On Nov. 16, Galena Cellars Winery kicks off Nouveau Wine Weekend in Galena, Ill., with the release of its locally produced 2012 Nouveau Wine, in a traditional horse-drawn wagon and parade down Main Street. Citywide events follow throughout the weekend. (VisitGalena.org 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 recreation and destination events.

On Nov. 16, Galena Cellars Winery kicks off Nouveau Wine Weekend in Galena, Ill., with the release of its locally produced 2012 Nouveau Wine, in a traditional horse-drawn wagon and parade down Main Street. Citywide events follow throughout the weekend. (VisitGalena.org photo)


Savanna Haunted Forest Festival
Through Oct. 30, Sat. 6-11 p.m. Take a wagon ride through the scarier-than-ever Haunted Forest. Relax before or after at Poopy’s Pub & Grub outdoor facilities. $10/$5 children. 1030 Viaduct Road, Savanna, Ill., visitsavanna.com.
All About A Ghost Tour
Through Dec. 29, Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m. A leisurely 90-minute walking tour of Main and Bench streets, with a costumed guide telling macabre tales of mystery and hauntings tied to Galena history. No reservations required, just arrive before 8 p.m. DeSoto House Hotel, 230 S. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 777-0090, visitgalena.org.
Arcade Cast Iron Toys Exhibition
Through Dec. 30, noon-4 p.m., Wed.-Sun. One of the largest collection of cast iron toys made by Freeport’s Arcade Co., 1885-1952. $4/$2 ages 6-below/members free. Stephenson County Historical Museum, 1440 S. Carroll Ave., Freeport, (815) 232-8419.
Fall Table Arrangement
Oct. 24, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Take home your own arrangement after this hands-on container workshop. $25/$30 non-county residents. Registration req. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 987-8858.
Night Sounds
Oct. 26, 7-9 p.m. Come in costume, BYO flashlight and grab a goody bag to trick or treat throughout the museum. Live snakes and a tarantula, performance by Rockford Dance Junior Company, Native American story in the wigwam. $2/$5 nonmembers/ages 2-below free. Burpee Museum, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org.
Oct. 27, 9 a.m. Mark the famed 1987 sightings by members of area law enforcement agencies. Craft fair, food fair, adult and youth fun runs, pumpkin decorating, parade, Forbidden Forest, Glow and Bowl, Monster Costume Ball. Downtown Belleville, Wis., & various locations, belleville-wi.com.
Halloween Parade & Celebration
Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Children show off their costumes in a walking parade down Grand Avenue visiting Downtown Beloit businesses and Farmers’ Market vendors for treats during the last Farmers’ Market of the season. The fun includes The Mr. Steve Show at 10:45 a.m., carnival rides and activities for all ghouls and goblins. Downtown Beloit, (608) 365-0150, downtownbeloit.org.
Wine & Garlic Festival
Oct. 27, 11 a.m-6 p.m. Tastings of wine and locally grown garlic all day; wine and garlic dishes available. See Count Dracula and friends on a wagon ride through the vineyard at 4 and 5 p.m. Famous Fossil Vineyard and Winery, 395 W. Cedarville Road, Freeport, (815) 563-4665, famousfossilwinery.com.
Galena’s Halloween Parade & Festival
Oct. 27, noon-8:30 p.m. This 34th annual event has floats, candy, marching bands, hot air balloons, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, food & beverage vendors, more. Parade 6:30 p.m. Washington & Perry streets, Galena, Ill., galenachamber.org.
Fur Trader’s River Run
Oct. 27, 2-5 p.m. Canoe the fur trader’s trail six miles down the Rock River along a wooded, scenic and quiet stretch with frequent sightings of eagles, to the historic Macktown Settlement. Registration reg. Paddle and Trail, 110 W. Grand Ave., Beloit, Wis., (855) 752-9688
Enchanted Forest & Hollywood Hayride
Oct. 27, 4:30-9 p.m. Award-winning, enchanting, non-scary, family-friendly event features candles, castles, costumed characters, a horse-drawn carriage, lights and unique effects. Palmer Park, 2501 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 755-3030, janesvillecvb.com.
Spooky Science
Oct. 27, 6-9 p.m. Come in costume and create crafts for Halloween, make your own slime, boogie under a black light, see famous deceased scientists conduct “dead” science experiments. Nothing scary. $3/$8 nonmembers. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Pumpkin Gutter Scott Cummins
Oct. 27-28, Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Featured on “Daily Mail,” “This Old House” and more, see this master pumpkin carver in action. Free with admission. Nicholas Conservatory Gardens, Rockford.
Locktoberfest Weekends
Oct. 27-28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (weather permitting). Hayrides; pony ring; trail rides; visits to animals in the Children’s Farm barn; face painting; games and prizes. Free. Food for sale. Call to confirm hours. Lockwood Park, 5201 Safford Road, Rockford, (815) 987-8809, rockfordparkdistrict.org/lockwood.
Railway Depot Museum Exhibit
Oct. 27-28, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Full-size caboose, 10 model railroad displays, other exhibits and activities pertaining to the days when Jo Daviess County boasted eight railroads. Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum, East Myrtle Street, Elizabeth, Ill., visitgalena.org.


The Stars
Nov. 2, 7-8 p.m. Relax under the night skies to watch the stars and learn about their histories. Free. Please call to register. Weiskopf Observatory, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.org.
Victorian Candlelight Tour
Nov. 2-Dec. 29, Fri.-Sat., 5-7 p.m. Enjoy romantic candlelit tours of the historic Ryan Mansion, 11373 U.S. Hwy. 20, Galena, Ill., (815) 777-2750, ryanmansiongalena.com.
2nd Annual Galena Lead Rush Half Marathon
Nov. 3, 9 a.m. This USATF-sanctioned race will be 13.1 miles through the beautiful rolling countryside and ends along the mighty Mississippi River, with post-race party. Registration: galena.org/leadrush. Event: Chestnut Mountain Resort, 8700 W. Chestnut Road, Galena, Ill., (309) 888-2551, chestnutmtn.com.
Chocolate, Champagne & Candlelight  
Nov. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Lavish chocolate confections, chocolate fountain, complimentary glass of champagne, live music, silent auction, cake sale, raffles, cash bar, more. Limited tickets sold at the door. Tickets: $15, (815) 777-9129. Event: DeSoto House Hotel, 230 S. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 777-9129.
Aquin Flea Market
Nov. 4, 8 a.m-2:30 p.m.. Indoor flea market, antiques, crafts, coins, collectibles. $1. Aquin High School, 1419 S. Galena, Freeport, (815) 235-4012.
Swiss Fest
Nov. 4, 2 p.m. Swiss music and entertainment presented by Monroe Swiss Singers, Mannerchor New Glarus, Yodel Club New Glarus, yodeling, alphorns, accordions, more. Turner Hall of Monroe, 1217 17th Ave. Monroe, Wis. (608) 325-3461, turnerhallofmonroe.org.
Smashing Pumpkins
Nov. 4, 1-4 p.m. Calling all jack-o-lanterns! Unwanted pumpkins become parking lot projectiles when flung from our giant trebuchet! Bring your used pumpkin, create your own catapult, and learn how to lob for a smashing good time. Discovery Center, Rockford, (815) 963-6769.
Christmas Bird Count Program
Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m Northwest Illinois Audubon Society hosts this program highlighting the history of the annual Christmas bird count as well as preparing participants for the 113th annual event. Refreshments. St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 S. Park Blvd., Freeport, (815) 821-1886.
Dedication: Eclipse Lagoon/Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
Nov. 8, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Join the Rockford Park District and Rockford Park District Foundation to celebrate the dedication of Eclipse Lagoon and Phase II project completion of the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. Nicholas Conservatory, Rockford, (815) 987-8855.
Reach for the Stars
Nov. 10, 7-9 p.m. Hear myths and legends about the night sky around a campfire. Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford School Road, Rockford, (815) 874-7576, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
23rd Annual Festival of Trees
Nov. 11-18, noon. Woodlawn Arts Academy in Sterling will be transformed into a winter wonderland, with activities, raffles, live entertainment, food, art demonstrations and more, daily. Proceeds benefit Hospice of the Rock River Valley. Info: (815) 288-3673, hospicerockriver.org. Event: Woodlawn Arts Academy, 3807 Woodlawn Road, Sterling, Ill., (815) 626-4278.
Nouveau Wine Weekend
Nov. 16-17, events daily. Celebration of Galena Cellars’ Nouveau wine, beginning with horse-drawn deliveries Friday at 2:30 p.m. on Main Street. Wine-inspired luncheons at Galena eateries, winemaker dinners, wine tastings, vineyard tours. Galena Cellars Winery, 515 S. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 777-3330, galenanouveauweekend.com.
Barbara Buck Studio Santa Fest 2012
Nov. 16-18, Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. Holiday gallery walk featuring heritage quality, one-of-a-kind Santas by nationally recognized Santa artist Barbara Buck. Cookies, cider and pumpkin fudge. 1240 S. Walnut, Freeport, (815) 541-8890.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
Nov. 17, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Annual fundraising event for the Arthritis Foundation. Teams and individuals run or walk a 5-kilometer route, in costume or with jingle bells tied to their shoelaces. Registration/Info: (815) 971-6380, arthritis.org. Event: Indoor Sports Center, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, Ill.
Owls and Bats Up Close
Nov. 17, 10 a.m. How do owls and bats hunt at night? Why are owl eyes so big? Do bats actually bite people? This program is for children grades 3-7, but people of other ages are welcome. Presented by Conservation Guardians of Northwest Illinois. Apple River Fort, 311 E. Myrtle St., Elizabeth, Ill., jcdf.org.
Owl Prowls
Nov. 17, 9-11 p.m. Learn all about American owls then take a hike to find them. $3/call to register. Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.org.
Mistletoe Walk
Nov. 18, noon-4 p.m. Carolers, Santa, carriage rides, refreshments, raffle, special sales, decorated stores. View Gingerbread House Contest entries at library. Downtown Freeport, (815) 232-9000, (815) 233-5626.
Holiday Tours of Lincoln-Tallman House
Nov. 20-Dec. 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. See the 1850’s restored mansion decked out Victorian holiday splendor with elaborate decorations and hear insightful stories from costumed guides. Lincoln Tallman House, 440 N. Jackson, Janesville, Wis., (608) 752-4519, rchs.org.
Lighting of Community Christmas Tree
Nov. 23, dusk. This Old World tradition is marked with Alpine horns, Kinderchor and more. New Glarus, Wis., swisstown.com.
20th Annual Grand Lighted Holiday Parade
Nov. 23, 5-8 p.m. Choral sing, 5:30 p.m.; Santa & tree lighting, 6 p.m.; parade, 6:30 p.m.; Santa visits Turtle Creek Bookstore, 7 p.m. Parade route: Starts 200 block of West Grand Avenue; ends at Horace White Park. Downtown Beloit, (608) 365-0150, downtownbeloit.com.
Nov. 23-24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 20 vendors, including Scherenschnitte (scissor cuttings), Kerbschnitte (chip-carving in wood) and Holzschnitte (wood-carvings), as well as fabric arts, handmade soaps and lotions, floral arrangements, jewelry, the Swiss version of Santa Claus and a European-style café, including homemade Swiss baked goods, soups and hot spiced wine. Turner Hall of Monroe, Monroe, Wis., turnerhallofmonroe.org.
Christmas Carol Dinner
Nov. 23-Dec. 28, except Dec. 15, on Fridays, 5:30 p.m. cocktails; 6 p.m. dinner. A five-course traditional English meal including prime rib, Cornish hens, bread pudding and entertainment. Goldmoor Inn, 9001 N. Sand Road, Galena, Ill., (815) 777-3925, goldmoorinn.com.
“A Civil War Holiday”
Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. BIFF and Rock County Historical Society partner to present “A Civil War Holiday” event, immediately followed by a showing of Love & Valor: The Intimate Civil War Letters. Check website for more details. Lincoln Tallman House, 440 N. Jackson, Janesville, Wis., (608) 752-4519, rchs.org.
Picture Day at Midway Village Museum
Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Start a new family or group tradition. Five locations will be decorated for the holidays to create beautiful photo opportunities. Visitors can make reservations with a professional photographer inside the Chamberlain Hotel if desired, $15 for four poses and a CD created in a 20-minute session, on a first come, first serve basis: (815) 397-9112, x110. $12 at the gate for your own photos.
Gingerbread House Contest Display
Nov. 26-Dec. 15, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; to 6 p.m. Fri; 1-4 p.m. Sun. See gingerbread houses made for Freeport Downtown Development Foundation contest. Vote for People’s Choice; bid on one in Silent Auction. Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas St., Freeport, (815) 232-9000, (815) 233-5626.
The 24th Annual Dixon Christmas Walk
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 6 p.m. Fri. kick-off with Santa’s arrival and tree lighting ceremony at KSB Hospital; horse-drawn wagon rides; store give-aways; Great Snowball Drop for prizes, 7 p.m., at 1st & Ottawa; Sat. Santa pancake breakfast at Post House; craft show, lunch and bake sale at Loveland Community House; band concert, 7 p.m., Historic Dixon Theater. Info: (815) 288-2308, dixonil.com/mainstreet.


Annual Mistletoe Ball
Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a Victorian holiday feast plus modern ballroom and period dance music from the Fever River String Band. Period dress and holiday attire both appropriate. $35/cash bar. Turner Hall, 105 S. Bench St., Galena, Ill. (815) 777-9129.
2012 Christmas Express
Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. A 10-mile round trip to The Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago. Story reading and special guests are expected. Various departure times to and from throughout the day. Museum open 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. East Troy Electric Railroad, 2002 Church St., East Troy, Wis. (262) 642-3263, easttroyrr.org.
1830s Christmas Breakfast
Dec. 2, 8-11:30 a.m. A celebration of early foods, traditions and musical entertainment. Horse-drawn wagon transports visitors to the Trading Post and Mack home (weather permitting). Macktown Living History Education Center, Macktown Forest Preserve, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 624-4200, macktownlivinghistory.com.
Christmas Parade
Dec. 7, 6 p.m. Lighted Christmas Parade. Downtown Historic Courthouse Square, Monroe, Wis., downtownmonroewisconsin.com.
A Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner
Dec. 8. Enjoy appetizers, soup, salad, entrees and desserts as you tour bed and breakfasts decorated for the Christmas holidays. Sponsored by the Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers of Galena. (815) 777-0893, bestofgalena.com.
The Spirit of Christmas Past
Dec 8-9, noon-4 p.m. Stroll the 1870s Crossroads Village house to house, shop to shop, and learn the origins of many of today’s beloved holiday customs. Old World Wisconsin, S103 W37890, Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis. (262) 594-6300, oldworldwisconsin.org.
Holiday Light Show
Dec. 13-16, 20-23, 27-30, 5-8:30 p.m. See holiday displays of 200,000-plus lights throughout the garden. Refreshments, model trains, quilt displays, holiday scenes, live entertainment inside. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, Wis. (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Night of Luminaria
Dec. 15, 6-9 p.m. Streets and hlls glow with over 5,000 candle luminaries on streets, steps and sidewalks. Downtown Galena, Ill., galenachamber.com.
Galena Luminaria Progressive Dinner
Dec. 15, 6 p.m. On beautiful luminaria night, enjoy appetizers at Aldrich House, dinner at Goldmoor Inn and dessert at Hellman House. Reservations recommended. Galena, Ill., (800) 255-3925.
Countdown to Fun!
Dec. 31, 12:30-4:30 p.m. Ring in the New Year with crafts, games, art, music from Kantorei, the singing boys of Rockford, party hats & favors, more. Discovery Center, Rockford, discoverycentermuseum.org.