Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Rockford City Market
Through Sept. 29, Fri. 3:30-8:30 p.m. An open-air public market featuring locally grown and made items including vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, flowers, herbs and baked goods. Water Street at East State Street, Downtown Rockford, (815) 988-2825, rockfordcitymarket.com.
Edgebrook Farmers Market
Through Oct. 1, Wed. 9 a.m. Local farmers sell vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants as well as breads, artisan cheeses, maple syrup, honey, locally raised free-range meat and more. Edgebrook Shops, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com/events.
Lena Farmers Market
Through Oct. 14, Sat. 8-11 a.m. Enjoy this seasonal farmers market featuring a large variety of fresh, locally grown produce and locally made baked goods. 100 W. Main St., Lena, Ill., (815) 235-4125.
North End City Market
Through Oct. 28, Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Eat, shop and socialize at a market full of fresh, local products and food. Intersection of North Main and Auburn streets, Rockford, (815) 977-5124, rockfordcitymarket.com.
Living History at the Fort
Through Oct. 31, Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m. Interpreters garbed in 1830s-style dress create a visitor experience that is historically accurate, engaging, educational and entertaining. Apple River State Historic Site, 311 E. Myrtle St., Elizabeth, Ill., (815) 858-2221, appleriverfort.org.
Wilhelm Tell Festival
Sept. 1-3, see website for schedule. The 79th Tell celebration offers a weekend of authentic Swiss charm, including a children’s lantern parade, alphorns, yodel showcase, savory food and a street dance. Wilhelm Tell Grounds, W5199 Hwy. W, New Glarus, Wis., wilhelmtell.org.
Forest City Queen (FCQ) BBQ Cruise
Sept. 2 & 28, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 16, 6 p.m. Climb aboard the Forest City’s riverboat for good food and music. Disembarks from Riverview Park, 325 N. Madison St., Rockford, (815) 874-7576, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Garden Art Auction
Sept. 8, 5-7 p.m. Wander, relax and bid on an item in the summer Garden Art Display; proceeds go to sustain the gardens. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Festival on the Rock
Sept. 8-10, events daily. Festivities include carnival rides, food vendors, bags tournament, beer tent, live music. Saturday features a cardboard boat regatta during the day and fireworks at 8:30 p.m. Preservation Park, 3444 S. Riverside Dr., Beloit, festivalontherock.com.
Greek Fest 2017
Sept. 8-10, Fri. 5-11 p.m., Sat. noon-11 p.m., Sun. to 9 p.m. Enjoy dancing (both modern and traditional Greek), food, Greek and domestic beers and wines, baked goods, vendors and a raffle drawing. Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 108 N. 5th St., Rockford, (815) 963-8625, rockfordgreekfest.com.
FCQ Brunch Cruise
Sept. 9, 9 a.m. Enjoy the early morning hours on the Rock River, when wildlife is waking up and the sun is rising over the hills. Disembarks from Riverview Park, Rockford, (815) 874-7576, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Main Street Market
Sept. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The market features more than 100 vendors selling vintage and handmade goods. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Sept. 9, 10:30 a.m. Join bubble celebrity Geoffrey Akins for a live performance and sudsy science fun. Try your hand at bubble art in the Bubble-Palooza Playground after the show. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
AJG Japanese Mini Camp
Sept. 9, 1 p.m. Take an imaginary trip to Japan to learn about culture and customs. Try your hand at origami, design a rock garden, learn a traditional dance and taste Japanese snacks. For age 7 and up. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Paint the Port
Sept. 15, 3-8 p.m. Kids and adults are invited to create their own masterpieces, transforming city sidewalks on Chicago Avenue into more than 800 canvasses, using washable tempera paints. Proceeds support downtown facade improvement. Freeport Art Museum, 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
Forest Quest Scavenger Hunt
Sept. 15-16, Fri. 3:30 p.m. Get a team together for this competitive, 24-hour event that takes you off the beaten path to discover the wild secrets of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. Registration req. Severson Dells Forest Preserve, 8502 Montague Road, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com/scavenger-hunt.
Tour de Freeport
Sept. 16, 9 a.m.-noon. An artistic bike tour for all ages, including a seven-mile bike ride with art installations along the route. Tutty’s Crossing Trailhead, 250 E. Stephenson St., Freeport, (815) 232-9000, tourdefreeport.com.
In the Outdoors: 100 Years in the Trenches
Sept. 16, 1-3 p.m. Learn tips and tricks about how to pack a hiking backpack and what to do if you find yourself lost. Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford School Road, Rockford, (815) 874-7576, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Old World Foundation’s Oktoberfest
Sept. 16, 4-7 p.m. Celebrate Oktoberfest with games of skill, German entertainment, hearty food and beer. Old World Wisconsin (OWW), Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6300, oldworldwisconsin.wisconsinhistory.org.
Paddle the Pecatonica
Sept. 16-17, 10:30 a.m. Explore the beauty of the Pecatonica River on a three-mile kayak tour from downtown Freeport to the VFW. No experience necessary. Disembark from Tutty’s Crossing Trailhead, Freeport, (815) 232-9000, painttheport.com/destination-weekend.
New Glarus Oktoberfest
Sept. 22-24, events daily. Live music all weekend and New Glarus beers on tap. Downtown New Glarus, Wis., (608) 527-2095, swisstown.com.
Fall Prairie Harvest Day
Sept. 23, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Enjoy the end of summer with your family or group by collecting seeds from native wildflowers and grasses. Registration req. Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 964-6666, naturalland.org.
Fall Harvest & Art Festival
Sept. 23, noon-6 p.m. Enter the grape stomp competition, decorate pumpkins, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, watch artists paint in the vineyard, enjoy music with food and wine tasting. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, 4746 N. Ford Road, Galena, Ill., (815) 777-3330, galenacellars.com.
Autumn Pioneer Festival
Sept. 23-24, Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Travel back to the 1800s for a look at the lifestyles and crafts of the day. Visit the voyaguers’ encampment and talk to a flintknapper, watch a gunsmith, try buffalo stew, pioneer fries, bean soup and apple butter. Gustafson Nature Center, 603 N. Appleton Road, Belvidere, (815) 547-7939, bccdil.org.
World War II Days
Sept. 23-24, Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. The largest WWII re-enactment in the Midwest brings together 1,300 re-enactors and more than 60 authentic vehicles. Tour encampments, watch skirmishes and large-scale narrated battles, listen to lectures and musical performances. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Annual German celebration featuring live music, wiener dog races, polka dancing and lessons, German-style food and drink, bounce house and games for the kids. Galena Lions Club, Depot Park, 91 Bouthillier St., Galena, Ill., (815) 331-0180, galenalions.org.
Scarecrow Harvest Festival
Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Make your own scarecrow for your front porch using clothes from home or purchased on site; straw provided. Watch antique threshing and bailing demonstrations, learn to square dance, take a horse-drawn wagon ride and play old-fashioned games in the one-room school house. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Cider n’ Cinnamon
Oct. 7-8, Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. A Rockford art and craft tradition for more than 40 years. Vendors display a variety of art, jewelry, crafts, clothing, vintage decor and more. Enjoy food and live music both days. Edgebrook Shops, 1601 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
Train of Terror
Oct. 7-21, Sat. hourly 6-9 p.m. Ride the rails into a surreal realm haunted by ghosts, ghouls, vampires and zombies. Silver Creek Museum & Depot, 2954 S. Walnut, Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
Head of the Rock Regatta
Oct. 8, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. This decades-old race draws more than 2,000 rowers from across the country and more than 5,000 spectators to the banks of the Rock River. Watch along the river from Martin Park to the YMCA Log Lodge, 200 Y Blvd., Rockford, rockriverymca.org.
Autumn Leaf 5K Walk/Run
Oct. 14, 9 a.m.-11 a.m., Reg. 8-8:30 a.m. Walkers, runners and nature enthusiasts are invited to take part in a trail run/hike; proceeds fund tree replacement in parks. Freeport Park District, Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, (815) 235-6114, freeportparksfoundation.org.
Rogues and Ruffians
Oct. 14-15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Renaissance Faire performers entertain with music, juggling, axe and knife throwing. Visit crafters, artisans and food merchants. Location: Wilhelm Tell Grounds, New Glarus, Wis. Info: Shakespeare on the Edge, agatheringofroguesandruffians.com.
Frenchman’s Frolic Rendezvous
Oct. 21, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Talk with re-enactors participating in a pre-1840s frontier rendezvous of trappers, traders and Native Americans. Experience shooting matches, tomahawk and musket trading and a skillet throw. Macktown Center, Rockton, Ill., (815) 624-4200, macktownlivinghistory.com.
Victorian Village All Hallows Eve
Oct. 21, 2-8 p.m. Local businesses and organizations provide treats for visitors throughout the Village grounds. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Fall Colors Weekend
Oct. 21-22, 9 a.m. Guided hikes visit overlooks and canyons to view stunning October colors. Starved Rock State Park, Ill. Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill., (800) 868-7625, starvedrockstatepark.org.
Holidazzle Craft Show
Oct. 21-22, 10 am.-4 p.m. Visit more than 130 vendors featuring handcrafted items for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. 1st St., Pecatonica, Ill.,
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 25-29, events daily. Thousands of pumpkins decorate the courthouse lawn. Sample pumpkin pie, caramel apples and other fall favorites. Carnivals and indoor craft shows. Sycamore Courthouse & Downtown, 133 W. State St., Sycamore, sycamorepumpkinfestival.com.
All Aboard! Model Train Show
Nov. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Model train enthusiasts showcase a variety of model train sets and talk about collecting, preserving and assembling sets. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Evening of Illumination
Nov. 4, 6-8:30 p.m. Explore the Victorian Village by lantern light as costumed guides give tours and tell Victorian-era ghost stories; have a snack by the bonfire and make a lantern to take home. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Janesville Fall Festival
Nov. 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 90 vendors come together to help you get a head start on holiday shopping. The Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Dr., Janesville, (608) 531-0284, pontiaccc.com.
Nov. 15-Dec. 3, Tu.-Th. 1 & 3 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 1, 2 & 3 p.m. Kick off your holidays with a guided tour of the elegantly decorated mansion. Ellwood House Museum, 509 N. 1st St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-4609, ellwoodhouse.org.