1. Parking? Never fear, shuttle buses are here!
If you don't want to worry about parking downtown the night of Stroll on State, there are FOUR shuttle buses you can take! Thanks to Rockford Mass Transit District, you can park and a shuttle bus will take you to the Stroll on State grounds for FREE! The shuttle locations are at the downtown YMCA of Rock River Valley (200 Y Blvd., Rockford, IL 61107), Heartland Community Church (1280 S. Alpine Rd., Rockford, IL 61108), Illinois Bank & Trust (4048 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108), and Javon Bea Hospital (west side of hospital at Edgemont Street). Buses run from 1 – 9:30 p.m., so plenty of time to explore the event and catch the parade!
2. ATMs are spread throughout the Stroll on State grounds
Illinois Bank & Trust is providing ATMs at several locations on the Stroll on State grounds for your convenience. You can find the ATMs between Wyman and Main Streets, at the City Market Pavilion, near the Hot Chocolate Express, at the corner of E. State and 1st Streets, and near the Kringle Cafe located at State and 3rd Streets.
3. SO. MUCH. SANTA!
Stroll on State wouldn’t be complete without an appearance by SANTA! You’ll be able to see him in the parade, and at not one, but TWO SantaLand locations (produced by City First Church Spring Creek)! Santa works his magic to be both inside Stewart Square (west of the river) and by Millennium Fountain (east of the river). Look forward to receiving a printed souvenir photo at both locations! Be sure to stop by Letters to Santa at Stroll on State (sponsored by FurstStaffing & FurstProfessionals) to write your Christmas wish list as well! There will be a special mailbox where you can drop your letters and they will be shipped off to the North Pole to Santa himself. Be sure to include your address because Santa might even respond …
4. Stay Connected on Social Media
Make sure you use the hashtag #strollonstate and tag @gorockford on your social media channels to be featured on the gorockford.com homepage! New this year - you can show your love for Stroll on State by using our custom-made Snapchat filter or by updating your profile with our temporary Stroll on State themed profile pic. And don’t forget to follow the Go Rockford channels on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter all night long to get an inside view of Stroll on State.
5. Stay Warm!
Worried it may be a little chilly at Stroll on State this year? Don’t worry! We’ll keep you nice and toasty at the three Fire Pit locations (sponsored by Local 11), two Hot Chocolate Express locations (hosted by Rockford Marlins Swim Team and 815 After Hours Rotary), and two Stroll on State Merchandise stands.
6. Plenty of Photo Ops
Say cheese! Capture the memories of Stroll on State and take home a souvenir at the Special Moments Photo Keepsake, sponsored by ComEd! We’ll have a variety of holiday props to choose from for your photo with your family, friends, coworkers, or new friends you make at the event! Another great place for family photos is the spectacular light display at Rockford’s River Lights, sponsored by Plumbers and Pipefitters LU 23 JATC. Starting at 5 p.m. the night of Stroll, there will be a magical light show in sync to holiday music along the west bank of the Rock River!
7. Shop, Dine, and Support Local Small Businesses
Along with a wide range of food vendors set up around the Stroll grounds, downtown restaurants and eateries will be open for business the night of Stroll to satisfy your food cravings. While you’re exploring downtown, don't miss out on the chance to get some Christmas shopping done, and shop locally! Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to support our local businesses while bringing home some holiday-themed, limited edition gifts and goodies!
8. Merry & Bright Stroll on State Holiday Parade
This year's parade is even bigger and better than last year! Starting at 2 p.m., over a dozen floats, 8 larger than life balloons, 3 bands, numerous characters, and the one and only Santa will make their way down State Street to really kick off Stroll on State in style. A big thank you to our friends at The Power Connection – IBEW 364 & NECA for sponsoring the parade!
9. City of Rockford Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
This is the moment when the community gathers together to officially kick off the holiday season with Rockford's official tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5:45 p.m! The tree is located at the corner of State & Wyman Streets (sponsored by Northwestern Illinois Building Trades)! This is one of the most magical moments of the night, so you won’t want to miss it.
10. Sky Lights Fireworks Show
The Sky Lights Fireworks Show sponsored by Pierce Distribution immediately follows the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Arrive early to claim your viewing spot! This is no small fireworks show either … it rivals any Fourth of July fireworks show in the region! The fireworks will be set off from the middle of the Rock River, so ideal viewing points include the State Street bridge and the west and east banks of the river. Fireworks are scheduled to go out around 6:15 p.m!