Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Edgebrook Farmers Market
Through Oct. 25, Wed. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Local farmers sell vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants as well as breads, artisan cheeses, maple syrup, honey, locally raised free-range meat, more. Edgebrook Shops, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com/events.
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.
Oct. 6, Nov. 3. On the first Friday of the month, art galleries, shops, music and theater venues stay open late. Various locations in downtown Rockford, (779) 537-5319.
AJG Ikebana & Chanoyu
Oct. 8-9, 11 a.m.-noon & 2-3 p.m. Learn about Ikebana, traditional Japanese flower arranging, and Chanouyu, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Reg. req. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Civil War and Governor Hoard Day
Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Commemorate Governor W.D. Hoard’s life, Civil War service and contributions to the state. Hoard Historical Museum, 401 Whitewater Ave., Fort Atkinson, Wis., (920) 563-7769, hoardmuseum.org.
Rockford City Dance Festival
Oct. 13-14, 7:30 p.m. Now in its fourth year, the festival brings together professional and pre-professional dance companies from Rockford and the surrounding area, performing original ballet and modern dance. Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
Oct. 13 & 27, 7 p.m. Haunted Rockford team shares its favorite tales of paranormal encounters and local legends. Tour follows. Tickets: hauntedrockford.com. Tinker Swiss Cottage, 411 Kent St., Rockford, (815) 964-2424, tinkercottage.com.
Guided Canoe Tour
Oct. 14, 8:30 a.m. This two-hour tour of the Rock River goes from Castle Rock State Park to Grand Detour, past unique sandstone rock formations and miles of hardwood forest. Reg. online. Ages 12 and up. Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Fall Foliage Float
Oct. 14, 9 a.m. Enjoy a morning canoe paddle and the colors of fall. Location will be determined the week of the event. Reg. online. Severson Dells Nature Center, 8502 Montague Road, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
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. Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, (815) 235-6114, freeportparksfoundation.org.
Midway Village Saturday Series
Oct. 14, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Travel to far-off Mongolia to look at its culture, religion and traditions. Make a mask used to scare away bad spirits in traditional folklore. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Chill at Oak Hill
Oct. 18-20, 5 p.m. Tour Janesville’s largest cemetery and hear stories of mystery and mayhem, all about past residents of Rock County. Oak Hill Cemetery, 1725 N. Washington St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 756-4509, rchs.us.
Spirits in the Night: The Tallman Crypt
Oct. 19-28, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. What evil lies behind the legend of dark rituals and strange disappearances at the old mansion? Find out on this tour. Age 13 and up. Wilson King Stone House, 915 Mineral Point Ave., Janesville, Wis. (608) 756-4509, rchs.us.
Halloween Legends and Lore
Oct. 20-21 & 27-28, 4-9 p.m. Celebrate the folk and fairytales of the Old World as well as Wisconsin ghost stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Explore mazes, flee ghosts or dance in the enchanted fairy circle; top off the evening with a bonfire finale. Old World Wisconsin (OWW), W372 S9727, Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6300, oldworldwisconsinwisconsinhistory.org.
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. Macktown Forest Preserve, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 624-4200, macktownlivinghistory.com.
Outdoor Skills: Fire by Friction
Oct. 21, 10 a.m.-noon. Kids ages 10 to 16 years are invited learn how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together. Registration req. Severson Dells Nature Center, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
All Hallows Eve
Oct. 21, 2-8 p.m. Dress up the family in costumes and trick-or-treat in the Victorian village, enjoy crafts, games and dancing. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
5th Annual Holidazzle Craft Show
Oct. 21-22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 150 vendors display Halloween and Christmas decor. Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. 1st St., Pecatonica, Ill., (815) 239-1641, winnebagocountyfair.com.
Trick or Trot 5K Run/Walk
Oct. 22, 8:30 a.m. run, 8:40 a.m. walk. Participants run or walk through the historic village; prizes given for top runners and best Halloween costume (family-friendly). Reg. online. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 25-29, events daily. Thousands of pumpkins, painted or carved for judging, decorate the courthouse lawn. Sample pumpkin pie, caramel apples and other fall favorites. Carnivals and indoor craft shows. Downtown Sycamore, sycamorepumpkinfestival.com.
Slithering Snakes and Creepy Crawlers
Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn about those creatures that may make our skin crawl, but that keep our world in balance, and their neighbors that slide through the night. Severson Dells Nature Center, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
AJG Spook-Tacular Haunts
Oct. 28, 3-5 p.m. Children are invited to put on their costumes and explore the gardens in a spooky way that’s fun for the whole family. Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Haunted Halloween Night Hikes
Oct. 28, 5 & 6 p.m. Hike with a naturalist to the top of Starved Rock. Hear haunted tales and meet the Pink Lady. Starved Rock State Park, Ill. Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill., (815) 667-4726, starvedrockstatepark.org.
Model Train Show
Nov. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Model train enthusiasts showcase train sets and talk about collecting, preserving and assembling. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Evening of Illumination
Nov. 4, 6-8:30 p.m. Take a guided tour of the Victorian Village by lantern, hear Victorian-era ghost stories, enjoy a snack by the bonfire, make lanterns to take home, and enjoy a magic lantern show. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Fall Night Hike
Nov. 4, 7-8:30 p.m. Listen for the sounds of the season and learn about the ways our eyes play tricks on us in the dark. Then, use an observatory telescope. Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Nov. 5, 1-4 p.m. Newton’s laws of motion rule as a giant trebuchet transforms jack-o’-lanterns into pumpkin projectiles. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Family Outdoor Skills – Shelter Building
Nov. 11, 10 a.m.-noon. Head to the woods and make a waterproof shelter that will keep the family snug. Best for children ages 6 and up. Reg. req. Severson Dells Nature Center, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
Speakeasy Murder Mystery
Nov. 11, 6 p.m. It’s the Roaring Twenties – the era of Prohibition, flapper dresses, zoot suits and Tommy guns. Tension is running high between gangsters and the police, so watch your back. Tinker Swiss Cottage, Rockford, (815) 964-2424, tinkercottage.com.
Jewelry, Gem, Fossil and Mineral Show
Nov. 11-12, Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Midwest dealers showcase their specialties; lapidary demonstrations and a children’s area. Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport, (815) 745-2228, stephenson-county-il.org.
Nov. 15-Dec. 3, Tue.-Thu. 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 & Park, 509 N. 1st St., DeKalb, (815) 756-4609, ellwoodhouse.org.
Edgebrook Tree Lighting
Nov. 17, 5 p.m. Local choirs entertain with holiday carols while waiting for the countdown to the tree lighting. Edgebrook, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
Annual Nouveau Weekend
Nov. 17-18, Fri. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Celebrate the French-inspired tradition of sampling the vintage from the fall harvest. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, 515 S. Main, Galena, Ill., (800) 397-9463, galenacellers.com.
Midway Village Saturday Series
Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Learn about Thailand’s language, music, food and culture. Create floating flower baskets used to celebrate on the night of the full moon. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Nov. 24-25, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. A German tradition dating to the 14th century, the Christkindlmarkt features unique items for holiday gift giving. Turner Hall of Monroe, 1217 17th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-3461, turnerhallofmonroe.org.
Nov. 25, 3-8 p.m. Enjoy a small-town Christmas evening that includes horse-drawn wagon rides, a visit from Santa, candy cane lane, reindeer, entertainment and a winter carnival. Coliseum, Nash Rec Center and Downtown Oregon, Ill., candlelightwalk.org.
Holiday Light Show
Nov. 24-25 (preview show), Dec. 8-10, 14-23, 26-27, 4-8 p.m. The garden paths are brought to life with dazzling display lights and decorated trees. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Stroll on State
Nov. 25, 3-9 p.m. Join with family and friends as downtown Rockford transforms into a magical winter wonderland. See blocks of ice transform into works of art, enjoy holiday concerts, lighting of the city’s Christmas tree, ice skating, dining and shopping. Location: Downtown Rockford. Info: (815) 963-8111, strollonstate.com.
Victorian Holiday Tea
Dec. 2, 2-4 p.m. Dine in style at the Village’s Chamberlain hotel, sampling goodies popular in the 1800s. Reg. req. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Adult Night at the Museum
Dec. 2, 7 p.m. Don your most comfortable clothes (or ugly sweater), connect with friends for cocktails and watch a silly holiday film. Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center, 426 N. Jackson St., Janesville, (608) 756-4509, rchs.us.