Rockford Chamber VOICE Article - November 2016
A Rivre Awash in Lights - New Magic for Stroll on State
By John Groh

Traditions help define who we are and where we come from. They weave the fabric that binds a community together and guide us to who we aspire to be in the future by carrying a torch from the past.

As Stroll on State enters its third year, I've been reflecting on how quickly it has become a new tradition for our community. As always, Stroll on State will take place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 3 - 9 p.m. in downtown Rockford.

RACVB and its partners, volunteers and the entire community looked on in awe and wonder as SOS grew from 30,000 attendees in 2013 to some 60,000 attendees in 2014. The merriment-filled crowds enjoyed the sights and sounds and shared experiences with their family and friends as we kicked-off the Merry & Bright holiday season. Nearly 90 percent of those attending SOS in 2014 came with 2 or more people, showing how the event is truly an experience that is best when it is shared with a loved one.

A great new partnership

As Stroll grows, we recognize the need for additional support and partnerships to enhance the event and ensure it remains a free event for the community. We are honored to announce that Illinois Bank & Trust has locked arms with RACVB and is providing significant underwriting for Stroll on State as our presenting sponsor for 2015 and 2016. We couldn't be more pleased to partner with such a great community institution.

"Illinois Bank & Trust is excited to be the presenting sponsor for Stoll on State. Our community and the RACVB have turned Stroll on State into a great community event and a draw for our entire region," said Jeff Hultman, IB&T Market President. "As one of the largest and fastest-growing financial institutions headquartered in Rockford, we are delighted to be a key supporter of our growing downtown vibrancy, increasing community connectivity and ultimately success for our region. We hope tens of thousands join Illinois Bank & Trust at Stoll on State."

Additional underwriters and sponsors to date include SwedishAmerican Hospital, a Division of UW Health, Comcast, WilliamsManny Insurance Group, Landstar Inway and LaMonica Beverages.

A bright new addition

Just as Stroll on State brings the community together for the holidays, the Rock River has the opportunity to bring our community together.

Inspired by the great lighting and decorations that make Stroll on State so magical, RACVB is pleased to announce a new idea that will enhance the banks of our great river and literally shine a new light on our downtown.

Rockford's River Lights will illuminate our riverfront in new and bold ways. Imagine the banks of the Rock River awash in lights. Imagine those lights dancing and moving, synchronized to music. River Lights will debut at this year's Stroll on State. And, with the support of the community, the lights will stay on and the music will continue each night following Stroll until January 2, 2016. Donations and sponsorships are currently being sought for this new idea. To learn more about River Lights, please contact me at the RACVB office, 815.963.8111 or

Celebrating and sharing

We look forward to sharing with you all of off the great activities, attractions and magical moments that Stroll on State and the entire Merry & Bright season has to offer in Rockford. And thank you for celebrating and sharing the most wonderful time of the year with us.