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Merry & Bright

Merry & Bright

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Download the 2017 Merry & Bright PDF here!

Stay Active


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

Carlson Ice Arena
Carlson Ice Arena features a 200 x 85 feet ice rink with seating for 600 spectators. This facility is also home to the Sapora Playworld, a three-level soft play structure designed for children.

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

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.

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.

See the Lights

Rockford's River Lights

Behold all of the holiday light displays throughout the region. Wander around a winter wonderland outside among the lights, or stay warm from your car or the tropical conservatory to see them!

All Aglow Exhibit
November 25 - January 7 @ Nicholas Conservatory
Come see the sparkling holiday lights and beautiful floral displays inside the warm conservatory and on the outdoor grounds.

Holiday Festival of Lights
December 1 - 31 @ Sinnissippi Park

Drive through Sinnissippi Park to see over 50 unique light displays installed by individuals and local organizations and businesses.

Rockford's River Lights
November 25 - December 31 @ Downtown Rockford

River Lights, powered by ComEd, features synchronized lights to music along the Rock River on Friday and Saturday nights in December.

Merry & Bright Events

Stroll on State

Holiday Tree Lighting & Open House
November 17 - 18 @ 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.

2nd Annual Candy Cane Lane Craft Show
November 19 @ Durand High School

Crafters and holiday cheer will be filling Durand High School for the 2nd Annual Candy Cane Lane Craft Show featuring 75 crafters filling 100 booths.

Christmas Holiday Traditions - New Exhibits Open
November 19 @ Heritage Museum Park

New Christmas Tradition exhibits open, including Ethnic Heritage Museum Welcome Center's six ethnic galleries and Graham-Ginestra House English Holiday Traditions.

Black Light Friday
November 24 @ Discovery Center Museum

Find out what puts the "glow" in neon colors and wow your senses with the fabulous fluorescence. Gain an understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and experiment with light and color.

Oak Ridge Boys' 2017 Christmas Celebration Tour
November 24 @ Coronado Performing Arts Center

The almost two-hour extravaganza will feature a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs - religious, romantic, and fun holiday tunes.

Stroll on State
November 25 @ Downtown Rockford

Stroll on State, presented by Illinois Bank & Trust, returns for a 5th 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.

The Nutcracker
November 25 - 26 @ Rockford University

Prepare to be whisked away again to the magical moments of Clara with her beloved Nutcracker, dolls that come to life and the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Noels, Pastorales, and Carols: Festive Holiday Fare
December 1 @ Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center

Kick off the holiday season with a concert of seasonal music and caroling featuring Mendelssohn's grand Möller pipe organ.

Tour de Frost
December 2 @ The Vitamin Shoppe (starting point)

The Tour de Frost is a safe, fun, fully supported 20-mile bike ride around Rockford put on by Team Fur Bandit. Cyclists go in a group and are treated to stops along the way at Olympic Tavern and Rockford Bicycle Company.

Rockton Christmas Walk
December 2 @ Downtown Rockton

This holiday tradition for thousands of area residents offers unique events, shopping experiences and holiday festivities. Don't miss the Lighted Christmas Parade on Saturday night!

Christmas Concert and Holiday Dessert Buffet
December 3 @ 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.

2017 Rockford Handmade Market
December 7 @ Prairie Street Brewing Co.

Rockford Handmade Market is the ultimate holiday shopping event, featuring some of the best and up-and-coming local and regional vendors selling locally crafted and handmade goods.

Broadway at the Coronado - Christmas Wonderland
December 8 @ Coronado Performing Arts Center

This most loved Christmas show features glittering costumes, a dazzling cast and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole.

December 8 - 9 @ Severson Dells Nature Center

This annual favorite brings together music, a warm fire, hot chocolate and a candle-lit walk through the snow.

J.R. Sullivan's Hometown Holiday
December 8 - 10 @ 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.

Shop on State
December 9 @ Downtown Rockford
Shop, sip and snack during Shop on State, a hometown holiday experience, featuring great shopping, delicious food, carolers and more in downtown Rockford.

Holiday Happenings
December 10 @ Erlander Home Museum, Heritage Museum Park, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

Enjoy an afternoon of holiday decor and spirit as you travel back in time to Victorian-era Rockford at three unique Rockford attractions.

It's a Wonderful Life - A Radio Play
December 15 - 17 @ Rockford University Clark Arts Center

George Bailey needs a miracle and Clarence needs his wings. Join us for this holiday classic presented by Artists' Ensemble Theater

Rockford Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert
December 16 & 17 @ Coronado Performing Arts Center

The nationally acclaimed vocal group Five by Design joins the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for a unique take on classic holiday favorites and brand new originals.

Countdown to Fun!
December 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 it's midnight each hour and countdown to fun!

New Year Around the World
December 31 @ Burpee Museum of Natural History

Engage in crafts and activities that celebrate cultures from around the world and join parades around the museum each hour as a different country rings in the new year.

Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition
January 17 - 20 @ Sinnissippi Park

Teams from around the state compete for the right to represent Illinois in the 2019 U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition.