Start of summer sizzles with Rockford festival

After some worrisome weather on Friday, June 11, the rest of Rockford’s Start of Summer Celebration took place under perfect sunny conditions. This year’s festivities included a giant cake in honor of the City’s 75th anniversary. It was made by Rockford Police Officer Jason Bradley’s mother, Denise. The cake was unveiled while the Scottville Clown Band performed in the Lions’ beverage tent on Saturday. If you missed the weekend fun, or couldn’t make it to every event, here are a few snapshots of Rockford’s 42nd annual Start of Summer Celebration.

The huge 200+ members of the combined Rockford schools marching band performs Rockford’s fight song to an appreciative Start of Summer parade audience. Photo by CLIFF HILL


Drop-dead look-alike Cher impersonator is in town for her evening’s performance at the Rockford American Legion. Photo by CLIFF HILL


Parade participant, Rockford Rotarian Rob Riebschleger, throws Mardi Gras beads to the crowd. What’s with the huge sugar-laden sucker in the dentist’s mouth? In his defense, he produced a tube of toothpaste from his pocket. Photo by CLIFF HILL


An obviously smitten Rockford Mayor Chi Chi Rogers embraces her idol Hulk Hogan. “The Hulk” has played trumpet in the Scottville Clown Band for the past seven years. Photo by CLIFF HILL


THE BIG NOISE FROM SCOTTVILLE—The Scottville clown band is a fun feature in this year’s Start of Summer parade. The band has a 103-year history of providing good music and good fun. Photo by CLIFF HILL


Current and former City of Rockford mayors, council members and Rockford City Manager Michael Young present a cake in honor of the City’s 75th anniversary. Made up of cupcakes, there were plenty of volunteers to make short work of the creation. Rockford’s current (and former) Mayor Chi Chi Rogers licked the cake to mug for the cameras, but took that cupcake for herself.


Tyler Marek and Dylan Wentz, both 13, of Rockford are very proud of their racing turtles. Tyler found his baby snapping turtle in a pool, and Dylan rescued his painted turtle while it was crossing a street. A record 33 frogs were present at the Frog & Turtle Races, according to organizer Rockford Chase Bank Manager Mark Koppendrayer, who did a fine job making sure the frogs were returned to their owners after each competition.


Ryder Amesbury, 5, is very excited to show off his racing toad displayed in this colorful carrier.


Two little girls take time out for a hug and a kiss as they play in the water from Rockford Fire Department hoses outside of City Hall.


Horses from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department mounted patrol are a crowd-pleaser during the Start of Summer parade.


Firemen help kids handle the powerful hoses during the Water Ball Demo at the City of Rockford Fire Department after the parade on Saturday. In addition to taking part in kid-sized fire gear, children up and down the block played in the sprays of water.


Very excited children root for their favorite amphibian during the annual Frog and Turtle Races held at Chase Bank.


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.