Letters to Santa
November 28 - December 7

Stroll On State Events & Attractions

Project First Rate

Live Music

Live music is BACK, and we're so excited to feature the tremendous talent of our local artists playing their favorite holiday music at this year’s Stroll on State.  With many stages to choose from, you’ll have several opportunities to catch a band or two while taking in the sights and celebrating the season.  Live music will begin at 2 pm and conclude at 9 pm.  Be sure to head over to the mainstage by 6 pm for the perfect soundtrack and kick off for the annual lighting of our city’s Christmas tree.

Stroll on State Parade

Kicking off at 3pm, the Merry & Bright holiday parade features fabulous floats, festive music, and costumed characters—including Mr. and Mrs. Claus. This is a family-friendly event that combines balloons, bands, princesses, elves, antique vehicles, and more.  There won’t be a bad seat in the house along the magical parade path.

Want to participate in this year’s parade?  Apply HERE now!

City Tree Lighting

One of the highlights of Stroll on State is the lighting of the giant Christmas tree downtown in Davis Park.  There’s something timeless about gathering with friends and listening to carols around a tree.  We invite you to sip something warm and let the spirit of the season fill you. At 6 pm, our Mayor—Tom McNamara—will be giving inspiring remarks, and after the city tree is lit, we’ll be lighting off fireworks, which signal the beginning of the Merry & Bright season.

Do you have the perfect tree donate for this year’s event?  Please let us know so we can check it out! Apply HERE now!

Support Local 

Last year, many small-business owners were forced to close up shop for the holidays; this year, they are so pleased to open their doors, decorate their storefronts, and join in the festivities. Enhancing civic pride and helping to spark economic development embodies the essence of Stroll on State’s creation in 2013. After the hardships they’ve endured, there may be no better time or bigger moment for our community to help bolster the small businesses that give our community its character. Join us throughout the Merry & Bright season by shopping at local boutiques and galleries, dining out at your favorite local restaurants or bars, and sharing the important message of taking care of our own. CLICK HERE to visit our Local Businesses page.

Letters to Santa

For those who cannot make it to see Santa in-person, Letters to Santa returns thanks to FurstStaffing & FurstProfessionals and has remained expanded to include six drop-off locations around the region. Download a PDF of your Letter to Santa HERE! To ensure you get a response from Santa, drop your letters off at any of the below locations between Saturday, November 27, and Monday, December 6:

  • FurstStaffing, 2580 Charles Street, Rockford
  • Rockford City Hall, 425 E. State Street (north side of building), Rockford
  • Davis Park, Chestnut & Wyman Streets by the City Tree, Rockford
  • Janenes Event Design Studio Social Café, 607 West State Street, Studio B, Rockford
  • Illinois Bank & Trust, 4571 Guilford Road, Rockford, OR 308 West State Street, Rockford



Decorations will be bigger and brighter this year, featuring Davis Park as another focal point of downtown décor and the new home of the official City Tree. The Tree’s location will remain on the north lawn of Davis Park.  Memories will be made and captured as part of a holiday backdrop that also adorns RACVB’s new ROCKFORD letters. Be sure to also head north to check out the River District Tree, walk along State Street to the Eddie Green Tree, take in all of the downtown lights and décor, and shop and eat local as you stroll and support the community at your own leisure. And while Stroll on State helps us to officially kick off Small Business Saturday annually, please join us in revisiting your favorite shops, eateries and small businesses throughout the Merry & Bright season!

Social Media

Engage with us on GoRockford social channels and the Stroll on State Facebook page. Post your favorite photos from Stroll on State, your decorated home, your businesses, and your neighborhood to spark community pride. Follow the GoRockford and Stroll on State Facebook pages today and watch for more updates!

Stroll Gift Lights Sculpture