The Rock Aqua Jays (RAJ) will host teams from Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa at the Mercury Marine Open Water Ski Show Tournament, June 23-24, at Traxler Park, in Janesville. The RAJ Stadium will once again be filled with competitors and spectators for the National Water Ski Show Tournament, Aug. 10-12. Also, see free shows by RAJ on Wed. & Sun. evenings, June-August, at Traxler Park. (Gua Jianhui photo)

Events at a Glance: Recreation & Destinations Calendar

There’s so much to do in our region of the Old Northwest Territory! Here’s a sample of our recration and destionation events

The Rock Aqua Jays (RAJ) will host teams from Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa at the Mercury Marine Open Water Ski Show Tournament, June 23-24, at Traxler Park, in Janesville. The RAJ Stadium will once again be filled with competitors and spectators for the National Water Ski Show Tournament, Aug. 10-12. Also, see free shows by RAJ on Wed. & Sun. evenings, June-August, at Traxler Park. (Gua Jianhui photo)


Tri-States Beer Can & Breweriana Show
June 1-2, Fri. 5 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Riverfront Pavilion, Eagle Point Park, Dubuque, Iowa. Contact Dave Wendl, (651) 731-9573, [email protected].
Garden Fair
June 1-3, Fri. noon-8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Outdoor marketplace featuring garden/nature products from vendors across the Midwest. Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford,
Annual Take a Kid Fishing Day
June 2, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sponsors: Leisure Services & Blackhawk Musky Club. Contest, prizes, concessions. BYO rod/reel/bait. Special no-license event. Traxler Park Lagoon, 600 N. Main St., Janesville, Wis. Leisure Services: (608) 755-3030,
Rockford AirFest
June 2-3, daily. This year’s aerial performers include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute teams, Black Diamond Jet Team, Aerostars aerobatic demo team. Static displays: Sikorsky Sea Dragon, Lockheed Shooting Star, F-5E Tiger II. Chicago Rockford International Airport, Airport Dr., Rockford,
Rock Aqua Jays (RAJ) Water Ski Shows
June 6-Aug. 8, 7 p.m.; Aug. 12-29, 6:30 p.m. Wed. & Sun., weather permitting. Free. No Sun. shows on tourny weekends. Traxler Park, RAJ Stadium, 600 N. Main St.,
Janesville, Wis.
Rockford Ski Broncs Water Ski Shows
June 6-Aug. 3, 7 p.m.; Aug. 10-31, 6:30 p.m., weather permitting. Free. Shorewood Park, East Avenue, Loves Park, Ill.,
“I’m Telling” Storytelling Weekend
June 8-10, daily. Workshops for all ages, expert storytellers, Story Exchange, more. Free; donations welcome. Fox Ridge, south of Lodge entrance, Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock State Park, Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill. (815) 220-7386,
Dixon Catfish Tournament
June 9, 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $10K Super Event on Cabela’s “King-Kat Trail.” Two-person teams compete. $200/team. Page Park, Rock River, Dixon, Ill., (815) 285-3045, (815) 284-3496,,
1900 America Chautauqua
June 9-10, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Period characters, sharp-shooting, trick riding, medicine shows, Spanish-American War encampment, activities, vendors. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford (815) 397-9112,
Historic Cemetery Walk
June 9-10, 16, 2-4:30 p.m. Costumed reenactors portray past Galena residents in this historic cemetery, as they escort visitors to the gravesites and present their compelling stories. Greenwood Cemetery, Gear Street, Galena, Ill. Seated performances held at 8 p.m., Grace Episcopal Church, 309 Hill St., Galena.
Land & Water Cruises
June 11-Sept. 24, 11 am.-3:15 p.m. Mon. Hot lunch buffet, trolley ride, mule-pulled canal boat ride with costumed interpreters. Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock State Park, Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill. (815) 220-7386,
10th Great Galena Balloon Race
June 15-17, Fri 6 p.m.; 6 a.m. daily. Over 20 hot air balloons, races, night glows, tethered rides, car show, live music. Benefits Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena,
YWCA Pancake Run
June 16, 8 a.m. USATF-certified 5K race. Fitness Walk, Kids Fun Run, pancake breakfast, awards. Rock County Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave., Janesville, Wis. (608) 752-5445 ext. 206,
Midsummer Festival
June 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. entertainers, children’s activities, Maypole dancing, Swedish food. Erlander Home Museum, 404 S. 3rd St., Rockford, (815) 966-1218,
World War II Living History Display
June 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. WW II bivouac with interpreters, 1942 Chevy Troop Carrier like those built in Janesville, house tours. Free. Lincoln-Tallman House Grounds, 426 N. Jackson St., Janesville, Wis. (608) 756-4509,
Art in the Garden
June 20, noon-8 p.m. Self-guided tour of 10 diverse Rockford-area gardens. Maps at various garden centers and online. Free. Council of Rockford Gardeners,
Amerivespa Scooter Rally
June 21-24, 9 a.m. Largest U.S. rally, now in its 20th year. Great rides, Reggae Party, dinner banquet, scooter games, world-record attempt for Longest Scooter Parade. Midwest Action Cycle, 251 Host Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis., (262) 249-0600,
Heidi Festival/Taste of New Glarus
June 22-24, Fri. 5 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m. Food, entertainment, music, sidewalk displays, craft fair, live dramatization of Johanna Spyri’s children’s classic, Heidi. Downtown New Glarus, Wis.
Heritage Day Belvidere
June 23, all-day event. Food, craft vendors, children’s activities, parade at 4 p.m., fireworks. Downtown Belvidere, Ill.
Mercury Marine Open Water Ski Show Tournament
June 23-24, 8 a.m. See pyramids, barefoot skiers, ski jumps, ballet lines, doubles, swivels. Free. Traxler Park, RAJ Stadium, Janesville, Wis.
Big Foot Triathlon
June 24, 7-11 a.m. Athletes swim in crystal-clear Geneva Lake, bike the rolling hills of Lake Geneva and run through majestic Big Foot State Park. Both sprint and Olympic USAT certified distances. Big Foot Beach State Park, 1550 S. Lake Shore Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis. (847) 254-2207,
Midway Village Victorian Tea
June 24, 2-4 p.m. Authentic period entertainment, tea, sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, party favor. $35/$30 members. Reservations req. Chamberlain Hotel, Midway Village Museum, Rockford,
Rockin’ for the Reptiles
June 30, noon-5 p.m. Games, live music, food and lots of live reptiles. $5/person (ages 3 and up), available at the door. Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State St., Sycamore, Ill., (815) 895-9777,
Freedom Fest
June 30, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Family-friendly, alcohol-free. Carnival rides, inflatable obstacle course, bungee run, video game tent, parents’ tent, live music, fireworks. New Life Assembly of God, 2416 N. Wright Road, Janesville, Wis. (608) 756-4175,


48th Dixon Petunia Festival
July 3-8, events daily. Carnival, flea market, art show, talent show, sports tourneys, live entertainment, fireworks, Sun. parade. Page Park & Dixon Riverfront, Dixon, Ill. (815) 284-3361,
Heritage Days at Rollo Jamison Museum
July 4, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Platteville, Wis. Special demonstrations, music, period children’s games and food stands. (608) 348-3301.
The 13th Annual Reagan 5K Run/Walk
July 7, 8 a.m. Held each year in conjunction with the Dixon Petunia Festival. Race day registration 6:30-7:30 a.m., Haymarket Square, 255 Highland Ave. Free Kid’s Fun Run, 7:30 a.m. Starts at Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home, 810 S. Hennepin Ave., Dixon, Ill. Race forms:
July 13-15, daily. Citywide event centered in downtown, with carnival, live entertainment, Taste of Byron, more. Byron, Ill. Byron Chamber, (815) 234-5500,
K9 Carnival
July 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Demos: Rescue Newfies, agility, Janesville K9 Unit, more. Games for you and your dog, animal-related vendors, raffles, prizes. Free; nominal fees for some activities. Proceeds benefit needy Rock County dogs. Camp Rotamer, 5245 E. Rotamer Road, Janesville, Wis. (608) 201-9786.
Whiteside County Barn Tour
July 14-15, 9 a.m. Visit iconic features of our rural landscape. $20 per vehicle. Lunch provided by Cattleman’s Association. Starts at Prophetstown State Park; follow signs in Prophetstown, Ill. Info: Whiteside County Farm Bureau, (815) 772-2165,
Old-Fashioned Farm Fair
July 14-15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Games, pie-eating contest, world’s tallest farmer, East Troy Electric Railroad rides depot. Farm-fresh roasted corn, grilled brats/hot dogs, ice cream with hand-rolled waffle cones. Free. The Elegant Farmer, 1545 Main St., Mukwonago, Wis. (262) 363-6770,
Mid-Summer Wheels Festival
July 14-15, Sat. 6 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Beer tent, live music, cruise night, tractors, cars, wagons, carriages – all things wheels. Poplar Grove Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum, 5151 Orth Road, Poplar Grove, Ill. (815) 547-3115,
Rockford ProAm
July 16, 7:30 a.m. gates open; 10:15 tee-off. Nation’s longest-running pro-am not associated with a pro tournament. Pros include Kenny Perry, Stacy Lewis, D.A. Points. $5 at gate. Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park, Ill., (815) 877-5733.
Home Garden Tour
July 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sponsored by Rotary Botanical Gardens. See some of the area’s most beautiful private gardens created by home gardeners, and gather ideas for your own landscape. Homes will also feature live music from local musicians. Various locations in Janesville, Wis. (608) 752-3885,
Beloit’s 1st Half Marathon
July 21, 7 a.m. Inaugural event. Begins and ends at Beloit Snappers Baseball Stadium and moves through both Beloit and Turtle townships. It includes a Fitness Expo, a half marathon, 5K run and Kids Fun Run. Family-friendly event. Awards to top three places, all races. Sponsored by Rapid Running Event Management Info/registration: Snapper Stadium, 2301 Skyline Dr., Beloit, Wis.
Warbirds Over Whiteside
July 21-22, 9 a.m. Gathering of vintage and current aircraft. Special flight formations, food vendors. $5/person; $10/carload. Whiteside County Airport, 10950 Hoover Road, Rock Falls, Ill. (815) 380-2300,
Tobacco Heritage Days
July 20-22, daily. Celebrate Edgerton’s heritage with community-wide events: open-air market; car show; arts & crafts fair; live entertainment; Sun. parade, more. Various locations, Edgerton, Wis.,
3rd Annual SW Wisconsin Tractor and Equipment Ride from Fennimore
July 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Meet at 10 a.m. at Vogel’s building, corner of 4th and Washington St. Travel to Cheers II in Preston, where tractors and equipment will be on display. Food and beverages available. Travel back to Fennimore at 2 p.m. (608) 778-7910.


Festa Italiana 2012
Aug. 3-5, Fri. 5 p.m.; Sat-Sun noon. Authentic music, folk dancing, carnival rides, booths, kids’ activities, Italian food. Boylan High School Grounds, 4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford, Ill. (815) 636-2902,
Freeport Threshing Show
Aug. 3-5, 7 a.m. Celebrate the machines that helped
America to grow. Agricultural and industrial equipment include antique tractors, steam traction engines, stationary engines. Stephenson County Antique Engine Club. Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 Walnut, Freeport, Ill. (815) 235-7329,
9th Annual Brats, Beer and Blues Fest
Aug. 3-5, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Good beer, fresh brats and great blues music on the grounds of the Freeport Art Museum. Classic and specialty cars on exhibit in the parking lot. $23/members, $20/non-members. $25 at gate. Freeport Art Museum, 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, Ill. (815-235-9755)
Muskets & Memories Civil War Heritage Reenactment
Aug. 4-5, Civil War Heritage Reenactment and GAR Heritage Encampment at Boscobel, Wis. Costume ball held at the historic Boscobel Hotel on Wisconsin Ave. Children’s activities, living history presentations, military camps and battles with 1,000 participants.Kronshage Park, Boscobel, Wis. (608) 872-2274.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Days
Aug. 4-5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hands-on celebration of the author’s life. See animal-, people- and steam-powered vintage machines at work. Sat. Barn Dance. Old World Wisconsin, S103 W37890 Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis. (262) 594-6300,
8th Annual Wakeboard Tournament
Aug. 6-7. Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Outlaw categories, top three in each receive awards. Registration/Info: (262) 275-1580. Event: Gordy’s Marine, 336 Lake St., Fontana, Wis.,
National Water Ski Show Tournament
Aug. 10-12, 8 a.m. Featuring Janesville’s own Rock Aqua Jays (RAJ). Free admission, concessions. Traxler Park, RAJ Stadium, 600 N. Main St., Janesville, Wis.,
50th Venetian Festival
Aug. 15-19, Fri 6 p.m.; Sat-Sun noon. Carnival, craft fair, water ski show, musical entertainment, local cuisine, lighted boat parade and fireworks. Lake Geneva Jaycees. Flat Iron Park, Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva, Wis. (262) 248-6759,
Local Roots Heirloom Dinner
Aug. 18, 6-9 p.m. Unique event held in 1905 barn. Meal created by local chefs using 19th century recipes and local-sourced ingredients popular 100 years ago. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, ext. 116,
Stonefield’s Railroad Days
Aug. 18-19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Activities and displays related to railroading. Music, storytelling, staged bank robbery. Depot/ caboose tours, model trains, hobo camp. Stonefield State Historic Site, 2195 County VV, Cassville, Wis., (608) 725-5210.
Maxwell Street Days
Aug. 24-26, all day. Browse the downtown streets of Lake Geneva for bargains, as retailers sell everything from antiques to crafts and produce, with food and refreshments available. Downtown Lake Geneva, Wis., (262) 248-4416,
Cherry Valley Days
Aug. 24-26, daily. Family festival with musical and non-musical entertainment, amusement rides, adults and children’s games and events, food, fireworks. Baumann Park, 218 S. Walnut, Cherry Valley, Ill. (815) 332-4893,
4th Annual Port of Potosi Brewfest
Aug. 25, 1-5 p.m. Sample beer, wine and cheeses from more than 35 breweries, wineries and cheese companies. Info: (608) 763-4002, ext. 106, Event: Holiday Gardens Event Center, 101 Brewery Hollow Road, Potosi, Wis.
Chicago Days
Aug. 25-26, all day. Featuring East Troy Electric Railroad’s collection of rapid transit cars that once whisked people around Chicago and its suburbs. Ride historic Pullman-built cars from the railroad’s depot to The Elegant Farmer and back. East Troy Electric Railroad, 2002 Church St., East Troy, Wis., (262) 642-3263,
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Commemoration
Aug. 27, 7 p.m. Annual ceremony on the original site of the historic debate. Free. Bring lawn chairs. Debate Square, 114 E. Douglas St., Freeport (815) 975-7631, ❚