Lighting event kicks off with holiday traditions Villagers by the hundreds walked to the banks of the Rogue River at Peppler Park for the annual ceremony as Rockford turned on the downtown’s holiday lights. A mild evening on Tuesday, Nov. 15 allowed the Rockford High School band and choir members to entertain the crowds with more comfort than on some previous lighting ceremonies. A moving rendition of “Silver Bells” brought the holiday spirit home as well as beautiful traditional songs by the high school singers and musicians. A tradition with the lighting ceremony was a popular crowd favorite as “Fun with Rudolph” invited crowd participation. Radio personality Gene Parker was crestfallen by a letter from Santa declining to attend the evening’s event but instead confirmed his visit on Saturday, Dec. 3 for the annual Santa Parade in downtown Rockford. Current City Council member and former mayor Rich Moll spoke before the crowds of families, couples and kids, and recalled the excitement of his youth of the joys of the holidays and challenged all to “rekindle the joy of the season.” State Representative Peter MacGregor shared his quest as he asked friends and family members their definition of peace. He received a different answer from his wife and each of his children before deciding on his own. “Peace is different for each of us. For me inner peace is knowing my family is not in harm’s way,” MacGregor stated. “A lot of people don’t have that now. We need to think of peace all the time. We need to think of peace all year round. Hug your kids many times a day.”
Start the holiday season with old-fashioned ceremony in downtown Rockford November 17 and two evenings of special offers and warm wishes November 17 and 18 as Rockford rings in the holiday season. On Wednesday, November 17 the lighting of the trees ceremony will be held at Peppler Park listen to music from the Rockford choirs and brass ensembles, words of peace from city and state officials. The event is a Norman Rockwell-like evening with hundreds who join in music and then wait in darkness as the countdown begins and the holiday lights for downtown Rockford are turned on for the first time this season. After the lighting ceremony and the following day, many Heart of Rockford businesses will stay open until 9 p.m. and offer treats and specials as they participate in the annual Holiday Open House event. Bring your friends and get some local Christmas shopping done in beautiful downtown Rockford. Among the special offerings (see pages 10 and 11 for more details) consignment specials are at Gumballs & Overalls, a free gift at Great Northern Trading Company. Great Northern Trading Company has beautiful necklace and earring sets starting at $15 up to $29.99, which are great prices for stylish jewelry. Enjoy in-store specials at Sassy Pants, free samples at Grand Cakes, drink specials at Red’s on the River, ten percent off at Open Mind, 20 percent off at Kimberly’s Boutique, 10 percent off in-stock fish tanks at Advanced Aquarium. There will be giveaways and more at Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, double your savings at Double Take, customized gift boxes at Old World Olive Press, free gifts and door prizes at Sage & Roses and 20 percent off one item and refreshments at Jade, 20. The Candle Shop of Rockford is offering 20 percent off one regularly-priced item, receive a free gift with $30 purchase at Dars Gems and Jewelry, a free ornaments from Paperdoll Boutique, samples at Twisted Vine, 15 percent off all frames with purchase of lens and 50 percent off a second pair at In Focus Eyecare & Eyewear (open until 8 p.m. and discounts, food tasting and special gifts at Basket in the Belfry. Baskets in the Belfrey is holding their 33rd Anniversary celebration and shoppers will receive 20% off […]
It’s time to kick off the holiday shopping season downtown Rockford, and there is no better way than to turn on the holiday lights. Rockford’s fourth annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony will be held Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6:00 p.m. in Peppler Park. Rockford High School’s brass ensemble, along with over 235 members of the Rockford High School choirs, will kick off the event with holiday music. Messages of peace will be presented by Rockford’s Mayor Chi Chi Rogers and Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Jazwiec. Gene Parker, of 100.5 The River, will lead friends and family in the traditional lighting countdown as Mike Bouwkamp and his family prepare to illuminate the town. This year we are very fortunate to have Aria Show Technology & Service provide the sound and lighting so everyone can hear the festivities above the roar of the water. So come and warm up your voices and join in great holiday fun. Then, after the lighting ceremony, stroll the streets, enjoy the holiday decorations, listen to the Dickens Carolers, and prepare to visit the businesses all dressed up in their holiday finest. The City of Rockford and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce wish you a magical holiday season.
People of all ages will enjoy the Norman Rockwell-like evening of ceremony that marks the holidays in downtown Rockford. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. to enjoy music, speeches and the “flipping of the switches” that turn on downtown’s holiday lighting. The event takes place by the dam at Peppler Park. Pictured at last year’s event is Robin with daughters Lauren and Leah.
This spring, The Rockford Squire reported that five historic people in the Rockford area were honored at Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park. The event is a newer tradition in its second year and organized by the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE). Each year, RACE will honor people from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield. The Endowment was initially formed in the 1960s to finance a school pool and the Towers downtown. It fell dormant after those goals were accomplished and was revived just a few years ago. Among activities of the Endowment is honoring community heroes and leaders. Its purpose is to provide funding for projects in the greater Rockford area. This year the Endowment gave a $1,000 grant for National Night Out, $1,000 to the City of Rockford Police Department for a purchase, and each community in the Endowment received $1,000 for landscaping projects. The Endowment is funded by brick sales at Peppler Park, where the public is invited to purchase a brick either in their own name or business or in honor of a person. The Rockford Squire has a brick there and editor Beth Altena purchased one for Publisher Roger Allen for his 80th birthday last year. It is a wonderful, lasting gift and is appropriate for the person who “has everything.” As of this spring, 269 bricks had been sold. Bricks are just $125 each. To purchase bricks, call the City of Rockford at (616) 866-4465. Also contributing to the Endowment’s assets of $87,5000 (up from $65,000 a year ago) was a December 2008 gift from the Don Berg estate in the amount of $10,000. In addition to the gift of grants, recognizing the people who have contributed significantly to the history of the area is among the Endowment’s goals. When visiting the beautiful Peppler Park Recognition Plaza (on the west side of the dam), take the time to read the names on the bricks under your feet and in plaques on the columns in the park. The following are some of the stories of this year’s honorees, with others to follow in future issues of the Squire. Gerald Leon Kitson Gerald Leon Kitson was the son of Leon and Jenny Kitson, […]