Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Hoedown & Hayride
June 6, 7-9 p.m. Enjoy hayrides around the forest preserve, dancing and snacks around the fire pit. Ages 15+. $10. Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, (815) 235-6114, freeportparkdistrict.org.
21st Annual Garden Fair
June 6-8, Fri. noon-8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.. Area’s largest outdoor marketplace featuring garden/nature products from more than 80 vendor across the Midwest. Arboretum fundraiser. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St. Rockford, (815) 965-8146, klehm.org.
German Valley Days
June 6-8, Fri. 5-10 p.m.; Sat. 6 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This annual hometown festival offers a car show, parade, pig scramble, entertainment, pancake breakfast, pork chop barbecue, kiddie tractor pull, contests, bags tournament, paddle boat races, bingo, fireworks and more. Ben Miller Park, Church Street, German Valley, Ill., (815) 362-3671, stephenson-county-il.org.
63rd Tebala Shrine Circus
June 6-8, 12:30, 4 & 7:30 p.m. show times. Features aerial, clown and animal acts. Tickets: (815) 332-4997, tebala.com. Event: Indoor Sports Center, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park.
Kabela’s King Kat Tournament
June 7, 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Weigh-in 4 p.m. Enjoy the day as fishermen check in their catches starting at 4 p.m. Food for sale from Dixon Junior Dukes. Page Park Drive, off North Peoria Avenue, past high school and athletic fields, Dixon, Ill.
Rockford AirFest 2014
June 7-8, daily. See the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds; U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute teams; Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds; more. Static displays, food & beverage vendors. Chicago Rockford International Airport, Airport Dr., Rockford, rockfordairfest.com.
New Glarus Polka Fest
June 13-15, Fri. 6-10 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. noon-4 p.m. Live music, polka lessons, Beer, Bacon & Cheese Fest; more. Downtown New Glarus, Wis., swisstown.com.
Lincoln-Tallman Fun Dash
June 14, 3 p.m. Annual Historical Society 5K run/walk or 10K run, both chip timed. Participants receive a shirt and a top hat with Abe Lincoln beard attached. BBQ, beer and other fun afterward. Lincoln-Tallman House, 440 N. Jackson St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 756-4509 x 4, rchs.us.
2104 Rockford Triathlon
June 14, 7 a.m. A 1500 meter swim in Olson Lake, a 250 meter transition run, a 40K bike course, and a 10K run. Food and refreshments at finish. Awards begin at 10:30am. Rock Cut State Park, 7318 Harlem Road, Loves Park, rockfordtriathlon.com.
June 14, 8 p.m. What goes “hoot” and “bump” in the night? An easy night hike to look and listen for owls. Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve, 16999 Comly Road, Seward, Ill., wkfpd.org. Please call for reservations: (815) 335-2915.
Father’s Day Festival
June 14-15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Bring Dad to ride a 1912 Heisler steam locomotive pulling four cars for a 4-mile ride through farmland and across a bridge 30 feet above Yellow Creek. See antique fire engines; vintage tractors; classic old cars; depot and museum open. Silver Creek Museum & Depot, 2954 S. Walnut, Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
Ice Cream Social
June 19, 5-8 p.m. Annual event celebrates Stephenson County history; ice cream, cake or pie, coffee or lemonade; museum tours; more. $5. Stephenson County Historical Museum, 1440 S. Carroll Ave., Freeport, (815) 232-8419, stephcohis.org.
June 19, 1-9 p.m. Enjoy activities, food and entertainment at this annual event. Sinnissippi Park Music Shell, 1401 N. 2nd St., Rockford, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Old Settlers Days
June 19-22, Thu-Fri. 4-11 p.m.; Sat. 12:30-11 p.m.; Sun. 1:30-10 p.m. Food vendors; beer tent; carnival; Sat. parade; Sun. fireworks; free local entertainment at festival stage; main stage performers include Bret Michaels, Colt Ford, Drew Baldridge. Settler’s Park, 200 Hawick St., Rockton, Ill., oldsettlersdays.com.
Trivia (on the Terrace)
June 20, Aug. 8, 6 p.m. Questions on superheroes, natural history, pop culture, current events, movies, books, more. Music, food, cash bar, prizes. $20/$15 members. Registration: [email protected]. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org.
Union Dairy 100th Anniversary
June 20-22, Fri. 5-11 p.m.; Sat. 4-8 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m. Live music, beer tent, horse-and-carriage tours, car show, parade, Sun. Family Fun Day, more. Union Dairy, 126 E. Douglas, Freeport, (815) 232-7099, stephenson-county-il.org.
12th Great Galena Balloon Race
June 20-22, Fri.6 p.m.; Sat-Sun 6 a.m. Over 20 hot air balloons, two races, two night glows, tethered rides, car show, live music. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena, greatgalenaballoonrace.com.
Summer Solstice Beer Tasting
June 21, 7 p.m. Sample beers from local breweries, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and dance to local music. Klehm Arboretum, Rockford, klehm.org.
June 21-22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mock battles with armored vehicles & machine guns; weapon demos; static displays of camps, equipment. WW II Historical Reenactment Society rules for authenticity apply. Elks Page Park, 7883 S. Lowell Park Road, Dixon, Ill., wwii-recreated-dixon.weebly.com.
Heidi Festival/Taste of New Glarus
June 27-29, 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., swisstown.com.
Rock Falls River Chase & Summer Splash
June 27-29, events daily. Boat racing along the Rock Falls riverfront and a unique menu of alligator, elk, and buffalo, family-friendly entertainment, kids’ activities, vendors. Free admission; easy parking and shuttle service. 201 W. 1st St., Rock Falls, Ill., (815) 625-4500.
29th Annual Stephenson County Ag Breakfast
June 28, 6 a.m.-10 a.m. Scrambled eggs, whole hog sausage, beef bacon, cheese, coffee cake, milk, orange juice and coffee showcase Stephenson County ag producers. Entertainment, petting zoo, craft show, games. $5/ages 5-under free. Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 S. Walnut, Freeport. (815) 864-2561, stephenson-county-il.org.
Pretzel City 5K
June 28, 8 a.m. Run/walk for novice or expert, over flat paved roads in the park. Registration: $25/$30 after June 20 and day of race. Info/registration: Freeport Park District, (815) 235-6114, freeportparkdistrict.org. Event: Band shell, Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Blvd., Freeport.
Canoe History Tour
June 28, 9-11a.m. Canoe down the Rock River from Byron to Oregon, as local historian Mark Herman tells stories about the land and historic places along the shore, ending at Oregon Park East to tour the 1883 Chana School Museum. Ages 12+; $20/canoe. Heritage Farm Museum, 7993 E. River Road, Byron, byronforestpreserve.com.
Fish Fest 2014
June 28, 9 a.m.-noon. Free outdoor event with hands-on learning stations and fishing. Youth anglers must be accompanied by adult. Registration req: rockfordparkdistrict.org; limited to first 200. Event: Sportscore One, 1288 Elmwood Road, Rockford.
Bloomin’ on the Rock
June 28-29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Two-day tour of local gardens like the one below; gourmet dinner Saturday night; pancake breakfast Sunday morning; music; art; planted container auction. $85 for all/$20 garden walk only/$70 dinner only. Breakfast available to public on a cash basis. Info: Dixon Tourism (815) 284-3496, discoverdixon.org/tourism.
Heritage Days Belvidere
June 29, all-day event. Food, craft vendors, children’s activities, parade 4 p.m. in Downtown Belvidere, Ill. The Silver Creek Band, 7 p.m., fireworks following at Boone County Fairgrounds, 8791 Ill. Rte. 76, Belvidere. Info: belviderechamber.org.
50th Annual Dixon Petunia Festival
July 2-6, events daily. Carnival, midway, 5K run, live bands each night, art show, special 50-year exhibit, drum & bugle corps, parade, fireworks. Page Park & Dixon Riverfront, Dixon, Ill., (815) 284-3361, petuniafestival.org.
MELD July 4th Classic
July 4, Runs 7 & 7:15 a.m.; walk 8:30 a.m. 8K or 2-mile run, 1-mile walk. Start/finish: Trolley Station, North Madison St., Rockford, (815) 633-6353 rockfordmeld.org.
Independence Day on the Rock
July 4, 1:30 p.m. Anything-that-floats contest, Janesville Idol, food, beer tent, inflatable houses. Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show Team, 7 p.m.; fireworks at dusk. Traxler Park, 600 N. Main St., Janesville, (608) 757-3171, janesvillecvb.com.
8 Miles Of Ag-Tiques
July 4-6, Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. See all kinds of tractors and machinery: John Deere, Farmall, Minneapolis-Moline, Allis Chalmers, Oliver, Massey Harris. Crafts, food, tractor drives. Hwy. 26, Orangeville, Ill., to Monroe, Wis., (815) 789-4570.
9th Annual Briggs’ John Deere Days
July 4-6, Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Lots of John Deere tractors and machinery, food, crafts, talk with tractor owners. Exhibitors tractor drive Sunday, 9 a.m. Part of the 8 Miles of Ag-tiques event. Briggs Farm, 13609 Illinois Hwy. 26 North, Orangeville Ill., (815) 789-4570.
160th Stephenson County Fair
July 8-13, daily. Tractor pull; quilt show; pig scramble; Lucas Oil Midwest National tractor pull; live entertainment daily. Performance by Gretchen Wilson. Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 Walnut, Freeport, stephensoncofair.com.
Lafayette County Fair
July 9-13, daily. FFA and 4-H exhibits/judging, tractor pull, carnival, stock car races, entertainment. Lafayette County Fairgrounds, 701 E. Louisa St., Darlington, Wis., (608) 776-4828, lafayettecountyfair.org.
July 11-13, daily. Citywide event centered in downtown, with carnival, live entertainment, Taste of Byron, more. Downtown Byron, Ill. Byron Chamber, (815) 234-5500, byronfest.org.
Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 11-13, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Hundreds of cars line the shores of Delavan Lake. Show cars $7 pre-registration/$10 day of event. Spectators free; food pantry donations accepted. Food, music, raffles, judging & awards. Info: carstimeforgot.com. Event: Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St., Delavan, Wis., (262) 728-5095, delavanwi.org.
Home Garden Tour
July 12, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. View some of the Janesville area’s most beautiful gardens; live music; Q&A with homeowners. Ticket booklets on sale at Rotary Botanical Gardens; K&W Greenery; Patty’s Plants in Milton. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Gardens United Garden Walk
July 12-13, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit some of the finest gardens in the Freeport area and get advice from Master Gardeners. Benefits the Assault and Abuse Services of Stephenson County. $10. Throughout the Freeport Area. (815) 232-7200
Whiteside County Historic Barn Tour
July 12-13, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The event’s 7th year, featuring 10 historic barns in the northern section of Whiteside County. $20 per vehicle includes tour book and map. Info: whitesidecountybarntour.com.
Ice Cream Social
July 13, noon-4 p.m. Ice cream, cake, chips & beverages; artists at work; music by The Mill Road Band. Beckman Mill, 8606 S. County Road H, Beloit, Wis., (608) 751-1551, beckmanmill.org.