Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Janesville Farmers Market
Through Oct. 27, Sat. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Fresh produce, meats, eggs, honey, baked goods, plants, cut flowers, soaps and more. 100 N. Main St., Janesville, (608) 289-9292, janesvillefarmersmarket.com.
Edgebrook Farmers Market
Through Oct. 31, Wed. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Local farmers display vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants as well as fresh-baked breads, sweet treats, cheese, maple syrup, farm-fresh eggs, jams and jellies, and more. Edgebrook Center, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
Through Oct. 28, Sat.-Sun. 1-4 p.m. On the grounds of a 50-acre county park sit an authentically restored 1868 grist mill, a new dam, mill pond, fish ladder, foot bridge, visitor center, creamery, blacksmith and cooperage shops, picnic shelter, vintage garden and nature trail. Beckman Mill County Park, 8606 S. County Road H, Beloit, (608) 361-1377, weltycenter.org.
Wings of Wonder: Lorikeet Exhibit
Through Nov. 11, Tue.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Come face-to-beak with these curious nectar-feeding birds known for their playful personalities, vibrant coloration and ability to mimic words and sounds. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
Great Balls of Fire
Through Dec. 16, daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Climb into a “spaceship” and blast off to the asteroid belt and Jupiter. Find out about comets, create your own solar system and more. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Sordid and Scandalous Lake Geneva
Oct. 6-27, Sat. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Hear the gossip of Lake Geneva about a 1950s bank robbery, the town’s tie to prohibition gangsters and tales of the sea serpent. Reg. online. Meet at the Riviera Building, 812 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva, (262) 248-1888, wisconsinhistory.com.
Haunted House at Timber Lake Playhouse
Oct. 6-27, Sat. 6:30-10 p.m. Hear footsteps coming from nowhere as you move quietly through the wooded trails and indoor haunts, feeling chills and dodging dark shadows. Age 13 and older. Timber Lake Playhouse, 8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll, Ill., (815) 244-2035, timberlakeplayhouse.org.
Frenchman’s Frolic Rendezvous
Oct. 19-20, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Talk with re-enactors participating in a pre-1840s frontier rendezvous of trappers, traders and Native Americans; period craft demonstrations such as rope making and blacksmithing. Macktown Forest Preserve, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 624-4200, macktownlivinghistory.com.
All Hallows Eve
Oct. 20, noon-6 p.m. Don your costume and trick-or-treat in the Victorian Village, with more than 24 buildings decorated for Halloween; children’s games, crafts and dancing. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Halloween Legends and Lore
Oct. 20-21 & 27-28, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Hear fairytales of the Old World as well as Wisconsin ghost stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Explore mazes, flee ghosts or dance in the enchanted fairy circle; top off the evening with a bonfire finale. Old World Wisconsin (OWW), W372 S9727, Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6300, oldworldwisconsinwisconsinhistory.org.
Oct. 20-22, Sat.-Sun. 5-7 p.m., Sun. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Celebrate German food, beer, wine and music. Res. req. Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock State Park, Ill. Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill., (800) 868-7625, starvedrocklodge.com.
Trick or Trot 5K Run & Family Walk
Oct. 21, run at 8:30 a.m., walk at 8:40 a.m. Run or walk through the historic village in your family-friendly costume; awards for winners in age divisions and for costumes as well. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
AJG Dancing in the Gardens
Oct. 24, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Meet your friends in the Pavilion for some fusion dancing, blending different dance styles and music varieties; includes a lesson. All levels of dance experience are welcome. Non-alcoholic event. Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 24-28, events daily. Thousands of pumpkins decorate the courthouse lawn. Sample pumpkin pie, caramel apples and other fall favorites; carnivals and indoor craft shows. Parade on Sun. Sycamore Courthouse & Downtown, 133 W. State St., Sycamore, Ill., sycamorepumpkinfestival.com.
Oct. 26, 5-7 p.m. Children elementary school-aged and older create potions, practice wand etiquette and learn about helpful magical plants and animals while snacking on wizardly treats. Rock County Historical Society, 426 N. Jackson St., (608) 756-4509, Janesville, rchs.org.
Oct. 26, 6-9 p.m. Concoct glowing slime, make monstrous crafts, enjoy hair-raising experiences and experiment with science tricks that look like magic. Come in costume and bring a trick-or-treat bag. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Discover how oaks shaped the Midwest and how people and wildlife learned to use them. Learn to identify both the trees and their acorns; help plant acorns to grow our oak savannas; make acorn toys; discover how our ancestors used acorns for food and dyes. Severson Dells Nature Center, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
40th Annual Halloween Parade & Festival
Oct. 27, 6:30-10:30 p.m. The largest, longest parade in the Tri-State area features floats, marching bands, hot air balloons, prizes, treats and food vendors. Main Street, Galena, Ill., visitgalena.org.
Guitar & Drum Show All Aboard! Model Train Show Evening of Illumination Epicurean Fete Smashing Pumpkins Crazy about Chemistry Holiday Traditions Edgebrook Tree Lighting Elementary, My Dear Watson Victorian Mansion Holiday Gift Show Annual Nouveau Weekend Monster Jam Holiday Silent Auction Christkindlmarkt Grinchy Green Science Holiday Light Show Galena Holiday Kick-Off Candlelight Walk Stroll on State All Aglow Holiday Display Holiday Fire in the Sky Family Class – Gingerbread House
Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Buy, sell or trade instruments. RAMI, Cliffbreakers, 700 W. Riverside Blvd., Rockford, (815) 877-9678, rockfordguitarshow.com.
Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Model train enthusiasts showcase a variety of model train sets and talk about collecting, preserving and assembling sets. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Nov. 3, 6 p.m. Tour the village by lantern and hear the stories behind the buildings; visit activity stations. Call to reserve. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com.
Nov. 3, 6-9:30 p.m. Enjoy a “touch of class in the glass” at the 12th annual wine and food festival, featuring a live auction, raffle and door prizes. Dixon Chamber of Commerce, Madden Hall-Fairgrounds, 115. S. Hennepin Ave., Dixon, Ill., (707) 678-2650, dixonchamber.org.
Nov. 4, 1-4 p.m. A giant trebuchet transforms your porch pumpkin into a parking lot projectile. Create a catapult and celebrate the harvest. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Nov. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Get a feel for chemical changes when you combine safe and simple materials to create oodles of fizz, columns of foam and color changes. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Nov. 15-29, Tue.-Thu. 1 & 3 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 1, 2 & 3 p.m. Take a guided tour through the elegantly decorated 1897 mansion. Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Fri. 6-9 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1-5 p.m. Enjoy a self-tour of the house, live music, visits with Santa and refreshments. Ellwood House Museum & Park, 509 N. 1st St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-4609, ellwoodhouse.org.
Nov. 16, 5-6:30 p.m. Local choirs entertain with holiday carols while waiting for the countdown to the tree lighting. Edgebrook Center, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
Nov. 16, 7-9 p.m. Join your friends for an evening of sleuthing as you collect enough clues to solve a tricky crime mystery. Solve the puzzle first and your team takes home a prize. Age 16 and up. Reg. online. Lincoln-Tallman House, 440 N. Jackson St., Janesville, (608) 756-4509, rchs.us.
Nov. 16-17, Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m. The historic Taylor Mansion is filled with handmade items created by local craftspeople. Stephenson County Historical Society, 1440 S. Carroll Ave., Freeport, (815) 232-8419, stephcohs.org.
Nov. 16-17. Events daily. Celebrate the French-inspired tradition of sampling the “le Beaujolais Nouveau” from the fall harvest. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, 515 S. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 776-9200, nouveauweekend.com.
Nov. 16-17, 7 p.m. World-class drivers compete in monster truck racing and freestyle competitions. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Nov. 17-Dec. 14, Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Dec. 15 to 1:45 p.m. Bid in person, by phone or email ([email protected]) on unique gift items including original artwork, gourmet dinners, home decor and sports-related memorabilia. Opening reception Nov. 17, 6-7:30 p.m. Frehner Gallery, Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Nov. 23-24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Featuring unique items for holiday gift giving, such as wood carvings and intricate scissors cuttings. Sample homemade Swiss baked goods and hot spiced wine. Turner Hall of Monroe, 1217 17th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-3461, turnerhallofmonroe.org.
Nov. 23-24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Make green bubbles, Grinch Goop, Whoville hats and more. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Nov. 23-Dec. 30, Fri.-Sun. 4:30-8:30 p.m. Featuring 100 beautifully decorated trees, 2,500 luminaria and 500 icicle lights hanging from trees in the garden. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Nov. 24, noon-6 p.m. Bring the family for Santa’s parade, lighting of the tree and carolers. Main St., Galena, Ill., visitgalena.org.
Nov. 24, 3-8 p.m. Enjoy a small-town Christmas evening with horse-drawn wagon rides, a visit from Santa, reindeer, entertainment and a winter carnival. Coliseum, ADM Studios and downtown Oregon, Ill., candlelightwalk.org.
Nov. 24, 3-9 p.m. Join with family and friends as downtown Rockford transforms into a magical winter wonderland. See blocks of ice transform into works of art, enjoy holiday concerts, lighting
of the city’s Christmas tree, ice skating, music, dining and shopping. Downtown Rockford. Info: (815) 963-8111, strollonstate.com.
Nov. 25-Jan. 6, 2019, Tue.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and in Dec. to 8 p.m. Closed Dec. 24-25 & Dec. 31-Jan.1. The Conservatory is decorated inside and out, with sparkling lights and beautiful floral displays. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Dec. 1, 6-7 p.m. Warm up with hot cocoa and a bonfire while watching fireworks and listening to Christmas music on the levee. Depot Park 91, Bouthillier St., Galena, Ill., (224) 639-3436, visitgalena.org.
Dec. 2, 1:30-3 p.m. Enjoy a tasty tradition as you and your family decorate a gingerbread house or two to take home. Houses, tools and trimmings supplied for a fee. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Guitar & Drum Show
All Aboard! Model Train Show
Evening of Illumination
Crazy about Chemistry
Edgebrook Tree Lighting
Elementary, My Dear Watson
Victorian Mansion Holiday Gift Show
Annual Nouveau Weekend
Holiday Silent Auction
Grinchy Green Science
Holiday Light Show
Galena Holiday Kick-Off
Stroll on State
All Aglow Holiday Display
Holiday Fire in the Sky
Family Class – Gingerbread House