and props. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Holiday Drop & Shop
Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations required. Drop off your child with a sack lunch, for a fun-filled day of holiday gift making, stories and games. $12 per child/$11 members. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112.
Stroll on State
Nov. 29, 4-10 p.m.. Holiday activities, decorations and delicious food at “Merry & Bright: A Downtown Holiday,” to celebrate the season. Free. Downtown Rockford along East State Street, gorockford.com/strollonstate.
Old-Fashioned Christmas in Galena
Nov. 29, 5:30 p.m. Santa arrives; 6 p.m. tree lighting. Visit with Santa and sign his book. Enjoy gift bags, hot cocoa, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and the sweet sound of Christmas music being sung by carolers. Old Market House, 123 N. Commerce St., Galena, (815) 777-9050.
East Troy Electric Railroad Christmas Express Train
Nov. 29-Dec. 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ride restored Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad cars on a jaunt from East Troy to Mukwonago. Heated Pullman cars decorated for the holidays, caroling, a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. East Troy Electric Railroad Museum, 2002 Church St., East Troy, Wis., 262-642-3263.
All Aglow Holiday Display
Nov. 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Festive holiday light and floral displays, live holiday music, and family fun activities, all in the warmth of the tropics. Included with admission. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 987-8858, nicholasconservatory.com.
Rockford Festival of Lights
Nov. 30-Dec. 28, 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Drive through Sinnissippi Park to view more than 50 spectacular lighted holiday displays created by local businesses and groups. Free/donation box at end. Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 494-2569, rockfordfireandice.com.
Dec. 5, 6 p.m. Lighted holiday parade featuring the arrival of Santa. Downtown Historic Courthouse Square, 1016 16th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 328-4023.
Miracle on 2nd Street
Dec. 5, 6-8:30 p.m. Horse-drawn carriage rides, live nativity scene, live entertainment, a visit with Santa, refreshments, all in downtown Byron transformed into a glittery wonderland. Downtown Byron, Ill., (815) 234-5500, byronchamber.org.
St. Nicholas Day
Dec. 6, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Christmas Cookie Walk includes brätzeli, cookies, and candy. These delicious treats go fast, so shop early. Swiss Church, 18 5th Ave, New Glarus, Wis., (608) 527-2119, swisschurch.org.
The Galena Territory Holiday House Walk
Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Self-guided tour of five beautiful homes decorated for the holiday season. Light refreshments and raffle will be held for unique handmade items by local crafters and quilters. Last ticket sales 2:30 p.m. $12. GTA Club House, 2000 Territory Dr., Galena, (815) 777-2000.
Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner
Dec. 6, 5-8 p.m. tour some of the most historic bed and breakfasts in Galena. Each course – appetizers, dinner, and desserts – is a delightful experience, along with lively conversation and stunning Christmas decor. Reservations recommended. Galena, Ill., (815) 777-0893, bestofgalena.com.
Annual Christmas Tea
Dec. 7, 1-4 p.m. Tour the historic 1857 Oscar Taylor home decorated in Christmas finery; enjoy music, homemade cookies with coffee, tea or punch. Stephenson County Historical Museum, 1440 S. Carroll Ave., Freeport. (815) 232-8419.
Downton Abbey-Style Holiday Tea
Dec. 7, 2-4 p.m. An afternoon tea in the tradition of Downton Abbey, with tea, sweets & savories, entertainment, party favor. Victorian attire encouraged. $35/reservations req. Chamberlain Hotel, Midway Village, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-8058 ext. 104, midwayvillage.com.
Luminaria Pub Crawl & Ugly Sweater Contest
Dec. 12, 6 p.m. Get registration card and collect a stamp from four pubs to be entered in Ugly Sweater Contest; one from each for the Lumincrawl Conest. Ugly Sweater Grand Prize, runners-up and door prizes. Start: Green Street Tavern, DeSoto House Hotel, 230 S. Main St, Galena, (815) 777-0090.
RBG: Holiday Light Show
Dec. 12-28, 4:30-9 p.m. Fri-Sun. Annual attraction featuring 330,000 lights, 90 specialty displays, animated displays, Santa visits, live reindeer, local musicians, large-scale model train display with over 200 feet of track, activities, holiday shopping, more. $5/$3 ages 3-15. RGB, Janesville, rotarygardens.org.
Dec. 14, Dusk to 9 p.m. Enjoy the beauty of the soft light of luminaries along these historic streets. Stephenson Street and Lincoln Boulevard, Freeport. (815) 232-6431.
Night of Luminaria
Dec. 14, 6-9 p.m. From Main Street to the hills overlooking the park, all of Galena will be glowing with more than 5,000 candle-lit luminaries on streets, steps and sidewalks. Extended shop hours. Downtown Galena, Ill., galenachamber.com.
Dec. 27, 7 p.m. With an 87-year legacy, the team entertains with hilarious hijinks and amazing basketball skills. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com