Rockford gears up for Harvest Fest

First weekend of annual festival features family fun

NO NEED TO PARK—Drive-up service is provided at the Rotary Chicken Dinner all three days this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As the crazy heat-filled days of summer wind down, Rockford is preparing for yet another Harvest Fest. The 2011 festival will be celebrating its 35th year of gathering a bountiful harvest.

The three weekends will be packed with plenty of activities, entertainment, music and contests—all designed with the family in mind. The festival is scheduled for the last weekend of September and the first two weekends in October. For a full schedule of events and times, check out The Rockford Squire each week or visit

Two favorite activities—the hayrides, hosted by Dufort Farms, and the Make It and Take It Scarecrow building—are back all three weekends due to popular demand. The Visiting Nurses Association will also be on hand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all three Saturdays at the Welcome Center to give flu shots.

The first weekend, Family Fun Weekend, will feature the ever-popular Rotary Chicken Dinners and Aaron Zainea of Grill One Eleven will be raising a tent in his back parking lot with plenty of entertainment and activities.

On Friday, the tent will feature live entertainment from 4 to 11 p.m. featuring Dave Hardin, Jack Leaver and the Lazy Blue Tunas. The Rotary Club will be serving up their famous chicken dinners from noon until 8 p.m. at the pavilion. Cost of the dinner is $9, with proceeds funding various Rotary programs.

Saturday’s events under the tent will feature children’s activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with the entertaining Jeff Schroeder. There will also be a Cornhole Tournament from 2 to 7 p.m. Sam Kenny will take the stage from 4 to 8 p.m., followed by Nobody’s Business from 8 to 11 p.m. Herman’s Boy will feature coffee-roasting demonstrations, informational coffee and tea seminars and samples from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Chicken Dinners will be served in the Rotary Pavilion from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and at the Grill One Eleven tent until 11 p.m. Rockford Hardware also has plenty of fun planned with an Antique Tractor Show from 9 a.m. until 12 and live music by Heaven’s Sake from 10 a.m. until noon. An Antique Tractor Parade will wind through downtown Rockford at 12:30 p.m. Back at the Hardware see the tractors until 2 p.m.

Also on Saturday, an exciting “Evening with the Stars” is planned, with Wood TV-8’s Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen meeting the stargazers at 7:30 p.m. at the Rotary Pavilion and then leading them to Garden Club Park for the fun. Families are encouraged to bring their telescopes, Smart Phones and iPads for optimum viewing.

“The Rockford Rotary wanted to bring out families to learn more about stargazing, and who better to host it than meteorologist Bill Steffen?” said Sue Bodenner, president of the Rockford Rotary Club. “We are hoping this special event will inspire a community conversation about what is in our sky at the ‘harvest moon’ time of year.”

Sunday will feature football, wood-fired pizza and snacks under the tent.

Justin Kauffman, furniture maker, will be setting up in the Rotary Pavilion from noon until 6 p.m. all three days. Also on hand will be Joan Bunn, who will be churning butter under the pavilion.

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