I've had my fair share of swimming pools, frozen beverages and layers of sunscreen this summer already, but there's one thing in summer that I haven't enjoyed yet: a good old Midwestern festival. Lucky for us here in Rockford, August is FULL of festivals each weekend! These events have pulled out all the stops. There are carnival rides, deep fried food, games with prizes and of course, live music. Here is a rundown of festivals during the month of August here in the Rockford region. Have fun!
(Download a PDF of the festival list here!)
August 5 - 7 at Boylan High School
I may not be Italian, but everyone who passes through the gates is an "Honorary Italian!" Want to just listen to live music? They have that going on all day for three days straight! Carnival rides more your thing? Get some tickets and ride on the several rides they have! Stomach growling? You'll want to try ALL of the delicious Italian food they have to offer! (Psst, try the fried ravioli...it's my favorite!)
Winnebago County Fair
August 16 - 21 at Winnebago County Fairgrounds
You'll need your walking shoes for this event...the space is huge! What I like about the Winnebago County Fair is that if you can't go one day, no worries! The fair is open for 6 days straight! They have all the festival favorites. Elephant ears, popcorn, lemonade, funnel cakes...and all the spinning rides to make you somewhat regret eating so much! Last year I went out of my comfort zone and went on a ride where you are in an enclosed car and basically do somersaults around a track. If you know me, you know I hate rides that make you spin. But this one was actually really fun! We were pretty much cracking up the whole time the ride was going on.
August 21 at St. Stanislaus Church grounds
I love that Rockford has so many cultural events and festivals each year. This one is a little more special for me because my family is part Polish! If you're wanting to try some cultural food, this festival is for you! While you're watching the traditional Polish dancers, you can also be munching on a Polish sausage with sauerkraut or a pierogi! Kids will love this festival too because there are plenty of kids activities (inflatables to play on!) and games.
Cherry Valley Festival Days
August 26 - 28 at Baumann Park
This isn't your average festival. Cherry Valley Festival Days has all the usual staples of a festival (ferris wheel ride anyone?), but they also have a few unique highlights. Come watch the Scottish Highland Games as athletes compete in traditional Celtic games! Ever see someone toss a giant wooden log? This could be your chance. And being held in Cherry Valley, of course they're going to have cherry pie eating contests! Plus as a bonus, if you go to the festival on Saturday night, you'll be able to see the spectacular fireworks display held at dusk!
Midtown Ethnic Parade & Festival
August 28 at Midtown District
This festival is one of Rockford's newer festivals, and is not one to miss. Midtown Ethnic Parade & Festival highlights nearly 50 cultures in Rockford. The parade in the afternoon is a sight to see as each cultural group is represented with traditional clothing, flags, banners...and I think there are a few dragons too! You'll get your fix of cultural food at the festival as there are vendors selling various treats from different cultures. If you're not sure of your own heritage, you can trace your own family's roots in the Genealogy Room and find out your own culture!