This year’s weather brings new meaning to the acronym “SOS,” the international distress signal used by ships. However, Rockford is planning on using it in two ways. In the past the initials have been used to identify the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s (RCC) Start of Summer Celebration. The double meaning is handy this year, however, as the community calls for rescue from the awful weather. The SOS committee is hoping that the launch of this favorite Rockford event will also be the start of the beautiful summer weather—and be saved from the cold, windy and wet days of spring.
This year’s celebration is scheduled for June 10, 11 and 12, and will feature carnival rides, food, crafts, music, entertainment and family fun. The fireworks—sponsored by Byrne Electrical Specialists, Meijer, Wynalda Packaging Inc., and D&W Fresh Markets—will light up the Rockford skyline at dusk on Saturday.
Polly Von Eschen, who has overseen the event for 24 years, always makes sure that the celebration runs seamlessly. The committee started preparing for the huge event months in advance and is ready to highlight the 43rd annual installment of the popular celebration.
“It is a great way to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of summer,” said Von Eschen. “We like thanking the community for all their support of downtown businesses throughout the year. It is always a lot of fun. We love seeing people come into town and enjoy all of the wonderful things going on.”
Von Eschen contracted the Scottville Clown Band for another year. The talented group of musicians will play in the parade and follow that with a stint under the Lions Club’s Beverage Tent. The band wowed the Rockford audience with their sound and their antics last year.
“We knew we had to bring them back for another year,” said Von Eschen. “They are not only highly entertaining; they are also phenomenal musicians. If you didn’t see them last year, you really should make sure to come down and watch them this year. It really is a treat for the whole family.”
Playworld Amusements will provide the carnival rides and games this year. The rides and midway will be set up in the South Squires Street parking lot. Favorites such as the Rotary Duck Race, waterball, Chase Bank frog and turtle races, the Children’s Activities Tent, and tours of the Little Red Schoolhouse are on the schedule.
American Legion Post 102, located at 330 Park Drive, has a Tribute Show planned Friday night with impersonators lighting the stage as Elvis, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Rod Stewart. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8. The Legion will also offer a cash bar and dinner in the lounge that will feature a prime rib special.
There will be a free shuttle service available, compliments of Rockford East Business Association. There is a pick-up and drop-off every half hour from D&W Fresh Market, MVP Plaza and Rockford Center from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.