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Merry & Bright

Merry & Bright

Jump to Category: Winter Activities | Holiday TreesHolidays Around the World | Merry & Bright Events

Download the 2016 Merry & Bright PDF here

Winter Activities


As the winter season brings an accumulation of snow, our outdoor parks and indoor recreation spaces bustle with adventurous activities.

Snow Park at Alpine Hills
Enjoy tubing, skiing and snowboarding for riders of all abilities. Snow making equipment covers the park in fresh powder daily.

Rockford IceHogs Hockey
Hockey loving locals and visitors alike love to go ìhog wildî over the IceHogs, the local American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rocktown Adventures
This specialty outdoor retailer hosts snowshoeing tours throughout various Rockford Park District facilities and Rock Cut State Park

Holiday Trees

Keith's Christmas Trees

There are plenty of local places to find your perfect tree this holiday season!

Gensler Gardens
Pick up your tree in the temperature controlled greenhouse. They also have a large selection of wreaths, garland, boughs, evergreen hanging baskets,  custom arrangements, Poinsettias and much more.

Keith's Christmas Trees
You can cut your own tree in this quiet, peaceful, family-owned tree farm. There are Scotch pine and white pine trees to choose from.

Valley View Christmas Tree Farm
There is a good selection of trees, wreaths, grave blankets, roping and greens. Complimentary shaking and netting at this 100 year old farm.

Williams Tree Farm
Cut your own tree, lodge with cafe, gift shop with thousands of ornaments, hot cocoa by the fire, pony rides, hayrides, maze, children's play area.

Holidays Around the World

lucia concert

Rockford is full of residents from a variety of different cultures. What better time to celebrate different cultures and backgrounds than the holidays?

Christmas Heritage Exhibits
Nov 27 - Dec 18 @ Ethnic Heritage Museum

See ethnic Christmas heritage traditions in six ethnic galleries: African American, Irish, Italian, Hispanic, Lithuanian and Polish.

Lucia Concert
Dec 2 @ First Lutheran Church

The choir of over 30 children will sing Swedish and English traditional songs that will warm your heart and begin the Christmas season with joy.

Dec 3 @ Trinity Lutheran Church

Julmarknad is a fun filled day full of Swedish foods, vendors, and more. Enjoy breakfast with Tomte (Swedish Santa) and children singing Swedish and English songs.

An Art Filled Holiday Happening
Dec 3 @ Veterans Memorial Hall

Enjoy a fun-filled day of arts and crafts for your holiday shopping. There will be jewelry, holiday cars, paintings, gourd art, wood turned crafters, ornaments and more.

Victorian Holiday Celebration
Dec 10 - 11 @ Midway Village Museum

Enjoy the sights of 1800s decorations on several of the historic buildings in the Victorian Village and take a sleigh ride in the horse-drawn wagon.

New Year Around the World
Dec 31 @ Burpee Museum

Visit displays of authentic items from other cultures, watch performances of folk dances from different countries, and join the hourly countdown to ring in 2017.

Merry & Bright Events

Stroll on State

Holiday Tree Lighting & Open House
Nov 18 - 19 @ Edgebrook

Get in the holiday spirit with Edgebrook's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday and the Open House on Saturday featuring all of the merchants at Edgebrook.

A Cottage Christmas
Nov 22 - Jan 15 @ Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum will be alive with the sights and sounds of “Christmas Past”! The historic Tinker Swiss Cottage will remain decorated for the holidays for all to enjoy.

Festival of Lights
Nov 25 - Dec 25 @ Sinnissippi Park

The annual Holiday Festival of Lights has become a Stateline family tradition, with over 50 holiday-themed lighted displays. Santa will be on site each weekend night so you can hand deliver your letters to him.

Stroll on State
Nov 26 @ Downtown Rockford

Stroll on State returns for a 4th year to get you in the holiday spirit. Come see Santa, go ice skating and witness the magical tree lighting ceremony of the official City Christmas tree.

All Aglow Display
Nov 26 - Jan 8 @ Nicholas Conservatory

Come see sparkling holiday lights and beautiful floral displays inside the warm tropical conservatory. Outdoor grounds are also lit up and decorated for the season.

The Nutcracker
Nov 26 - 27 @ Rockford University

Rockford Dance Companyís annual performance of The Nutcracker has amazing new choreography by Monica Isla from the Milwaukee Ballet.

Elf the Musical
Nov 30 @ Coronado Performing Arts Center

Elf the Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, who embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Tour de Frost
Dec 3 @ The Vitamin Shop (starting point)

The Tour de Frost is a safe, fun, fully supported 20-mile bike ride around Rockford put on by Team Fur Bandit. The event benefits the Rockford Rescue Mission.

Rockton Christmas Walk
Dec 3 @ Downtown Rockton

The 32nd annual event includes the Candy Cane Craft Fair, Lighting of the Park, Lighted Parade, horse drawn wagon rides, Santa and Christmas carolers.

Christmas Concert and Holiday Dessert Buffet
Dec 4 @ Klehm Arboretum

A variety of local musicians and singers, will delight all ages with their renditions of traditional favorites and some new, soon-to-be favorites, too. An intermission break will allow concert goers to feast on a beautiful buffet of desserts, candies and treats.

Shop on State
Dec 8 @ Downtown Rockford
Shop, sip and snack during Shop on State, a hometown holiday experience, featuring great shopping, delicious food, carolers and a visit from Santa at City Hall. 

A Local Holiday Market
Dec 10 @ Rockford University

This annual event helps you support and shop at your favorite local homegrown, grass roots businesses, all in one convenient location!

J.R. Sullivan's Hometown Holiday
Dec 10 - 11 @ Nordlof Center

This seasonal variety show is custom-made each year for the Rockford community. It features holiday-inspired storytelling, comedy and seasonal and popular music.

12 Bars of Christmas
Dec 17 @ Downtown Rockford

Holiday cheer and a bit of revelry will be on display during this first annual pub crawl downtown where you can wind your way through downtown to 12 local bars and restaurants.

Holiday Pops Concert
Dec 17 - 18 @ Coronado Performing Arts Center

Celebrate the holiday season as the Mendelssohn Chorale joins the Rockford Symphony Orchestra to bring you the best music of the season, from popular to traditional and sentimental to serious.

Holiday Hoopla
Dec 26 - 30 @ Discovery Center Museum

Discovery Center’s lunchroom transforms into holiday headquarters as we merge hands-on arts and crafts with amazing math and science. Vote for your favorite Christmas cookie, snip a snowflake, create delightful designs, and discover hidden shapes.

Countdown to Fun
Dec 31 @ Discovery Center Museum

Design a party hat, create a noise maker, and get showered with confetti as we find out where in the world itís midnight each hour and countdown to fun!

Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition
Jan 18 - 21 @ Sinnissippi Park

Teams from around the state compete for the right to represent Illinois in the 2018 U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition.