Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Hike and Lunch
Nov. 1-29, Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. See the canyons and bluffs made from St. Peter’s Sandstone. A knowledgeable guide will describe how Starved Rock got its name, along with other tales and truths. $18. Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock State Park, Illinois Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill., (800) 868-7625, starvedrocklodge.com.
45th Annual Aquin Flea Market and More
Nov. 1, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. This indoor flea market offers antiques, collectibles, crafts, glassware, books, farmers market items and more. $1. Aquin High School, 1419 S. Galena Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-3154. aquinschools.org/fleamarket.cfm.
FHN Ole Time Christmas Craft Show
Nov. 5-6. A craft fair featuring wood crafts, jewelry and other holiday homemade crafts. Adults $2/children 12 and under free. FHN Memorial Hospital, Lower Level, 2045 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, (815) 599-6199, fhn.org.
Fall Night Hike
Nov. 6, 7-8:30 p.m. Listen for the sounds of the changing season and the last of the insects. Learn about night vision and some of the ways that our eyes can play tricks on us in the dark. Free. Byron Forest Preserve, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Your Backyard Van Tours
Nov. 7, 9-11 a.m. Explore what’s lurking in your backyard. Free. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Annual Fall Pancake Supper
Nov. 7-8, 3:30-7 p.m. All-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, applesauce, cheese and beverage, plus pies, cakes, cookies and breads individually priced for sale. Adults $7/children under 12 $3. Silver Creek Museum, 2954 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, (815) 235-2198.
Victorian Murder Mystery
Nov. 7, 6-8 p.m. Actively participate in a murder mystery. Light refreshments provided. $25. Tinker Swiss Cottage, 411 Kent St., Rockford, (815) 964-2424, tinkercottage.com.
Area Christian Singles Event
Nov. 7, 7-9 p.m. All area Christian singles age 25 and up looking for other Christian singles are invited. Bring a finger food or drink to share. Cedarville Emmanuel Church, 175 N. Cedar St., Cedarville, Ill., (815) 563-4315.
34th Annual Wonderfest Arts & Crafts
Nov. 8, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Bake Shoppe featuring holiday sugar cookies handmade by the Beloit Junior Woman’s Club. Funds raised are donated back to the Beloit Community. Shop for handmade crafts, home decor and more. $2. Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 Fourth St., Beloit, (608) 364-0349.
Nov. 8, 2-4 p.m. Learn about beekeeping techniques and tools of the trade. $2. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Giovanni’s and Accent on Events: TLC’s Randy Fenoli
Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” star Randy Fenoli gives a funny, upbeat and interactive presentation about growing up on a farm and becoming a hair and makeup artist. $25. Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, (815) 398-6411, giodine.com.
Nov. 13, 6-11 p.m. This fun evening includes a dinner with all dishes incorporating Leinenkugel beer, along with tastings of the beer variety. $50. Reservations required. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.
Holiday Art & Craft Show
Nov. 13-Dec. 4. Find gifts for everyone on your list, all made by local artists. Womanspace, 333 Maria Linden Drive, Rockford, (815) 877-0118, womanspace-rockford.org.
Family Night Hike
Nov. 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Explore the trails in the dark and learn more about our country’s top aerial predators: the owls. Severson Dells Forest Preserve, 8502 Montague Road, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915. winnebagoforest.org.
Dog Walk for the Animals
Nov. 14, 10 a.m.-noon. Stroll the scenic grounds of Old World Wisconsin with your leashed dog. Enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and picturesque landscapes. Bandanas, dog treats and refreshments available for purchase. Old World Wisconsin, W372 S9727 Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-2922, oldworldwisconsin.org.
Annual Yule Market
Nov. 14, 8:30 a.m.-noon. The annual Yule Market has lots of Swedish goodies, food, crafts and specialty items. Bethesda Covenant Church, 2101 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 397-4212, bethesdacovenant.com.
Dance, Auction for Madonna Renewal Center
Nov. 14, 6 p.m.-midnight. Features rock-and-roll band Mad Men and country band Cross Cuts. Silent auction and 50/50 drawing. $10 in advance/$12 at the door. Eagles Club, 1200 Galena Ave., Freeport, (815) 275-6378.
Yoga & Hiking Day
Nov. 15, 1-5 p.m. Join Matt Hancock for a 60- to 75-minute H2E Yoga class before a 4.5-mile round-trip hike to picturesque LaSalle Canyon. Bring your own yoga mat. $20. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (800) 868-7625, starvedrocklodge.com.
Homeschool Class: Fox, Sauk and Winnebago
Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Make tools, throw spears, try archery, start a fire with a bow drill, learn about myths and truths of how Native Americans lived before European settlers arrived. $5. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Edgebrook’s Holiday Tree Lighting
Nov. 20-21, Fri. 5-6:30 p.m., Sat. during store hours. Get in the holiday spirit in the Edgebrook shopping district, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk
Nov. 21, 8:30 a.m. Wear a holiday-themed costume for one of the largest holiday 5K race series. Sportscore Two Indoor Sports Center, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, Ill., (815) 971-6380, kintera.org.
Who Sleeps All Winter?
Nov. 21, 11-11:45 a.m. Make a hibernation home and learn how animals settle down for their long winter naps. Rockford Public Library Main Branch, Little Theatre, 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Rockford Rage Women’s Roller Derby
Nov. 21, 6 p.m. doors. Get ready for hard hits and fast feet in this roller derby extravaganza. Stay after for a party. $10 adult in advance/$15 at door/$5 kids 5-12. Sportscore Two Indoor Sports Center, Loves Park, Ill., (847) 894-8136, facebook.com/pages/The-Rockford-Rage.
Rockford Road Runners Turkey Trot
Nov. 26, 9 a.m. The oldest ongoing race in the area, and a longtime tradition for many area runners and families, returns for the 48th time on Thanksgiving morning. $15 individuals/$40 families. Reuben Aldeen Park, 623 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, rockfordroadrunners.org.
Thanksgiving Day Buffet
Nov. 26, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. Adults $22.95/kids half-price. Reservations requested. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7321, starvedrocklodge.com.
Beloit Grand Lighted Holiday Parade
Nov. 27, 5-8 p.m. Live music and a choral sing in the First National Bank Plaza to warm up the crowd for Santa’s arrival. Corner of State and Grand, Beloit, visitbeloit.com.
3rd Annual Stroll on State
Nov. 28, 3-9 p.m. Attend this spectacular holiday event with your family and friends to get you in the holiday spirit. There are plenty of activities to do, decorations to see and delicious foods to eat. Located in downtown Rockford along State Street. Info: strollonstate.com.
Winter Bird Feeding Workshop
Nov. 28, 9 a.m. In this workshop, beginners as well as longtime feeders learn more about feeding our feathered friends. Severson Dells Nature Center, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.org.
Tree Decorating Competition
All December. See website for days/times. Vote on your favorite tree, decorated by businesses and nonprofits in the area. Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State St., Sycamore, Ill., (815) 895-9777, mmnh.org.
3rd Annual Sport Management Symposium
Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. Speakers from various areas in the field of sport and recreation management will be on hand to answer questions pertaining to careers in sport management and to share their tips for success. Tickets required, but free of charge. Regents Hall, Burpee Center, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, Rockford.edu/artslectures/forum.
Dec. 4, 5 p.m.-midnight. Enjoy art, music, food and shopping in downtown Rockford. Info: (779) 537-5319, facebook.com/FirstFridaysRockford.
Guided Winter Hikes
Dec. 5-31, Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Join a 4.5-mile guided hike with the possibility of seeing frozen waterfalls and Bald Eagles in flight. $12. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7321, starvedrocklodge.com.
Julmarknad (Christmas Market)
Dec. 5, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Julmarknad is a fun-filled day for the family with vendors, Swedish foods, bakery, kaffe stuga and more. Breakfast with Tomte (Santa) begins at 9 a.m. Reservations required. Trinity Lutheran Church, 200 N. First St., Rockford, (815) 966-1218, swedishhistorical.org.
23rd Annual Cookie Walk and Bazaar
Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Enjoy homemade cookies, casseroles, Fair Trade gifts, crafts and artwork. A chili lunch is available for $6. The bazaar is in the gym. Second Congregational/First Presbyterian Church, 318 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 963-8431, secondfirst.org.
Dec. 6, 6-8 p.m. Travel back in time for a glimpse of holidays in seasons past. Roger D. Gustafson Nature Center, 603 N. Appleton Road, Belvidere, (815) 547-7935, bccdil.org.
Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Create your own board game with canvasses, high-quality prints, electronics, K’Nex building sets, blueprints and materials to make mini-catapults. $10. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Christmas Lights Trolley Tour
Dec. 12-23, daily 6-8 p.m. Relax before the holidays on this illuminated tour of the LaSalle, Peru, Oglesby and Utica area, just days before Christmas. $15. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7321, starvedrocklodge.com.
Dec. 13, 2-4 p.m. Learn about beekeeping techniques and tools of the trade. $2. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 19, 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Join the jolly man himself, as well as the Mrs., for a breakfast buffet. Adults $13.50/children $9.95. Reservations requested. Starved Rock Lodge, (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.