The Rockford Chamber of Commerce and Start of Summer Celebration committee would like to again thank this great community, the businesses, and all the volunteers for their participation and support of the 41st Annual Start of Summer Celebration. Even the unpredictable weather couldn’t deter our spirits! The RCC would like to sincerely thank the Start of Summer Celebration committee for all their hard work and their continuing commitment to this event: Polly VonEschen – SOS Chair; Gay McDonald – Entertainment Chair; Rene Bravata – Parade Chair; Linda Southwick – Craft Chair, Ruth – Clean Up Chair, Candy Lancioni – Children’s Tent Chair, Trisha Schmidt, Dr. Mike Shibler, John & Mike Scheidel, Michael Young, Chief Dave Jones, Chief Mike Reus, Jody Greco, JD Decker, Jeannie Gregory, and Dianna VanAntwerp. A special thank you to City of Rockford, Rockford DPW, Rockford Police Department, Rockford Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance, Rockford Education Foundation, Scheidel Electric, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, ASP team from RUMC, Bob Wells, and the Kent County Sheriff Department! Once again their contribution of time and talents was a major factor in creating a safe and very successful SOS celebration. Thank you to Byrne Electrical Specialists Inc, Meijer Inc, Independent Bank Rockford, Wynalda Litho Inc, D & W Fresh Market, and Best Buy on Alpine for sponsoring the fantastic fireworks display! As always our hometown newspapers, the Rockford Independent and the Rockford Squire always provide excellent coverage of the events and we are very thankful for their support! THANKS ROCKFORD!
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One of Rockford’s newest businesses may well be one of its oldest. The Sweet Tooth, run by Tracie Riebschleger with the help of her family, is born of a family business started by Greek immigrants in 1906. The Koinis family began selling popcorn, hot peanuts-and cigarettes-from wagons shortly after they arrived in America, and members of the family have been doing it ever since (except for the cigarettes). Tracie was drawn to the fascinating vending wagons when she was a child of three or four. The family across the street owned them, and when she saw the wagons coming in after a festival or carnival, she asked her mother if she could cross the street and get a closer look. Her mother always told her no. She was allowed to play with the boy who lived there, though. They would catch bees together. Eventually Tracie’s family moved away. Years later, when both were working a summer job at a harness racing downs, she began to date the guy who worked the wagon and whose family owned the concessions there. She didn’t make the conection until he took her to his house-across the street from her old home. Now Tracie is working the family trade, selling carmel popcorn and apples made in the shop at 53 E. Bridge by the original Koinis recipe. It’s not even written down. The neighbor she ended up marrying is local businessman Ron Riebschleger, and he holds the family recipe. Much of the equipment in the store is also handed down and dates to the 40s and 50s. For those who love old-fashioned, authentic treats, this store will be tops. The Sweet Tooth offers a wide variety of popcorns, a Chicago-style that is better, some say, than the stuff you buy in Chicago. The cheese popcorn is also made completely by scratch. There is fountain pop, and Tracie’s favorite, shaved ice. With 26 varieties and two in sugar free, there are plenty of flavors to choose from. Kids like the Tiger’s Blood because of the deep color. Also popular is Crazy Eight, a mix of eight flavors that should not taste good together but do. Remember Fizzies? You put the tablets in a glass or bottle of water and have carbonated, […]
Lynda Nance and Robin Martin, Rockford residents, opened Nance-Martin Accounting Service, to provide small business owners with bookkeeping and accounting services. They have over 40 years combined experience in business management, and are excited to become active members of the local business community. Nance recently graduated from Universal Accounting Center’s Professional Bookkeeper and QuickBooks Specialist Programs. Nance-Martin’s services include managing financial records such as monthly statements, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and any other bookkeeping needs. They are also available for personal and business tax services, and provide year-round consultations to enable business owners to develop a strategy that will take advantage of valuable tax reductions, and increase their profits. Over 50 percent of small businesses fail due to poor financial planning. Nance-Martin Accounting Service wants to reduce that percentage in Northern Kent County. Their main interest is in helping businesses evaluate their financial standing and improve their returns. Graduates of Grand Valley State University (Nance) and Aquinas College (Martin), the two are long time residents of the West Michigan community. They are interested in helping local business owners improve their profitability during this period of economic decline. If you would like more information regarding Nance-Martin Accounting Service, please call 581-0291, or visit the website atwww.nancemartin.com.
The Rotary Duck Race during Start of Summer Celebration is an annual favorite where people watch to see which duck will come in first, winning someone a cool grand prize. This year several (hundred?) of the little yellow ducks escaped the safety net at Richardson-Sowerby Park, making their way to the Grand. If anyone finds the ducks, Rotarians would love to have them back. Please drop off at the Rockford Squire office at 331 Northland Drive, Rockford.
FIRST YOU TOUCH YOUR TURTLE-Nick Heinen, 6, brought a turtle to the frog and turtle races, but wasn’t exactly ready to pick the turtle up. As a first step, he touches his turtle with one finger (and plenty of nervousness) while family friend Nicholas Brodowski, 13, holds the turtle for him HOMEMADE FUN-You didn’t have to spend big money on the midway to have a blast. Families had a good time on their own. This ride was called “You’re blowing in the wind!” TINY TAKES THE LEAD-This tiny turtle almost showed up its big relatives when it went off to a running start while the other racers sat waiting. WORTH WAITING FOR-Tiny future firefighters waited their chance to shoot the big water hoses with the help of local fire departments. New last year, the fire department event was another big hit this year. THANK YOU, JOHN DECKER!-John Decker saved the Squire’s bacon twice during Start of Summer, once by loaning us the beautiful truck to pull our float, and again by fixing our little hitch problem (which made our float nearly half way to verticle). What a guy! OUR DUCK RACE HELPERS-These kids waited so patiently for the duck race to begin. Pictured are Jacob and Tyler Kaminski, ages 7 and 9 and Alyssia and Kadyn Cooper, ages 10 and 4.