Join 95.3 The Bull as downtown Rockford is transformed into a magical, winter wonderland on Saturday, November 26, 2022 from 2 – 9 p.m. as we celebrate Stroll on State presented by Illinois Bank & Trust. Join with family and friends to ‘Stroll on State’ and be a part of this great holiday tradition with 95.3 The Bull. Admission is FREE and open to the public.
Kick off your Merry & Bright experience at the Stroll on State Dasher Dash 5k in partnership with Fleet Feet Rockford. Then celebrate with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree, ice skate with your family, shop and dine, enjoy free holiday concerts and of course, be sure to share your special Christmas wish list with Santa Claus at the event!
Stroll on State is full of events, activities and holiday happenings from opening until close. Everything from live music performances, a classic car show, ice skating, shopping, and S’mores.
Plus, keep your eye open for Santa Claus who will be roaming throughout the festival. You may find him at a S’mores station, taking care of his reindeer, on state at the tree lighting or grabbing a hot chocolate.
Inflatable Balloons Highlight Parade
Stroll on State’s Holiday Parade, sponsored by The Power Connection – IBEW 364 & NECA steps off on S. Main Street at Chestnut Street at 2 p.m. and will move north to State Street then east across the State Street Bridge, ending at 3rd Street. Parade onlookers are encouraged to find a spot along the route starting at 1 p.m.
Gather for Tree Lighting
One of the event’s most popular moments – the lighting of the city Christmas tree – will take place at 6 p.m. at the Main Stage at Main and Elm streets. This year’s City of Rockford tree is sponsored by the Northwestern Illinois Building Trades. The Main Stage, sponsored by Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 23, will feature music and other entertainment throughout the day.
Sky Lights Fireworks
**Presented by Pierce Distribution** The fireworks will be launched from the Jefferson Street Bridge at 8:30 p.m. Viewers will be able to see the skies burst with color from anywhere in the festival as long as they can see the Jefferson Street Bridge.
In the St. Nick of Time: Local organizations and businesses are invited to participate in the parade. Deadline to register is November 11. For pricing options and information, contact Julie Huber at email@example.com. Visit www.gorockford.com/stroll-on-state/parade/ for a list of rules, more information and to download a registration form.
Blitzen’s Ball, a Character Dance Party for Kids
From princesses to heroes and everything in between this dance party is hosted by Forest City Fairytale Company and will take place inside the 4-story glass tower at Iconic Energy (formerly Rockford Register Star). The characters and music will be around throughout the event so be sure to stop by to create another set of memories. This event is sponsored by OSF Medical Center.
Block 5 Party
Sponsored by COUNTRY Financial, this is a must-see, first-time event in the 500 block of East State Street. Warm up with the Fire Pits, experience the DJ battle, shop and dine at local establishments on the block and see the popular Fire & Ice wow crowds as blocks of ice dissolve into beautiful bonfires creating an enchanting display.
Holiday Hot Rods Classic Car Show
Hosted by Cars & Coffee Rockford see this combination of classic and vintage cars decked out for the holidays in the parking lot behind CJ’s Bar & Grill at 115 N. Madison St. Prizes for best in class as well as best decorated vehicles. The deadline to register is November 23. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. A limited number of cars will be selected.
Frozen in Time Selfie Stations
Stop at any or better yet all 10 Selfie Stations at Stroll on State. Every photo tagged Stroll on State with #strollonstate10 will be entered into a drawing for a prize. The more you stop, the more chances you have to win! See the map for all 10 selfie stations. The prize will be a very special Stroll gift.
Indoor and Outdoor Movie Land
See the return of the fan favorite Outdoor Movie Land sponsored by Xfinity in Lot 4 next to Jimmy Johns and across from Capri Restaurant or experience the new Indoor Movie Land in Stewart Square. “The Grinch” will be shown at each location.
Ice Skating at BMO Center
Take a break from strolling the grounds and lace up some ice skates at the BMO Center put on by the Rockford Park District and the Rockford IceHogs. Additionally, there will be street hockey provided by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation along with family friendly activities powered by the Rockford Park District in the lot outside of Veterans Memorial Hall.
Snow Much Fun
Run, jump and play with the Rockford Park District in the lot outside of the Nordlof Center. Packed full of family friendly activities and games for all ages. Additionally, there will be blow-up street hockey provided by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
Dasher Dash 5k
Hosted by Rock River Multisport, this holiday-themed run/walk starts and finishes near Beattie Park (near 100 Park Avenue). Participants will travel across the beautiful Rock River and decorated East State Street. The run/walk starts at noon. Registration ends Nov. 24. There will not be registration on the day of the festival.
The popular Hot Chocolate Express will be at two locations – in the Veterans Memorial Hall parking lot and next to the Outdoor Movie Land.
Rudolph’s Reindeer Village, sponsored by Mercyhealth, is back and will be at Veterans Memorial Hall.
Your favorite group of elves will be back at Rockford City Hall to collect letters and give them to Santa! At Letters to Santa, Sponsored by FurstStaffing, kids are encouraged to write and decorate their letters to Santa, and then mail them on site to the North Pole.
S’mores stations will be set up in three locations!
These yummy, gooey snacks are made fresh to order by Stroll grill masters.
Horse & Wagon Rides, sponsored by Amazon will be in one location!
There will be one continuous loop on the west side of the Rock River with pickup and drop off locations near the corner of Wyman and Elm Streets.
Two Holiday Markets will host local retail and food vendors sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
Free performances of “The Nutcracker”
Hosted by the Rockford Dance Company, will take place all afternoon at The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., sponsored by William Charles Construction. Veterans Memorial Hall, sponsored by Accuride, will feature a toy train display on the main level and stage, hosted by SOAR Assembly/SOAR Radio on the second floor.
Shop Small Business Saturday
Stroll on State takes place in conjunction with Small Business Saturday which is an annual holiday tradition that encourages people to support local shop owners. Locally owned businesses throughout the downtown River District will offer holiday specials and fun events. Be sure to visit the wide range of stores and restaurants, both during Stroll and throughout the holiday season.
Stroll on State is made possible in part with the help of several organizations, businesses and volunteers. Volunteer Workshops are held Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6 – 9 p.m. at 310 Winnebago Street, on the corner of Winnebago and Chestnut Streets. Children ages 12-15 may volunteer with an adult and a signed waiver; 16- and 17-year-olds must provide a signed waiver.
Volunteers are welcome to come to the workshops without prior registration. Workshops end on Tuesday, November 22. Volunteers are needed for the Downtown Decorating Days on Friday and Saturday, November 18-19. Those looking to lend a helping hand the day of the festival can get more information about available opportunities.
Parking and Transportation
There will be parking options specified on detailed maps. On-street parking and surface parking lots will be available as posted. The event map with suggested parking areas is available HERE.
There also will be three Remote Parking Lots with free shuttle bus transportation, sponsored by Rockford Mass Transit District:
YMCA, 200 Y Boulevard (handicapped accessible paratransit buses are available);
Forest City Church, 1280 S. Alpine Road; and
Crusader Community Health, 1200 W. State St.
Shuttle buses run continuously from 1 – 9:30 p.m.
Get the full rundown and timeline HERE.