See hundreds of John Deere tractors, tour the home and watch blacksmith demonstrations, the during John Deere Green Iron Days, Aug. 3-4 at the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Ill. (IvoShandor Wikimedia Commons photo)

Events at a Glance: Recreation & Destinations Calendar

There’s so much to do in our region! Here are some exciting recreation events happening this season.

See hundreds of John Deere tractors, tour the home and watch blacksmith demonstrations, the during John Deere Green Iron Days, Aug. 3-4 at the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Ill. (IvoShandor Wikimedia Commons photo)


Mississippi Backwaters Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard
June 23-July 28, 10 a.m. A 1.5 hour paddle of protected Mississippi backwaters. All levels. Reservations req. Fever River Outfitters 525 S. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 776-9425,
Big Foot Triathlon
June 23, 7-11 a.m. Swim Geneva Lake, bike the hills, run in state park. Sprint/Olympic USAT certified. Big Foot Beach State Park, 1550 S. Lake Shore Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis. (847) 254-2207,
WWII Recreated
June 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. With two public battles, weapons demos, campsites open to the public. $10. Elks Page Park, 7883 Lowell Park Road, Dixon, Ill.
CommUNITY Pick-nic
June 23, noon-5 p.m. Free admission, live music, tours. Flea market, food vendors, bingo, kids games. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112,
Wildflower Walkabout: Amboy Marsh
June 26, 6 p.m. Explore areas of this 272-acre wetland complex in southeastern Lee County. Mormon Road/Rte. 52, 2 mi. SE of Amboy. (815) 335-2915,
Heidi Festival/Taste of New Glarus
June 28-30, Fri. 5 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m. Food, entertainment, music, craft fair, dramatization of Heidi. Downtown New Glarus, Wis.
Wisconsin Blue Ribbon Cheese Fest
June 29-30, 11 a.m-3 p.m. Cheese made with milk from cow, sheep, goat. Free. Ride the Wisconsin Cheesemaker & Craft Brews Train on Sat. 2-4 p.m. Elegant Farmer, 1545 Main St., Mukwonago, Wis. (262) 363-6770,
Cedarville Summer Celebration
June 29, all day. Free hot dogs, chips, pop. Cake-n-roll, pillow bingo, kids’ games, crafts, flea market. 430 W. Washington, Cedarville, Ill., (815) 563-4302.


Dixon Petunia Festival
July 3, events daily. Carnival, midway, 5K run, ice cream social, live bands each night, sports tournies, parade, fireworks. Page Park & Dixon Riverfront, Dixon, Ill. (815) 284-3361,
Train Ride July 4th Celebration
July 4, day-long. Ride 1912 Heisler steam locomotive-powered train through the countryside; watch fireworks from train. Depot/museum open. Sandwiches, drinks, desserts. Silver Creek Museum & Depot, 2954 S. Walnut, Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
18th Annual Parade & Fireworks
July 4, 6 p.m. Floats, bands, marchers and more. Llive entertainment and food at the Green St. plaza until the fireworks. Downtown Galena, Galena, Ill., (815) 777-2111,
Fourth of July Celebration & Fireworks
July 4, 6:30 p.m. Local bands perform; motorcycle & hot rod parades; 7 p.m. city parade, 7th Street/5th Avenue; 9:30 p.m. Annual fireworks celebration over the Rock River. Davis Park, 211 N. Main St., Rockford,
The World of Little House
July 5-31, Sat-Sun 10 a.m-5p.m. Activities that let you live like Laura and the Ingalls family and friends, look-alike contests, games of the era, more. Old World Wisconsin (OWW), S103 W37890 Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6300,
8 Miles of Ag-tiques
July 6-7, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Different tractors and old machinery at stops from Orangeville to Monroe. Food, craft shows, tractor drives, more. Start: Hwy. 26, north of Orangeville, Ill., (815) 789-4570,
July 12-14, Fri. 5 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m. Carnival, 5K run, bags tourney, parade, craft show, quilt show, more. Downtown Byron, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-5500.
6th Whiteside County Barn Tour
July 13-14, 9 a.m. Starts at RK Riewerts Landscaping, 9585 Henry Road, Morrison, Ill. $20/car, includes tour book/ map. Cookout by the Whiteside County Cattlemen’s Assoc. Info: (815) 772-2165,
Victorian Light Party Murder
July 13, 6-8:30 p.m. Guests at a party to celebrate the arrival of electricity don’t know there is a killer in their midst. $20. Tinker Swiss Cottage, 411 Kent St., Rockford, (815) 964-2424,
Garden Gala
July 13, 5 p.m. Cocktails, dinner, silent/live auctions, live music, raffle. Fundraiser for Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885,
Gardens United Garden Walk
July 13-14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tour some of the area’s finest gardens. Benefits county Assault/Abuse Services. Freeport/Stephenson County Visitors Center, 4596 U.S. Rte. 20 East, Freeport, (815) 232-7200,
Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 14, 9 am to 3 p.m. Hundreds of cars, food, music, raffles. Food pantry donations accepted. Info: Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St., Delavan, Wis., (262) 728-5095,
Wander through the Wildflowers
July 20, 9 a.m.-noon. Guided walking tours through the Anne Meyer Prairie Garden. Free. Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 964-6666,
Yarn Bombing Exhibit Opens
July 20, noon-2 p.m. Garden entrance and children’s garden are covered in pieces made by local knitters. Free with garden admission. Runs through the season. Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-8146,
Oregon Trail Days Festival
July 20-21, 9 a.m. Outdoor Western themed event. Horse, gun & rope tricks, Native American dancers, demos, tipi camping, vendors, food, more. Info: (815) 238-8672, Event: Lowden State Park, 1411 N. River Road, Oregon, Ill.
Old-Fashioned Farm Fair
July 20-21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Pie-eating contest, the world’s tallest farmer, train rides. Farm-fresh corn, brats & hot dogs, ice cream in waffle cones. Free. The Elegant Farmer, 1545 Main St., Mukwonago, Wis. (262) 363-6770,
Antique Town Rods Run and Car Show
July 20-21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat: Road tour/poker run. Sun: Over 100 pre-1949 street rods. Galena Riverfront, 101 Bouthillier St., Galena, (815) 777-2088.
Full Moon & Frog Hike
July 22, 8- 9:30 p.m. Look for local frogs and toads, see moon rise over the wetland. Welty Environmental Center, Beckman Mill County Park, 8606 S. County Road H, Beloit, Wis., (608)361-1377.
Elkhorn Rotary Festival of Summer
July 26-27, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Brats, chicken sandwiches and roasted corn from the Rotary, crafters, vendors, live entertainment. Veterans Park, 100 W. Walworth St., Elkhorn, Wis.,
Native American Prairie Day
July 27, 1-4 p.m. Guided tours of the buried Indian village and ceremonial mound, Native American flute-player, indigenous foods, more. 8642 Ill Rt. 84 S., 1 mile south of Hanover, Ill., (815) 858-9100,
Mississippi Adventure Day
July 27, Aug. 3, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Group led 7-mile kayak, 3-mile hike, 10-mile bike. All levels. Reservations req. Fever River Outfitters, Galena, (815) 776-9425.
Family Fun in the Garden
July 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Hands-on gardening activities geared to families with young children. Midway Village, Rockford,


153rd Annual Jo Daviess County Fair
Aug. 1-4, events daily. Tactor pull, draft horse pull, motocross/ATV races, live entertainment, carnival rides. Jo Daviess County Fairgrounds, Stagecoach Trail and High St., Warren, Ill., (815)-275-2540.
44th Annual Threshing and Antique Show
Aug 2-4, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. More than 300 gas tractors, steam engines, horse-powered equipment, exhibitions, more. Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2954 S. Walnut Road Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
Festa Italiana
Aug. 2-4, Fri. 5 p.m.; Sat-Sun noon. Mass Sun., 10 a.m. Authentic Italian food music & folk dancing, carnival, kids’ activities. Boylan High School, 4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford (815) 636-2902,
Swiss Volksfest (Swiss Independence Day)
Aug. 4, 1-6 p.m. Traditional music, yodeling, flag throwing, thalerschwingen. Tell’s Shooting Park, County Hwy O, New Glarus, Wis.,
John Deere Green Iron Days
Aug. 3-4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Hundreds of pre-1979 machines, tours, demonstration of blacksmithing. $5/under 12 free. John Deere Historic Site, 8334 S. Clinton St., Grand Detour, Ill., (815) 652-4551,
Blues, Beer & BBQ
Aug. 3, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Sample beer, live blues music and BBQ. $23/$20 members/$25 at the door. Freeport Art. Museum, 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755
61st Annual Carroll County Fair
Aug. 6-10, events daily. Agricultural displays, judging events, demolition derby, headliner Casey James in concert Fri. Schell Park, 28374 Milledgeville Road, Milledgeville, Ill.,
Campfire Program
Aug. 9,  8:30-10 p.m. Storytelling, games and smore’s around the campfire. Free. Byron Forest Preserve, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535,
Cruise Night
Aug. 10, 4-8p.m. More than 500 antique and classic cars, live music, food court, burn-out contest, more. Reserved Parking: $12; Non-Reserved Parking: $10; Cruise Only Free. 50 W. Douglas St., Freeport, (815) 233-1357,
51st Annual Venetian Festival
Aug. 14-18, all-day events. Carnival, craft fair, water ski show, entertainment. Sunday traditional lighted boat parade followed by a firework display over Geneva Lake. Flat Iron Park, 201 Wrigley Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis.,(262) 215-9112,
16th Annual Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival
Aug 16-18, 8 p.m. Car show, parade, carnival, food court, live entertainment, arts & crafts show, more. Downtown Rochelle, Ill.,
Oregon Park District Sprint Triathlon
Aug. 17, check-in 6 a.m.; race start 7:30 a.m. Ages 14 years/up. Swim segment at the Nash Recreation Center Indoor Pool. Bike and run courses will loop through the community and surrounding area. Info/registration: (815) 732-3101,
164th Walworth County Fair
Aug. 28-Sept. 2, 7 a.m.-midnight. Carnival, truck & tractor pulls, demolition derby. Grandstand entertainment includes The Oak Ridge Boys, The Beach Boys. Walworth County Fairgrounds, 411 Court Street E., Elkhorn, Wis. (262) 723-3228,
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Commemoration
Aug. 27, 6 p.m. Program commemorating the anniversary of the 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square, 114 E. Douglas St., Freeport, Ill. (815) 233-2255.