You Gotta Regatta' and Enjoy the Fall Colors in Illinois' Rockford Region -- Family-friendly adventures and festivals make it easy to ‘Fall into Fun'

September 14, 2015

Rockford, IL
 - From family-friendly festivals to fantastic orchards to some of the best places in Illinois to see the leaves changing color, the Rockford Region in Illinois has the perfect recipe to help you "Fall into Fun."

"We are fortunate to have such a variety of events each fall that have a long tradition in our community," said John Groh, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO/president. "It's great to see events like the Head of the Rock Regatta, which began in 1986, and its 1,700 competitive rowers compete each year on the Rock River. Longevity like that shows how great the event is and how much the community enjoys it. If it is October in Rockford, then ‘You Gotta Regatta.'"

With teams from as far away as Colorado and Alaska, the Regatta is one of the premier rowing competitions in the United States and the Rock River is often heralded as one of the best rowing rivers in the country. The event draws more than 5,000 spectators that line the 3.2 mile course.

Other events that are part of the Rockford Area Fall Scene include:
• Greenwich Village Art Fair (Sept. 19-20) - The longest-running art fair of its kind in the Midwest, the event features up to 155 juried artists, live music, a gourmet marketplace, food vendors and children's activities.
• Fall Pec Thing (Sept. 19-20) - More than 500 vendors set up at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds for two days of selling antiques, collectibles, crafts and more.
• Rockford City Market (Fridays, ends Oct. 2) - Take in the great bounty of the fall harvest and shop the more than 70 vendors that come to downtown Rockford each Friday evening. Admission is free to this fun street fair that also features live music.
• Locktoberfest (Oct. 3-31) - Lockwood Park presents this family fun festival every weekend in October and features carnival rides, games, wagon rides, seasonal food and more.
• Head of the Rock Regatta (Oct. 11) - The Rock River takes center stage as 1,700 rowers take to the waters in this annual competition.
• On Tap in the Garden (Oct. 17) - Anderson Japanese Gardens has designed a new event to bring friends together to sample craft beers from local and regional breweries. Brewery representatives will be on hand to serve guests and to answer questions. Local vendors will have food available for purchase. The VIP Tasting includes food pairings from the Prairie Street Brewhouse.
• All Hallows' Eve (Oct. 24) - Midway Village Museum hosts this fun trick-or-treating experience through its Victorian Village, and families can venture into the enchanted woods and meet characters from the classic legend of Robin Hood.

Of course, the fall tradition of going to a local apple orchard and savoring the first bite of a fresh, apple cider donut is looked forward to all year long. Curran's Orchard, Edwards Apple Orchard West and Valley Orchard offer up the quintessential fall experience to thousands of visitors each year. Each orchard allows guests to pick-their-own apples or select from a wide assortment of pre-picked favorites in the general stores that also feature fresh berries, fresh cider and an assortment of unique gift items.

And if the highlight of the fall season means beautiful views of nature and crisp air hikes while you take in the changing leaves, the Rockford region has you covered. Rockford and Winnebago County are home to 42 forest preserves that make up more than 10,000 acres of land to be explored. Rock Cut State Park boasts an additional 3,000 acres that are ideal for hiking and biking.

Rockford is known as the City of Gardens and in particular fall is a great time to catch Anderson Japanese Gardens, which is often regarded as one of the best Japanese gardens in the United States. Or, take a walk along the paths at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden and see the majestic burr oaks in addition to buckeyes, larch, maples, beech, firs, spruce, and pine.

For more information to help you "Fall into Fun" or to download our Fall into Fun flyer with many of the recommended events and activities go online to

Rockford, Illinois, is a vibrant community with big-city amenities and a small-town feel. Rockford is surrounded by many attractive towns and villages, each with its own character and appeal, making up a metro area of more than 330,000 people. This is a welcoming place dotted with green, blessed by rivers and untroubled by congestion. If you're looking for the real, original heart of America, welcome home to the Rockford Region.



Josh Albrecht, RACVB Director of Marketing & Public Affairs: 815.489.1655 or