Merry & Bright Kicks Off Small Business Saturday, November 28, Extends Through December 24 With At-Home, Virtual Programs

Despite not being able to gather for a live event this year, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB), alongside many sponsors, community partners and volunteers, is excited to again inspire hope, awe and wonder this holiday season by celebrating from afar as part of this year’s Stroll on State Presented by Illinois Bank & Trust. With responsibility and safety at top of mind, this year’s reimagined Stroll experiences are marked by A Merry & Bright Holiday Season, which begins this Saturday, November 28 and runs through Thursday, December 24.

As this Saturday also marks Small Business Saturday, RACVB is centering its Merry & Bright activities on helping to help raise awareness around the importance of supporting local, and as an avenue for enhanced marketing support of our region’s local shops, restaurants, bars and small businesses of the hospitality and tourism industry. In addition to supporting a buy-local mantra, at-home and virtual experiences will replace traditional in-person programs. As you prepare to celebrate this year’s Stroll on State Merry & Bright Season, keep these important dates and activities in mind:

  • Watch RACVB and WREX's "Stroll on State Presents A Merry & Bright Holiday Special" at 6 p.m. November 28 on Channel 13 WREX. The production will showcase feature stories on some of our region’s most resilient people before culminating at 6:52 p.m. with the official City Tree Lighting and Fireworks, which will be launch in five surprise neighborhoods throughout Rockford.
  • Mail Letters to Santa from November 28-December 7 at one of the six mailbox locations throughout the region.
  • Attend RACVB's Virtual Visits with Santa for free from 1-6 p.m. CT on one of three Sundays in December, including December 6, December 13 and December 20. Registration for one of 50, five-minute timeslots with Santa will be available midday on the Tuesday before each Virtual Santa Sunday. Registration opens next Tuesday, December 3, at
  • Dine and shop local throughout the region on Small Business Saturday throughout the Merry & Bright Season, which runs from November 28-December 24.
  • Local businesses can participate in "Spread the Light," a local business holiday decorations contest for community pride and cash prizes. In addition to the business community, residents are encouraged to decorate homes and neighborhoods to celebrate the holiday spirit from November 28-December 24.
  • Compete at your own leisure in the Dasher Dash At-Home 5K from November 28-December 24.
  • Wear a mask, maintain social distance and sanitize appropriately as you support local.

Amidst the pandemic, the goal of RACVB, its partners and sponsors is to keep the Stroll on State tradition alive for the future while keeping our community safe this year. Please join us in celebrating this Merry & Bright Season responsibly while adhering to the safety protocols put in place by the Winnebago County Health Department to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Visit and follow GoRockford social media channels and the Stroll on State Facebook page for more information about this year’s Merry & Bright programs.


About RACVB: RACVB is responsible for promoting the Rockford region as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, RACVB strengthens the economic position of the region and provides opportunities for people in our communities.


Contact Nick Povalitis, RACVB vice president of marketing & sports development, 815.489.1652,