Only Rockford Ambulance was disappointed in the first Reading Rocks in Rockford festival organized by Rockford Rotary. The Ambulance booth, featuring bicycle safety, was too close to the allure of the Fire Department’s big red trucks, so youngsters tended to pass them by. The Rockford Fire Department was busy all day long during the event on Saturday, August 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We have had at least 100 kids through here today,” said fire fighter Robert Berkstresser.
Berkstresser helped youngsters up into the department’s newest truck and offered coloring books, stickers and free play fire helmets. The event began with a breakfast at Krause Memorial Library with authors and included a wide variety of reading-related events held all over downtown. Despite cooler temperatures, cloudy weather and a little rain, most events were very well received.
Authors Row at Garden Club park featured a dozen authors who were on hand to talk about their profession, tell about their books and sign their works. Rockford sports teams read to youngsters at different locations around town and programs ran at the library throughout the day. Organizers, including Susan Bodenner at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, were pleased with the turnout. Bodenner said it was hard to tell how many children and adults showed up because events happened all over town.
Author Shirley Neitzel said, “ The event was so well organized, it’s hard to believe this was the first year for it.”
Authors Karen and Darrin Brege said, “Thank you so much for having us at your lovely book festival. Your adorable town has become one of our new favorites. For your first year, it seemed like a wonderful success.”
Author Kim Delmar Cory said, “Thank you for inviting me to present in Author’s Row this past Saturday for the first annual Rockford Reading Festival. I thought you did a marvelous job organizing it. The parade of book characters, the constant entertainment, the Girl Scout helpers, it was all just top notch! Despite the weather, a good time was had by all. And what an absolutely lovely town you have.”