Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
March 1, 8 & 15, Tues. 6-10 p.m. Compete in an individual-play Euchre tournament for prizes. Must be 18 or older. $15 entry fee. Starved Rock Lodge, IL Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill., (800) 868-7625, starvedrocklodge.com.
First Fridays in Downtown Rockford
March 4, 5 p.m.-midnight. Each month, downtown art galleries, shops, music and theater venues work together to stay open late and provide new art, music and goods. Downtown Rockford, (779) 537-5319, facebook.com/FirstFridaysRockford.
Irish Pub Night
March 4, 6 p.m. cash bar, 7-10 p.m. dinner and entertainment. Partake in a lively evening of Irish-themed music, food and fun in support of Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center programming. Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Dr. Seuss Family Fun Fair
March 4, 5:30-8 p.m. Northeast Family YMCA hosts the 2nd annual Dr. Seuss-themed fun fair. Proceeds benefit the Y’s annual campaign providing scholarships for local kids to partake in Y programs. Northeast Family YMCA, 8451 Orth Road, Loves Park, Ill., (815) 558-7939, rockriverymca.org.
Severson Dells March Madness
March 5, 9-11 a.m. Go on a hike, learn about birds, play games, make a craft, toast marshmallows. Kids ages 6-10. Registration req. Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford, (815) 335-2915, seversondells.org.
Rockford Rage Women’s Roller Derby
March 5, 7 p.m., doors 6 p.m. Help celebrate #decadeofderby as the Rage take on the Aurora 88s. MercyRockford Indoor Sports Center, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, Ill., facebook.com/pages/The-Rockford-Rage/20033303007108.
Open Snowboard Competition
March 5-6. Compete in Big Air, Rail Jam and Slopestyle snowboarding. Chestnut Mountain Resort, 8700 W. Chestnut Road, Galena, (815) 777-1320, chestnutmtn.com.
March 11-13. The 18th annual PaleoFest symposium attracts dino enthusiasts to listen and interact with some of the world’s most famous paleontologists. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org/event/paleofest-2016.
Owl Prowl Weekend
March 11-13, 6-8 p.m. Ornithologist Steve Bailey leads an owl program complete with owl specimens, feathers and pellets at 6 p.m., followed by an owl walk where he tries to call in screech, barred and great horned owls. Bring a flashlight. $10 adults/$7 children 10 & under. Reservations req. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7386. starvedrocklodge.com.
March 12, 10 a.m.-noon. Find out who is making all the tracks in the snow and mud by joining biologist/educator Greg Keilback for a hike of moderate difficulty and fun of extreme quality. Severson Dells Nature Center, Rockford, (815) 335-2915, seversondells.org.
McNulty Irish Dancers
March 12, 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the MucNulty Irish dancers, who captivate with powerful dances of Ireland including lively jigs, reels and other favorites. Rockford Public Library Main Branch, auditorium, 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Party
March 12, parade 3 p.m., party 4:30-8 p.m. Join The Irish Marching Society for a parade and after-party with Irish music, dancers and food. Prairie Street Brewhouse, 200 Prairie St., Rockford, (815) 218-8449, irishmarchingsociety.com.
Rockford RV, Camping & Travel Show
March 18-20, Fri. 2-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Take a look at the new 2016 RV models. The show has fifth wheels; travel trailers; class A, B & C motorhomes; pop-ups; toy haulers and even four-wheelers. MercyRockford Indoor Sports Center, Loves Park, Ill., (815) 997-1744, landroproductions.com.
Wine Lovers’ Weekend
March 18-20. Partake in the largest indoor wine-tasting event in Illinois, featuring more than 300 varieties of wine & spirits from across the U.S. Galena Convention Center, 900 Square Dr., Galena, (815) 747-6335, wineloversweekend.com.
Maple Sugar Festival
March 19, 9 a.m.-noon. Watch as experts tap maple trees and create syrup from sap, then enjoy an all-you-can-eat brunch. Big Hill Center, Beloit, (608) 361-1377, weltycenter.org.
March 19, shows from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Celebrate National Bubble Week with bubble-celebrity Geoffrey Akins’ live performances and sudsy science fun. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
March 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. OSF HealthCare brings an exciting, fun-filled day for the whole family featuring games, face painting, a bounce house, entertainment, vendors, more. Rock Valley College, Physical Education Center, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 399-3399, ext. 239.
Antique Appraisal Fair
March 19, noon-4 p.m. Find out what your favorite family heirloom is worth from well-known local appraiser and auctioneer Swan Hachmeister, of Hack’s Auction & Realty Services. Winnebago Public Library Community Room, 210 N. Elida St., Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-7050, winnebagopubliclibrary.org.
Canoe: The Post Canoe-a-copia Party
March 19, 1 p.m. View a multimedia show of five paddling adventures that you can take yourself. Severson Dells Nature Center, Rockford, seversondells.org.
18th Annual Spring Benefit
March 19, 5 p.m.-midnight. Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) is having a 60s/70s dance party with a battle of the bands. The party includes food and drinks, a costume contest and a silent auction. Tebala Event Center, 7910 Newburg Road, Rockford, ramiawards.com.
Old Timey Lantern Walk
March 21, 7-8:30 p.m. Join biologist/educator Greg Keilback for an evening walk to the dells by the light of oil lamps. Dress warmly and bring a thermos of your hot drink of choice. Severson Dells Nature Center, Rockford, (815) 335-2915, seversondells.org.
Ladies Garage Party
March 22, 6-9 p.m. Ever dreamed of learning to ride? Come to a fun evening of informal, yet educational, information geared toward women who have never driven a motorcycle and new lady riders who wish to know some basic facts about motorcycles. Kegel Harley-Davidson, 7125 Harrison Ave., Rockford, (815) 332-7125, kegelmotorcycles.com.
NLI Dinner & Award Presentation
March 24, 6-8 p.m. Land conservation supporters and community members can gather to eat, socialize and hear about the work of the Natural Land Institute. Artist and author Peggy Macnamara speaks and Randy Nyboer receives the George and Barbara Fell Award. $40. Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort, 700 W. Riverside Blvd., Rockford, (815) 964-6666, naturalland.org.
March 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Two museums join forces for an annual egg-stravaganza. Kids ages nine and under can look for eggs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., while children of all ages can create super springtime art and jump into egg-cellent fun. Discovery Center Museum and Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Rockford Meltfest 2016
March 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate the first Saturday in spring by joining in the celebration of the melting away of winter and the melting together of the community in this third annual family festival. Expect live music, a 5K run/walk, kids fun run, group bike ride, indoor venue, market vendors, kids activities, ice skating and trolley rides (weather permitting). Prairie Street Brewhouse, Rockford, meltfest.com.
The ‘Fintastic’ World of Fishes in Your Backyard
March 29, 7 p.m. Learn about the diversity, behaviors, ecologies and conservation of our regional fish. Call to register. Severson Dells Nature Center, Rockford, (815) 335-2915, seversondells.org.
First Fridays in Downtown Rockford
April 1, 5 p.m.-midnight. Each month, downtown art galleries, shops, music and theater venues work together to stay open late and provide new art, music and goods. Downtown Rockford, (779) 537-5319, facebook.com/FirstFridaysRockford.
April 2-3, Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore more than 50 Midwest dealers offering antiques from the early 1800s through the 1950s. Crystal and china repair services, appraisals and concessions available. Blackhawk Center, 1101 W. Jefferson St., Oregon, Ill., (815) 732-2219.
Thrifty Teen Fashion Show
April 3, 2 p.m. doors, 2:30 p.m. social hour, 3 p.m. show time. The second annual thrifty teen fashion show supports Keeping Families and Communities Together (KFACT). Young ladies from KFACT’s Lady All Stars Program model thrifty threads from various consignment and thrift stores in our area. Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, (815) 519-1072, eventbrite.com/d/il–rockford/kfact-thrifty-teen-fashion-show/?mode=search.
April 8, 7-11 p.m. Engage in a real paranormal investigation at the most active locations in Tinker Swiss Cottage. Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens, 411 Kent St., Rockford, (815) 964-2424, tinkercottage.com/paramormal.html.
The Great War: World War I
April 9-10, Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Engage in history with the opportunity to walk near encampments and tour a reproduction three-bunker trench, talk to more than 220 re-enactors about life as a soldier, learn about the various military equipment and combat techniques of this war, and watch large-scale narrated battle re-enactments. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Rockford Speedway Opening Day
April 9, open practice session 11 a.m., followed by Enduro race. The track comes to life for the first time in 2016, as all teams are invited to take part in an Open Practice Session. Rockford Speedway, 9572 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park, Ill., (815) 633-1500, rockfordspeedway.com.
Rockford Rage Women’s Roller Derby
April 16, 7 p.m., doors 6 p.m. Join the Rage in celebrating a #DecadeOfDerby by watching a great roller derby game. Afterwards, join the Rage and Desolation Row at Neighbors Bar & Grill for a killer afterparty. MercyRockford Indoor Sports Center, Loves Park, Ill., facebook.com/pages/The-Rockford-Rage/200333030087108.
Murder Mystery Night
April 16, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Dust off your flapper dress, zoot suits and Tommy guns and get ready for your Roaring Twenties Murder Mystery Party! Light refreshments will be served after the game is complete. Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens, Rockford, (815) 964-2424, tinkercottage.com/murder-mystery-night.html.
The Gathering at Macktown
April 23-24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Take a step back in time to experience American frontier life through the 1840s. Meet traders and trappers, French voyageurs and Native Americans. Tour original buildings on a national historic site and meet Stephen Mack as he shares his home with you. Plenty of hands-on activities, music and much more. Macktown Living History Center, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 624-4200, macktownlivinghistory.com.
YMCA Heritage Run
April 24, 1 p.m. Free kids’ race 12:30 p.m. YMCA Heritage Run presented by OSF HealthCare includes 10K (6.2 miles) and 2-mille races starting downtown and going through historic Rockford neighborhoods. The 32nd Heritage Run includes a free half-mile kids race and Healthy Kids activities. Starting point: West State & Wyman streets, Rockford, (779) 774-4428, rockriverymca.org/heritagerun/.
Pitney Place Open House Celebration
April 29, 4:30 p.m. To celebrate the opening of Pitney Place – a refuge of hope for women and children – come to an evening with a ribbon-cutting, open house tours and a celebration reception. Rockford Rescue Mission, 715 W. State St., Rockford, (815) 316-4176, rockfordrescuemission.org.