Looking for something to do this weekend in the Rockford area? Here are 36 upcoming events

Kathi Edwards
Special to the Rockford Register Star

Rockford City Market

What: Rockford City Market features local growers and vendors who sell handmade products, including vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, cheeses, flowers, herbs, baked goods, wine and prepared food, as well as artisans and vendors with unique offerings. Most vendors originate within 150 miles of Rockford. Families also enjoy free weekly kid's activities. Swingbilly RFD will play the main stage on May 31. Redwood will also be performing. Redwood is an acoustic duo comprised of Riley Sanders (guitar, vocals) and Cassidy Campbell (vocals), both from Rockford.

When: 4-8:30 p.m. Friday, May 17 and Fridays through Sept. 27 (closing at 7:30 p.m. after Labor Day)

Where: Water Street at East State Street, Rockford

Cost: free admission

Need a break?

Rockton’s Pride Month Kick Off

What: The evening will begin with a series of talks by local queer leaders. After the talks will be an open mic session, where anyone is welcome to speak, be heard and be celebrated in a safe space.

When: 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Roscoe Township Community Center, 4562 Hononegah Road, Roscoe

CRE8IV Music & Art Fest

What: CRE8IV Music & Arts Fest will include live music and creative performances on two stages, mural painting, local food trucks, creative interactive activities and mural tours. The festival will include a variety of activities including free take-home art activities, street performers, pizza making demonstrations, beer tastings, book readings, print screening, chalk art. Rockford’s first drone show will take place with 150 drones performing in synch to music at the end of Saturday night’s festivities.

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, May 31; noon – 10 p.m. Saturday, June 1; noon – 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: Downtown Rockford, near First and East State streets

Cost: Free admission

Wine, Spirits and Beer Tasting

What: Bring cash or check for this fundraising event for Sister Cities Association of Belvidere. Over the past 20 years, volunteers have worked to establish and nurture relationships with two sister cities: Schwieberdingen, Germany, and Vaux-le-Pénil, France.  Sample a variety of wine, beer and spirits from around the globe.

When: 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Artale Wine Co., 6876 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Cost: $20

Friday Night Flix: Aladdin

What: Pre-movie activities begin at 6:30 p.m., with the movie starting at dusk. In case of inclement weather, announcements will be posted on the Friday Night Flix and Davis Park Facebook pages.

When: 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Davis Park, 320 S. Wyman St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Hello Kitty Paint Night

What: Ticket cost for this first ever Hello Kitty paint night includes choice of themed mug or plate. Using glaze paints provided makes the pieces food safe so you can use them. Snacks, soft beverages and photo opportunities will be available as well. The pieces will be ready for pick-up 7-10 business days from the event date.

When: 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Pottery Lounge, 312 N. Alpine Road, Suite 104, Rockford

Cost: $25

Poetry Workshop

What: Rockford Poet Laureate Jenna Goldsmith will guide you through the process of creating your own poetry.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Maze Books, 406 E. State St., Rockford

Cost: Free

DIY Macrame American Flag

What: Your admission to this beginner-friendly macrame project workshop includes all materials to create one 12x18” flag and step-by-step instruction.

When: 10 a.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Katie’s Cup, 502 Seventh St., Rockford

Cost: $42

Summer Concert Series: Steve McClanahan

What: Steve McClanahan is a solo acoustic guitarist and singer in Rockford, IL

When: 6-9 p.m. Friday, May 31

Where: Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Science Saturday: Reptile and Amphibian Rendezvous

What: Explore the world of reptiles and amphibians and learn all about snakes, turtles, frogs and more.

When: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford

Cost: Free

Auto Envy Grand Opening and Car Show

What: Car show, live music, food and giveaways.

When: Noon Saturday, June 1

Where: Auto Envy, 7194 Vandiver Road, Rockford

Rockton National Historic District Walking Tour

What: Join the Rockton Historic Preservation Commission for the third part of a three-part series focusing on the residential areas in the 1978 National Historic District.

When: 11 a.m.- noon Saturday, June 1

Where: Old Stone Church, 101 E. Union St., Rockton

Motorcycle and Car Show

What: The show includes vendors, food truck and concessions, music, raffle of new bike and a craft car track for kids.

When: Noon – 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: First Student Charter Bus Rental, 1111 McKinley Ave., Belvidere

Cost: Free admission


What: This craft fair fundraiser event features adoptable dogs and puppies with Cause For Paws rescue. There will also be local handmade crafters, music from RPMs DJ Service, food and drink specials, basket raffles and 50/50 raffles. This year we will also have a local dog groomer here providing discount nail trims. 100% of proceeds raised will go directly to the rescue on-site. This is a dog-friendly event provided your dog is social, dog-friendly and well mannered. Leashes required at all times.

When: Noon – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Mortimer’s Roadhouse, 105 W. Grove St., Poplar Grove

Garden Fair Weekend

What: Join Klehm the first weekend in June to experience a wide variety of plants, flowers, garden décor, art, educational information booths and more. Listen to live music performances in the Fountain Garden while enjoying a meal from local food truck vendors

When: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1 and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford

Cost: $10; $8 in advance; free for members or children age 12 and younger

Rockford Pride Parade

What: The theme of the first official Pride Parade in Rockford is Celebrate, Remember, Unite. This theme embraces the fact that Pride is a celebration of person, being, love and expression, but, we remember our history and struggles and unite to continue the fight for equality and progress. The main parade route is on State Street in downtown Rockford and begins at Charles Street, marching west. The route crosses the Rock River over the State Street bridge. After crossing the river and continuing a few blocks, the Parade turns north on Main Street and ends at Park Avenue (Beattie Park). 

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Downtown Rockford

Walk with U: Guided Walk

What: Explore the flower-filled prairies, cool shady woodlands, the Kishwaukee River and a bubbling natural spring. Leashed dogs allowed. No RSVP needed.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, 5360 Mulford Road, Cherry Valley

Cost: Free

8th Annual Dart Tournament

What: The dart tournament is open to the public. A scavenger hunt charity ride will take place before the event.

When: 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Cherry Bowl, 7171 Cherryvale North Blvd., Cherry Vallely

Cost: $20 registration fee to compete; free to attend

Rockford Pride Alley Party

What: This outdoor event is open to everyone. It will feature live music, drinks, vendors, food trucks and entertainment.

When: 1-8 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: The Office Niteclub, 513 E. State St., Rockford

10th Annual Support the Troops Ride

What: Each year we show our support to the veteran community of Rockford and Winnebago County. Show all the men and women that have served our country bravely, that we have their backs and that we thank them for all they have done.

When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Murphy’s Pub & Grill, 510 S. Perryville Road, Rockford

Cost: $20-$50

Wolf Pack Social Club 10-year anniversary

What: Celebrate 10 year anniversary with a party headlined by the band Royal Bliss. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to help veterans and their families in need. There will be live music, food and drinks and some giveaway prizes including a signed guitar from Royal Bliss.

When: 6-11:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Murphy’s Pub & Grill, 510 S. Perryville Road, Rockford

Cost: $35; $25 in advance

Birds/Bird Calling Backpacking with Burpee

What: Colored Sands known for its birds, unique geology and wildflowers. It offers panoramic views of the Sugar River. Because of its sandy soil, it supports many plants and wildlife not found anywhere else in the county. New, fully-stocked Burpee Backpacks are packed and ready for an adventure. Open to all ages; children younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

When: 10 a.m. – noon Saturday, June 1

Where: Colored Sands Forest Preserve, 10602 Haas Road, Rockton

Cost: $7

Fairy Tale Tea Party

What: Princesses from Characters 2 Life will be at this Victorian Tea Party. Enjoy a three-course lunch of appetizers, sandwiches, desserts and tea, then take a first-floor tour of the Tinker Swiss Cottage. Reservations required. Check in at the barn upon arrival. 

When: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens, 411 Kent St., Rockford

Cost: $25; $20 for members; $15 for ages 3-13; $10 for members age 3-13; $2 for age 2 and younger; $1 for members age 2 and younger 

Josh Gates: An Evening of Legends, Mysteries, and Tales of Adventure

What: Adventurer, television personality, and author Josh Gates is the host and executive producer of the Discovery Channel series, Expedition Unknown. The show follows Gates as he sets out on a global journey to explore archaeological discoveries, historic mysteries, and scientific breakthroughs. An avid scuba diver and photographer, Josh has participated in sub-sea archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, and his wanderlust has taken him from  African deserts to Antarctica. He will share his stories.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Coronado Performing Arts Theater, 314 N. Main St., Rockford

Cost: $29-$173

Meet me at the Confluence

What: From 1-1:30 p.m., enjoy family friendly yoga under the cottonwood tree or led by Lily Herbold (a limited number of mats are available). At 2 p.m., take a family creek walk in Kelly Creek (closed-toed shoes required) or stop by between 1 and 3 p.m. to see the indoor exhibits, grab a free snack and make a terrarium necklace. No registration required.

When: 1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickop St., South Beloit

Cost: Free; $10 suggested donation

Midwest Fishing Kayak Expedition

What: This is an interactive informational and educational event for all levels of kayak anglers. People just getting involved in the sport to more seasoned anglers, there will be something for every angler. Presented by Rocktown Adventures.

When: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Rock Cut State Park, Olson Lake, 7223 W. Lane Road, Loves Park

Cost: $20

Stuff Your Stanley

What: Bring your Stanley (or any 30-40 ounce vessel) to be filled with four big scoops of ice cream. Every filled Stanley will earn you an entry to win a 40 ounce Stanley.

When: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Cattle & Cream, 105 N. Cherry St., Cherry Valley

Cost: $10


What: This first ever celebration of all things sour and pickle, PICKLEFEST 2024, will include pickle-centric food and drink options like pickle pizza, frickles (fried pickles), pickleback shots and lots more pickled food and drink features. FlexCourt is setting up a few pickleball courts in the parking lot between noon and 5 p.m. and there will be prizes for the top pickleball teams.

When: Noon to midnight Saturday, June 1

Where: Olympic Tavern, 2327 N. Main St., Rockford

20th Annual Rockford Fire Department 911 Run

What: The 3K race (just shy of 2 miles) starts at 9:11 a.m. This event is a fundraiser for local fire prevention efforts and Camp I Am Me, by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, for children who are burn survivors. All finishers will receive a medal recognizing both their athletic accomplishment and support for the cause of fire prevention. There will also be a shorter kids’ race free of charge for youngsters who would like to participate, but are not quite old enough to run the full distance. See the fire trucks, Sparky and enjoy some Mission BBQ at the end of the race.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Fire Station 5, 391 N. Trainer Road, Rockford

Cost: $30

Fred Machesney: Rockford Aviation Legend Summer Lecture

What: Local historian and published author, Mike Frederiksen, gives lecture. The name Machesney is very familiar to those who live in the Northern Illinois region because of the Village of Machesney Park; however, before there was a village or a mall, the name Machesney was synonymous with aviation. Fred Machesney founded the first official airport in Rockford and operated it for 47 years. Machesney was an innovator, a businessman and a catalyst for the aviation industry our region is now known for. Explore Machesney’s life from barnstormer in Kewanee to the closure and conversion of his airport into a mall. Also hear about early Rockford aviation themes and the formation of the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: The Barn at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens, 411 Kent St., Rockford

Cost: $10; $5 for members

Concerts on the Creek

What: Internationally acclaimed baritone Nicolai Janitzky’s performance will include some of his favorite pop and folk songs in addition to the operatic selections for which he is known around the world. Keyboard standout Kristen Nelson will accompany Nic.

When: 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2 (doors open at 2 p.m.)

Where: Spring Creek Church, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Cost: Free admission; $10 suggested donation to help defray hosting costs and pay musicians

DMC Cars and Coffee

What: Enjoy the day with family and check out some fun cars.

When: Noon – 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: Shooters Bar & Grill, 4007 E. State St., Rockford

DIY Terracotta Garden Workshop

What: Make your own terracotta gardens. Each ticket includes all supplies to make the gardens including the saucer, tools, crushed glass or sand and mini accessories. There will be larger add on options available to paint and add at the event. Smaller kids size saucers are available for just $10. If you would like a kids saucer, please call for those tickets.

When: 10 a.m. – noon Sunday, June 2

Where: The Pottery Lounge, 312 N. Alpine Road, Suite 104, Rockford

Cost: $20 per garden

Good Neighbors Tea: A Celebration of Scotland

What: Featuring Rockford’s Clan MacAlpine Bagpipe Band, The Music Academy, RU Performing Arts Students and tasty treats in the flavor of Scotland. Proceeds benefit Rockford University performing arts students for their performances during the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in August.

When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: Clark Arts Center, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford

Cost: $30

Live at Levings Kick-Off

What: The event is hosted by DJ, comedian, actor and radio/TV personality Leon Rogers. Leon hosts Chicago Fox 32’s Later with Leon—a raw, uncut spin on news and Black culture. Music provided by DJ H-Fresh. Live performances by Rockford’s legendary, award-winning soul saxophonist Harlan Jefferson, director of Live At Levings Talent Show and Concerts and Southern blues artist Sir Charles Jones.

When: 5-8 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: Levings Park, 1420 S. Pierpont Ave., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Free HIIT workout

What: Do a HIIT workout. Learn the dynamics of what it is and why it’s better than any type of conditioning. Children are welcome. Make sure you bring water.

When: 1-2 p.m. Sunday, June 2

Where: Twin Sister Hills Park, 3100 Harney Court, Rockford

Cost: Free

Coming next week

Dockside Live

What: Dockside Live, born on the heels of the iconic Dinner on the Dock is Prairie Street Brewing Co.’s answer to a more locally-focused and intimate live music experience on our dock. Dockside Live is always free and always entertaining. June 3 performer, songwriter David Hayes, is a hometown native. Live music from 6-9 p.m.; the kitchen is open until 9 p.m. The event is for all ages.

When: 6-9 p.m. Monday, June 3

Where: Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Family Night at the Range

What: Rockford Park District’s Aldeen Golf Club & Practice Centre invites families to learn the game of golf together this summer. Participants will be grouped by age ranges (ages 4-6, 7-14, and 15-adult) for lessons held simultaneously, so everyone can learn in an age-appropriate environment. At least one adult golfer per family group is required. Advance registration is required at least one day prior to each session, and can be done through Aldeen’s events calendar link.

When: 5-5:45 p.m. Mondays, June 3-July 29

Where: Aldeen Golf Club & Practice Centre, 1902 Reid Farm Road, Rockford

Cost: $25

Tuesday Evening in the Gardens

What: Tuesday Evening in the Gardens features local, regional and nationally touring musicians. Guests are invited to enter and set up seating area at 5 p.m. Blankets, lawn chairs and small tables are welcome. The parking lot fills up early; off-site parking at the College of Medicine with complimentary shuttle service to and from the Visitor Center. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Carry-in picnic suppers are welcome; carry-in beverages are not allowed. Bags will be checked upon entry. Alysha Brilla of Toronto, Ontario will perform starting at 6:30 p.m. June 4, with opening act The Danhattans of Rockford starting at 5:30 p.m.

When: 5:45 – 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 4

Where: Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Cost: $12; $11 for seniors; $10 for Military and students; Free for age 5 and younger or Premium Garden Members

Monarch Monitoring

What: Become a community scientist by joining staff in monitoring the monarch population. Drop in on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. for a walk through a prairie where we practice protocol from the Monarch Larvae Monitoring Program. All ages welcome, no prior experience necessary. This series is free and there is no registration.

When: 4 p.m. Tuesdays, June 4 – Aug. 6

Where: Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickop St., South Beloit

Cost: Free

Rockton River Market

What: Enjoy food, wine or wine slushies from After the Vine, the market and fun with friends. Minimal will perform June 5.

When: 5 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5

Where: Settlers Park, 128 E. Hawick St., Rockton

Cost: Free admission

Music on the Rock

What: Music on the Rock is a free music event on select summer Wednesdays on the banks of the Rock River at Burpee Museum of Natural History. The outdoor theater provides a relaxing location to enjoy music, food and drink with friends and family. Rain location includes indoor option on Burpee's campus. The June 5 performer will be Toronzo Cannon.

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, June 5 – Aug. 21

Where: Burpee Museum of Natural History, 102 N. Main St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Live Music on the Patio: Reed & Waddy

What: Listen to live music by Reed and Waddy, savor menu items, sip on craft cocktails, and views of Davis Park and the Rock River. Reed and Waddy have been entertaining audiences for 15 years. They play classic acoustic rock and blues.

When: 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 5

Where: The patio at Tower Kitchen & Bar inside Embassy Suites Rockford Riverfront, Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Dinner on the Dock

What: The 2024 Dinner on the Dock Music offers guests food, locally brewed craft beer and locally and nationally recognized musical acts. Come by car or boat and relax on the dock. The performer for June 6 is The Beaux, a classic rock cover band serving Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa that pays tribute to over 100 rock artists.

When: 6-11 p.m. Thursday, June 6

Where: Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission; table and boat slip reservations available

Music in the Park: Kasmir

What: Bringing only the best of Led Zeppelin to their fans. Kashmir seeks to re-create the experience of a ‘70s Zeppelin show, using authentic vintage stage gear, costumes, and special effects, with great attention to detail. Music in the Park is an outdoor summer concert series. A variety of musical performers, styles and genres is presented. Arrive early for best seating; ending times are approximate. The series consists of both free and admission fee shows, depending on the performance. Bring a picnic to enjoy, or purchase concession items.

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6

Where: Sinnissippi Park Music Shell, 2010 Arlington Ave., Rockford

Cost: $5

Rockford Midtown Market

What: Rockford Midtown Market has 15 vendors in 2024 with various produce and crafts, along with a food truck. There is music every week. The market accepts Link and matches every Link dollar spent up to $25 each week.

When: Thursdays, June 6 – Sept. 26

Where: parking lot across from Katie’s Cup Coffee Bar, 502 Seventh St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Midtown Dog Walk

What: The parking lot will be blocked off with plenty of space for everyone to check out all the dogs and get all the sniffs/pets. Donations will go toward Winnebago County Animal Services. There will be food and drink specials, cooling stations for the dogs, bags, giant Jenga and music. Our patio is always dog-friendly as long as your pup is leashed and friendly.

When: 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 6

Where: Ernie’s Midtown Pub, 1025 Fifth Ave., Rockford