Carnival, live music, business expo among 30 things to do in Rockford

This weekend you can see the legendary Phantom Regiment perform, celebrate Belvidere Heritage Days, learn about area businesses or take in some live music.

Here are things to do in the Rockford area this weekend.


What: Consider yourself at home with Lionel Bart’s classic musical based on the Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist. "Oliver!" takes audiences on a wild adventure through the streets of Victorian England as Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. Join young, orphaned Oliver Twist as he navigates the London’s underworld of theft and violence, searching for a home, a family, and (most importantly) for love.

When: Times vary, Wednesday through Sundays between June 21 and July 30

Where: Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford

Cost: $12 to $28

For more: 815-921-2160

Music on the Rock

What: Music on the Rock is a music event held on select summer Wednesdays on the banks of the Rock River. The outdoor theater provides the location for relaxing and enjoying food and drink with friends and family. Rain location includes indoor option on Burpee's campus. June 21 performer is Jimmy Nick and Don't Tell Mama.

When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday

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

Cost: Free

For more: 815-965-3433

Dinner on the Dock

What: The 2023 Dinner on the Dock music series offers guests great food, craft beer and musical acts from Rockford and the surrounding areas of Chicago, Madison and more. Come by car or boat and relax on the dock. June 22 performer is Unity the Band. Unity The Band is an award-winning original roots reggae group based in Wisconsin. They treat fans to old Roots, Rock, Reggae favs along with original music blending influences of roots, rock, blues, funk and reggae into their own unique sound.

When: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday

Where: Prairie Street Brewhouse, 200 Prairie St., Rockford

Cost: Free to attend; table and boat slip reservations available

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Bands, Brews & Food Trucks with The Sensations

What: Local group, the Sensations, will perform in the Thursday night series. Enjoy live music, food and beverages. The food truck lineup will feature Mario's Taco Express, Pizza Fresca, Disco Chicken, Rusty Drum BBQ and Bad Humor Ice Cream. Food service starts at 5 p.m.

When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Timber Pointe Golf Club, 5750 Woodstock Road, Poplar Grove

For more: 815-544-1935

Music in the Park: Phantom Regiment

What: Rockford’s world-renowned drum corps is set to debut its 2023 competition and concert programs here. This year’s production is titled “Exogenesis.” It draws inspiration from nature’s wonders and the interplay between organisms. Music will be drawn from diverse sources, including Muse, Oliver Waespi, Andy Akiho, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Stephen Melillo. Concessions will be available.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Sinnissippi Band Shell, Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford

Cost: Free

For more: 815-987-8800

Rockford City Market

What: You can find some of the best local makers, growers, artists, and bakers underneath the Rockford City Market Pavilion. We have two local breweries on site pouring beer, a Main Stage area with a local band and an Acoustic Stage area with a local performer. Live music this week from Vince Chiarelli and Lucas Sanor.

Where: Rockford City Market, Water and E. State Streets

When: 4 to 8:30 p.m. Friday

Cost: Free to attend

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Summer Scramble Volleyball 2023

What: Teams are formatted on site, so feel free to come by yourself or bring a group of friends. After each game, teams are "scrambled" to form new teams. The process is repeated throughout the evening.

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday

Where: UW Health Sports Factory, 305 S. Madison St., Rockford

Cost: $6 per person

For more: 815-966-8770

Belvidere Heritage Days

What: Two-day celebration includes Paint on State, Jeep Jam and Bronco Bash, laser light show and foam party, t-shirt tie-dying, a carnival, fireworks, parade, live music, vendors, duck derby race, a car show, dunk tank, blood drive and roller derby scrimmage.

When: 10 a.m. to10 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to the end of the fireworks show Saturday; 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday

Where: Downtown and offsite locations in Belvidere

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Rock and Roll Institute Concert

What: The Rockford Park District has partnered with the Rock and Roll Institute to bring you this showcase. The bands form and work throughout a one-week period, then will appear here to perform for you, their friends and family on stage.

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Sinnissippi Bandshell, Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford

Cost: Free

For more: 815-987-8800

Cigars & Stilletos 2023: Havana Nights

What: A fundraising event for the Rockford Family Peace Center. Transport yourself to the streets of Cuba with live Cuban-inspired music and indulge in authentic Cuban cuisine that will leave your taste buds dancing. For those who want to truly immerse themselves in the experience, the cigar station will allow you to savor the flavors of Cuba. Dance to the sounds of our live band in your best Havana-inspired attire. This luxurious event will require semi-formal wear, but you are encouraged to add your own personal flair with a touch of Havana style. Cuban inspired heavy hors d’oeuvres and full bar. Live music with dueling pianos by Felix & Fingers.

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Friday

Where: Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St.

Cost: $100

For more:

Under the Sea

What: Dive right in and explore the deep blue sea. Visit a mermaid’s grotto, make scuba goggles, create art with seashells, play with a cartesian diver and more. Wear your swimsuit or dress to get wet at the Discovery Center's first-ever foam party in the outdoor park. Bring a towel and a change of clothes and shoes.

When: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford

Cost: $10; free to museum members and children ages 1 and younger

For more: 815-963-6769

Music on the Mall

What: This week's performer is 3 Good Men. Food and drinks from Lucha Cantina and Cork, Keg & Spirits will be available. Limited seating; bringing your own chair is encouraged.

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Center Court at Edgebrook Center, 1643 N. Alpine Road, Rockford

Cost: Free

For more: 815-398-8957

Stateline Business Expo

What: The former Ro/Ro Expo will feature more than 100 businesses, a pizza eating contest, local mascot meet & greets, live performances.

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Hononegah Community High School Fieldhouse, 307 Salem St., Rockton

Cost: Free

For more: 815-623-9065

Obsessions Fest Year 3

What: This two-day event is good for all ages. There will be more than 35 vendors and two food trucks each day.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Obsession by Nova, 11742 Main St., Roscoe

For more:

RAA Public Night

What: Viewing sessions are on the 4th Saturday evenings of every month, hosted by the park district's Rockford Amateur Astronomers members. Viewings start at 7 p.m. or dusk, whichever is later for the time of year. Dress appropriately for outdoor weather.

When: 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lockwood Park, 5201 Safford Road, Rockford

Cost: Free

For more:

International Mud Day

What: Started in 2008, International Mud Day is celebrated by children all over the world as a way to connect with nature through the earth. Muddy activities, games, educational experiences and more. Bring a shirt or other items to do mud-tie dye. Hose down station available, but a change of clothes for the ride home is recommended.

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. Second St., Rockford

For more: 815-987-8858

Kids Night at the Rockford Speedway

The Rockford Speedway, 9572 Forest Hills Road, is seen on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in Loves Park. The speedway is closing its doors after the 2023 season.
The Rockford Speedway, 9572 Forest Hills Road, is seen on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in Loves Park. The speedway is closing its doors after the 2023 season.

What: Kids are free at the Rockford Speedway. See late models, sportsmen, short trackers, road runners, bandits, sixers and kids candy scramble.

When: 7:07 p.m. Saturday (gates open at 5 p.m.)

Where: Rockford Speedway, 9572 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park

Cost: $0 to $49

For more: 815-633-1500

Subversive Slow Roll

What: Pull out the cruisers for another low and slow cruise night with Subversive Cycling Company and the 815 Cruisers around our downtown/north end area. Assemble in the church parking lot across the street from the bike shop. A headlight, taillight, bike lock and a helmet are recommended. Ride at your own risk.

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Subservice Cycling Company, 327 W. Jefferson St., Suite 1, Rockford

For more: 815-708-7399

Third Anniversary Party

A glass of beer is seen at Urban Forest Craft Brewing, 6551 E. Riverside Blvd., Suite 112, in Rockford.
A glass of beer is seen at Urban Forest Craft Brewing, 6551 E. Riverside Blvd., Suite 112, in Rockford.

What: Help celebrate three full years of Urban Forest. The Vice food truck will be serving food and Jon Bon Stamos will be providing tunes. The Vice will serve until the party is over or until they run out of food. Jon Bon Stamos will commence banjo plucking at 4 p.m. The brewery will tap this year's version of its Anniversary Imperial Stout "Burning Dinosaur Bones."

When: Noon Saturday

Where: Urban Forest Craft Brewing, 6551 E. Riverside Blvd., Suite 112, Rockford

For more: 779-256-2978

50 States of Mind Book Tour

What: Author Ryan Bernsten is stopping at Rooted in his hometown of Rockford to promote his book "50 States of Mind: A Journey to Rediscover American Democracy." Meet with Ryan and join in for a discussion, reading, and a book signing.

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Rooted, 1408 N. Main St., Rockford

For more: 815-494-3649

3rd Annual Pride .1k Run/Walk

What: This event is a finale to Pride Month. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Spectrum of Rockford LGBTQIA+ Counseling at the Harmony Center in Loves Park. It is an afternoon of unity, inclusiveness, love and only 328 feet of actual running. Your ticket gets you a racing bib and other race day goodies in a swag bag. There will be food and a dance party afterwards.

When: Noon Saturday

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

Cost: $15 to $25

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Arielle Silver

What: California-based singer and songwriter, Arielle Silver, is a consummate storyteller whose Americana-roots-influenced songs, equally inspired by Laurel Canyon and Greenwich Village, are rich with imagery, empathy and insight.

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Severson Dells, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford

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Atwood Center Birds of Prey

What: The Birds of Prey exhibit is unique to the northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin area. This exhibit features up-close views of raptors and is one of the few accessible tree houses in Illinois. Visitors are welcome to observe, take pictures and ask questions year-round, or come see the birds get fed every Saturday at 1 p.m.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford School Road, Rockford

Cost: $12

For more: 815-966-8747

Saturday Fun on the Farm

What: Bring the family out to the country to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors in fresh air and nature while engaging in safe recreational activities. Activities include wagon rides through the park’s meadows and woods ($4 per person, departing every 30 minutes), free Sarver Children's Farm barn visits and a hands-on Pony Experience.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lockwood Park Trailside Equestrian Centre and Children’s Farm, 5201 Safford Road, Rockford

Cost: Free admission to the park; some activities have fees and some are free.

For more: 815-987-8809

Pork in the Park

What: The Rockford Steel Pig MC and Crazy Times Pub host event with live music throughout the day. There will also be food, a ride and a cornhole tournament. Sign up for the ride at Neighbors Bar & Grill between 9 and 10:30 a.m. All vehicles welcome. Proceeds benefit Walter Lawson Children's Home.

When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Crazy Times Pub & Grub, 1520 Glen Forest Drive, Machesney Park

Cost: $20/rider; $10/passenger for the ride; $10 admission; $30 per team for cornhole tournament

For more: 815-636-8747


What: Popular Christian music artist, David Wallace Crowder, is a Texas-based singer and songwriter known for his wide-ranging fusion of pop, rock, folk, electronic, bluegrass and hip hop, touting more than 3 million records sold and three Grammy nominations.

When: 6 p.m. Sunday (doors open at 5 p.m.)

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

Cost: $29 to $74

For more: 815-968-5222

Urban Intellectuals Cigars & Sundresses

What: Indulge in the finest cigars and spirits, all while donning your most fashionable sundress or urban chic ensemble. Expect an ambiance that oozes elegance and sophistication. This celebration promises to be the epitome of style, sophistication, and urban allure.

When: 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday

Where: Burpee Museum of Natural History

Cost: $25-$50

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Woodsong Summer Concert Series: The Hurricane Project

What: Whether backing up another local musician or playing in a band, Al “Hurricane” Spears often performs at Chicago Blues establishments like Buddy Guy’s Legends, Kingston Mines and Rosa’s Lounge, delivering a blues groove or a thundering guitar solo. There are no reserved seats; attendees should bring their own blankets, chairs or other seating. Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and drink to enjoy responsibly manner prior to and during the concert.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday (gates open at 4 p.m.)

Where: Klehm Arboretum & Botanical Garden, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford

Cost: $15; $10 for members

For more: 815-965-8146

Coming next week:

Family Night at the Range

What: Families can learn the game of golf together this summer at Family Night at the Range. 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. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the range.

When: 5 to 5:45 p.m. Monday, June 26 and each Monday through July 24

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

Cost: $20 per person per date

For more: 815-987-8800

Dockside Live

What: Rockford rock ‘n roll band, Monark, will perform in this more locally focused and intimate live music experience on our dock. The kitchen is open until 9 p.m. Show is for all age. No reservations allowed.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 26

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

Cost: Free admission

For more:

Kathi Edwards is a freelance correspondent.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Final weekend of June offers 30 things to do in Rockford