Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Rockford City Market
Through Oct. 2, Fri. 3:30 p.m. Local farmers, businesses and restaurants sell their products; live music; demonstrations; kids activities. Downtown Rockford, on Water and Market streets. Info: (815) 977-5124, rockfordcitymarket.com.
Propagating Conservative Natives to Support Restoration
June 18, 7-9 p.m. Find out how local plant growers are protecting northern Illinois native plants by propagating seeds for use in landscape restorations. Rock Valley College Woodward Technology Center, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 494-6977, fourriver.org.
Old Settlers Days
June 18-21, Thu.-Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 12:30-11 p.m., Sun. 1:30-9:30 p.m. Food vendors; beer tent; Sat. 5K run/walk; Sun. fireworks; live music performances, including Thomas Rhett, Chase Rice, Big & Rich, Sam Hunt. Settler’s Park, 200 Hawick St., Rockton, Ill., (815) 206-8525, oldsettlersdays.com.
June 19, 8 p.m. Join this night hike to look and listen for owls. Registration req. Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve, 16999 Comly Road, Seward, Ill., (815) 335-2915, winnebagoforest.org.
Great Galena Balloon Race
June 19-21. More than 20 hot air balloons, three races, night glows, car show, live music. Proceeds benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena, Ill., greatgalenaballoonrace.com.
Stephenson County Ag Breakfast
June 20, 6-10 a.m. Farm breakfast highlighting local agricultural producers. Includes entertainment, a petting zoo, craft show, games and more. $5/ages 5-under free. Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 S. Walnut, Freeport, (815) 864-2561, stephenson-county-il.org.
Canoe Tours to Castle Rock State Park
June 20, 8:30 a.m.-noon. View the area’s many sandstone rock formations and miles of hardwood forest. Ages 6 and up. $10. Reg. by June 14. Oregon Park East, 304 S. 5th St., Oregon, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Animal Day for Families
June 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Help the crew milk goats, feed horses and gather eggs. Make goat’s milk ice cream. $20. Angelic Organics Learning Center, 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, Ill., (312) 243-5151, www.learngrowconnect.org.
Bloomin’ on the Rock
June 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Garden fair, tours of the historic log cabin, presentations by speakers on garden topics every hour, garden-related vendors, music & treats. $70 for gourmet dinner. Lincoln Statue Dr./Downtown Riverwalk, Dixon, Ill., (815) 284-3496, discoverdixon.org/tourism.
Juneteenth Community Freedom Festival
June 20, noon-3 p.m. Live entertainment, children’s fun fair, Juneteenth history trailer, freedom quilts, community market. Propheter Park, 506 E. 6th St., Sterling, Ill., (815) 625-4500, rockfallschamber.com.
Prairies Wildflower Hike
June 25, 6 p.m. Join Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County board members on a visit to an 83-acre prairie. Wildflowers include pale purple coneflowers, sand milkweeds. Sand Ridge Prairie, 2879 S. Daysville Road, Oregon, Ill., (815) 238-2683, fourriver.org.
Hospice of the Rock River Valley 13th Annual Memorial Golf Outing
June 26, registration & lunch noon; tee-off 1 p.m. Benefiting Hospice care for the terminally ill and honoring the memory of our loved ones. $75. Emerald Hill Golf Course, 16802 Prairieville Road, Sterling, Ill., (815) 288-3673, rockfallschamber.com.
Tour for Cancer
June 27, 7 a.m. Bicycle tour of Northwest Illinois to benefit the FHN Ferguson Cancer Center. Choose from 105-, 75-, 30- and 20-mile routes. In lieu of a registration fee, donations to the FHN Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center are gratefully accepted. Family YMCA of Northwest Illinois, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport, (815) 990-9396, stephenson-county-il.org.
Pretzel City 5K
June 27, 8 a.m. Runners and walkers of all abilities are welcome. Course consists of flat roadways and paths through Krape Park. $25 reg. by June 19 (includes a T-shirt); $30 race day. Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Blvd., Freeport, (815) 235-6114, stephenson-county-il.org.
Family Nature Day at Nygren Wetlands
June 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Explore the natural prairies, wetlands, streams and forests found in this private wildlife refuge. Registration req. Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 964-6666, fourriver.org.
Cedarville Summer Celebration
June 27, 4-8 p.m. Free hot dogs and pop; children’s games; firemen’s water fights; craft show; cake walk; fireworks at dusk. 430 W. Washington St., Cedarville, Ill., (815) 563-4302, stephenson-county-il.org.
Fifth Annual Krueger Pool Triathlon
June 28, 8 a.m. Race in a 400-yard swim, 14-mile bike ride, and 5K run. Proceeds benefit the Beloit natatorium. Krueger Pool, 1700 Hackett St., Beloit, (608) 365-4838, visitbeloit.com.
Union Dairy Family Day
June 28, time TBA. Dairy Days Parade, bounce house, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting. Union Dairy, 126 E. Douglas St., Freeport, (815) 232-7099, stephenson-county-il.org.
An Alaska Tour – Gary Gullett
June 30, 7 p.m. Learn about Alaska’s environment and view wildlife and nature photos from Byron resident Gary Gullett. Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford, (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
Rockton River Market
July 1, 4-8 p.m. Shop for handmade items, fruits and vegetables. Live music by Shades of Blue. Settler’s Park, 200 Hawick St., Rockton, Ill., (608) 365-4838, visitbeloit.com.
51st Annual Dixon Petunia Festival
July 1-5, daily. Carnival, live music, fireworks, art show, outdoor movie, ice cream social. Dixon High School Parking Lot & Dixon Riverfront, Dixon, Ill., (815) 284-3361, petuniafestival.org.
8 Miles of Ag-Tiques
July 3-5, daily. All kinds of tractors and machinery, including John Deere, Farmall and Minneapolis-Moline. Crafts, food and tractor drives. Hwy. 26, Orangeville to Monroe, Wis., (815) 789-4570, stephenson-county-il.org.
MELD July 4th Classic Run
July 4, Runs 7 & 7:05 a.m.; walk 8 a.m. 8K or 2-mile run, 1-mile walk. Riverview Ice House, 324 N. Madison St., Rockford, (815) 494-2569, rockfordfireandice.com.
Independence Day on the Rock
July 4, 2 p.m. Anything-that-floats contest, Janesville Idol, beer tent, food fair, inflatable bounce houses. Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show, 7 p.m.; fireworks at dusk. Traxler Park, 600 N. Main St., Janesville, (608) 757-3171, janesvillecvb.com.
July 10-12, daily. Citywide event centered in downtown, with carnival, live entertainment, Taste of Byron, more. Downtown Byron, Ill. Info: Byron Chamber, (815) 234-5500, byronparkdistrict.com.
Pedal for Paws
July 11, 7 a.m. The Purrfect Bike Tour! Net proceeds will be used to provide food, shelter and health care to the shelter animals. Begin/end at Tofflers Pub and Grill, 200 5th Ave., New Glarus, Wis., (608) 325-9600, greencountyhumane.org.
July 11, 9:30-11 a.m. Fun family fossil hunt. Registration req. Pecatonica River Forest Preserve, 7260 Judd Road, Pecatonica, Ill., (815) 335-2915, winnebagoforest.org.
Gardens United Garden Walk
July 11-12, Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m. Walk through some of the finest gardens in Freeport and the surrounding area. Grand prize drawing and silent auction. $10. Throughout the Freeport area. Info: (815) 233-4357, stephenson-county-il.org.
Lafayette County Fair
July 15-19, daily. FFA and 4-H exhibits/judging, tractor pull, carnival, stock car races, entertainment. Lafayette County Fairgrounds, 701 E. Louisa St., Darlington, Wis., (608) 776-4828, lafayettecountyfair.org.
Alpine Kiwanis Brat Days
July 17-18, Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. All proceeds benefit local nonprofits. Sponsored by Alpine Kiwanis organization. Three Rockford locations: Edgebrook, 1639 N. Alpine Road; Schnucks, N. Alpine & Harlem roads; Schnucks, 6410 E. State St. Live music. Info: (815) 979-5249, alpinekiwanis-il.com.
Ice Cream Social and Artists in the Park
July 19, noon-4 p.m. Ice cream, cake, chips & beverages; artists displaying their work; music by The Mill Road Band. Beckman Mill, 8606 S. County Road H, Beloit, (608) 751-1551, beckmanmill.org.
July 20-27, daily. Events all week: live music, carnival, farmers market, Fri. parade, Sat. bacon festival, car show, Sun. wild west shootout. Downtown DeKalb, Ill. Info: (815) 756-1263, kishwaukeefestival.com.
Green County Fair
July 22-26, daily. Youth exhibits, animal shows & auctions, entertainment, food stands, carnival. Green County Fairgrounds, 2600 10th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-9159, greencountyfair.net.
Lee County 4-H Fair and Jr. Show
July 23-26, daily. Young exhibitors show off their projects. Events for all ages. $5/ages 12-under free. Lee County 4-H Center & Fairgrounds, 1196 Franklin Road, Amboy, Ill., (815) 857-2603, leecountytourism.com.
Charity Challenge Home Run Derby
July 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nonprofits, schools and churches try to break the record for the most home runs in one hour, to raise money. Little Cubs Field, 1160 W. Empire, Freeport, (815) 235-5318, stephenson-county-il.org.
July 31, Aug. 1-2, Fri. 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Sat. noon-11 p.m., Sun. noon-8:30 p.m. Authentic Italian food, music & folk dancing; carnival; kids’ activities. Boylan High School, 4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford. Info: (815) 636-2902, griaa.com.
Green Iron Days
July 31-Aug. 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Large display of John Deere tractors and equipment. $5/ages 12-under free. John Deere Historic Site, 8334 S. Clinton St., Dixon, Ill., (815) 652-4551, leecountytourism.com.
Franklin Grove Summer Harvest Festival & LHAEA Antique Tractor Show
July 31-Aug. 2, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Art show at the library, town-wide garage sales, Big Rig Show, parade, food vendors, more. Franklin Grove, Ill., (815) 456-3030, chaplincreek.com.
Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary Tour-Diverse Habitats
Aug. 1, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn about unique sanctuary habitats. Trip includes hiking and species identification in the field. $6 for lunch, $10 for tour (includes snacks and water). Amboy Marsh, U.S. 52, Amboy, Ill., (217) 544-2473, illinoisaudobon.org.
Aug. 1, 4-10 p.m. An old-fashioned cruise through downtown. Live music, food and contests. $12 for reserved parking; $10 for non-reserved parking; free for cruise only. Downtown Freeport, (815) 233-1357, stephenson-county-il.org.
Disc Golf Tournament
Aug. 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Open disc golf tournament. Sponsored by Janesville Leisure Services and Lifetime Disc Golf. Reg. through www.iRegisteredOnline.com. Lustig Park, 1500 River View Dr., Janesville, Wis., (608) 757-3171, janesvillecvb.com.
Aug. 2, 1:30 p.m. Swiss Independence Day celebration. Tell Shooting Park, Cty. O, New Glarus, Wis., (608) 328-1838, greencounty.org.
Carroll County Fair
Aug. 4-8. Ag Olympics, demolition derby, Funky Monkey Wrestling. Performer Dustin Lynch. Carroll County Fairgrounds, Schell Park, 28374 Milledgeville Road, Milledgeville, Ill., carrollcountyfair.info.
Sidewalk Sales & Street Dance
Aug. 7-8, Fri. 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sidewalk sales, live bands, dancing, Sat. farmers’ market. Downtown Beloit, (608) 365-4838, visitbeloit.com.
Relay for Life
Aug. 7, 5 p.m. Survivor reception, survivor and caregiver laps, remembrance and Fight Back ceremonies, all-night activities. On-site registration for teams or individuals. Rock County Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave., Janesville, Wis., (608) 662-7551, janesvillecvb.com.
Boone County Fair
Aug. 5-10. Truck/tractor pulls, Next-Level Pro Bull Riding, demolition derby. Grandstand Stage performers include Josh Turner. Boone County Fairgrounds, 8791 Ill. Rt. 76, Belvidere, boonecountyfair.com.
The Local: Burpee Summer Festival
Aug. 15, 6 p.m. Sample unique pairings from area breweries, wineries and restaurants; prize to pairing with most votes. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, burpee.org.
Aug. 15-16, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Food, music and fun with a horse-and-buggy parade, trail ride through the Loran Hills, crafts and more. Slurp and Burp, 4319 S. Loran Road, Loran, Ill., (815) 821-4852, stephenson-county-il.org.
Rotary Corn Roast & Mud Volleyball
Aug. 15, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Annual mud volleyball tournament, food vendors, free sweet corn, games, live music. $1 in advance/$2 at gate. Traxler Park, 600 N. Main St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 756-4591, janesvillecvb.com.
Winnebago County Fair
Aug. 18-23. Carnival, midway, 4-H judging/exhibits, semi-tractor pull, pro rodeo. Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. 1st St., Pecatonica, Ill., winnebagocountyfair.com.
Astronomy at Cadiz Springs
Aug. 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Join park staff in identifying star groups with a telescope. Cadiz Springs State Rec Area, N2241 Cadiz Springs Road, Browntown, Wis., (608) 214-1716, cadizsprings.com.
Aug. 22, live music 3 p.m., military ceremony 5 p.m. Food, beer garden, raffle. Kutter Harley-Davidson, 3223 N. Pontiac Dr., Janesville, (608) 757-0880, janesvillecvb.com.
Lakefest & Sugar River Triathlon
Aug. 22. Family fun in the park featuring local foods and brews, activities for kids, entertainment, pontoon rides, triathlon. Belleville, Wis., (608) 328-1838, greencounty.org.
Hayride in the Park
Aug. 27, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Enjoy a scenic tour of Riverside Park while riding on a hay wagon, and eat s’mores at a campfire. $3. Riverside Park South Pavilion, 2600 Parkside Dr., Janesville, (608) 757-3171, janesvillecvb.com.
Aug. 27, 7 p.m. Annual program to commemorate the historic 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square, 114 E. Douglas St., Freeport, (815) 975-7631, stephenson-county-il.org.
Amboy Depot Days & Depot Days Car Show
Aug. 27-30, daily. Live music, carnival, food. Depot Days Car Show on Sun. Amboy Depot, 50 S. East Ave., and downtown Amboy, Ill., (815) 857-3814, leecountytourism.com.
Westgate Block Party
Aug. 29, 4-8 p.m. Games, food, music, fireworks at dusk. Bond Park, 201 N. Oakhill, Janesville, (608) 757-3171, janesvillecvb.com.