Here are 22 festivals and fairs you won't want to miss this summer in the Rockford area (2024)

Chris GreenRockford Register Star

The summer festival and fair season is here, which means plenty of food, music, carnivals, arts and crafts. So, circle the dates on your calendar for these fun Rockford area summertime events.

Paint on State

This year’s Paint on State event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 29, as a part of Belvidere’s Heritage Days festivities at 101 S. State St. in Belvidere. Participants are assigned a 4′ by 4′ square to paint. Together the squares create a unique patchwork of painted art. Each supply bag includes five colors of paint (red, yellow, blue, black, and white), brushes, chalk, a mixing tray, a stirring stick, a water cup, and a paper towel. For $5 you will receive 4 ounces of paint color in a paper bag, plus all other supplies for painting one square. For $40 you will receive a 32 oz. bottle of each color in a reusable cloth bag, plus supplies for four painters to paint four squares. The rain date is Sunday, June 30. To purchase the $5 or $40 ticket go to tinyurl.com/4cazm932.

Independence Day

Rockford's Fourth of July celebration is just days away. Get downtown early as street closures begin at 2 p.m. Downtown festivities include a parade; three stages of live entertainment featuring Gramps with Amps, Andy Yaun - The Rockabilly Kid, and DJ Freedom Bennett; food trucks; and an evening capped by Sky concert 2024, one of the premier fireworks displays in the region. For information, go to 4thandlights.com.

Brat Days

Alpine Kiwanis Brat Days is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 12 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 13. The event will be held at two locations: outside CherryVale Mall, 7200 Harrison Ave. facing Perryville Road and Blain's Farm & Fleet, 7300 E. Riverside Blvd. Drive thru, walk up and on-site seating and live entertainment at both sites.

ByronFest

The 37th annual downtown ByronFest will be held July 12-14. The three-day event includes a parade, carnival, a 5k run, a beer garden, Taste of ByronFest, and two stages for live bands. Admission wristbands or carnival Mega Pass wristbands are needed to listen to the bands, however, no individual show tickets are needed. Admission wristbands are $10 or $8 in advance for the beer garden, entertainment stages and Taste of ByronFest. The wristbands are good for Friday and Saturday. Sunday is family day and wristbands are not needed. Children 7 and under are free.

Tutty Baker Festival

The Tutty Baker Festival is a three-day family-friendly event named after Freeport’s founder, William “Tutty” Baker. The July 12 weekend features live music, a carnival, crafts and vendor show, fireworks and more. For a schedule of events go to linktr.ee/freeporttuttybakerfest.

Summerpalooza

The 100 block of West Main Street in downtown Rockton will be closed off from 5 to 10 p.m. on July 13 for bands, food, beverages and all kinds of fun games and activities. All ages are welcome. The theme is nostalgia. So, all attendees are encouraged to dress in their favorite '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s or '00s summer clothes. Ryan O’Rourke, lead singer of Flannel Daze, is the opener, and Tripping Dogs is the headliner. Can't make it or want to experience the fun again? Rockton's Summerpalooza continues on Aug. 10 this time with a luau theme.

Bookerfest

This year's Bookerfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 20 on the grounds of the Booker Washington Community Center, 524 Kent St. in Rockford. Food, information and merchandise vendors will be on hand, as well as a face painting artist and singing from the community center's youth group.

Rockford Chow Down Food Truck Fest

The July 20 and 21 event at the old Magna parking lot, 3923 E. State St., is the largest food truck festival in Rockford featuring food trucks from all over the Midwest. This year, the festival will benefit MASA, Mexico Americanos Saliendo Adelante, which provides entrepreneurial education for aspiring and current business owners and organizations, youth mentoring for young at-risk Latinos in the tri-county area, and cultural education.

Red, White and Blues Festival

The Red, White and Blues Festival will be held Saturday, July 20, at Lyran Park, 4781 S. Bend Road in Rockford. The festival opens at 11 a.m. with live music from noon to 7:30 p.m. Performers include Sean McKee, Birddog Blues Band, followed by Doug Demming and the Jewel Tones. The event is $10 in advance, $15 at the gate but free for veterans, military and anyone under 18. Food and beverages will be for sale. No pets, no coolers.

Stephenson County Fair

The Stephenson County Fair is held July 23-27 at 2250 W. Walnut Road in Freeport and kicks off the fair season in the Rockford region. The family will enjoy pony rides, livestock competitions, a pageant, a cruise-in and vintage vehicles, and grandstand events such as tractor pulls, monster trucks, demolition derby and Carquest Auto Parts' Tough Truck Challenge. For tickets and a schedule of events go to stephensoncountyfair.org.

Rhythm of the Heart Festival

Rhythm of the Heart Festival is a free all-day festival from 1 to 10 p.m. July 27 on the Loves Park Festival Grounds, east of City Hall at 100 Heart Blvd. The festival features live music, a car show, food trucks, vendor tents, a kids’ activity area and fireworks.

Japanese Summer Festival

Anderson Japanese Gardens, 12 acres of gardens and streams, will celebrate traditional cultural arts July 27-28 with exhibits, demonstrations and unique performances that will appeal to all age groups in hopes of fostering a better understanding of the Japanese culture. Festival activities are included with garden admission, $14 on weekends, children 5 and under are free. Performances and demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. each day and continue throughout the day. For information, visit andersongardens.org.

Ogle County Fair

The Ogle County Fair returns July 31-Aug. 4. at 1440 N. Limekiln Road in Oregon. Opening day will include an antique tractor parade, the Queen's Contest, and tractor pulls. The fair also will have carnival rides livestock judging, and live musical performances. For a daily schedule of events and ticket information go to oglecountyfair.com.

Festa Italiana

The Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA) will be hosting the 45th annual Festa Italiana Aug. 2–4 at Boylan Catholic High School, 4000 St. Francis Drive, Rockford. The family event includes carnival rides and games for toddlers to adults. There is a kid's craft area and live entertainment throughout the festival. For the entertainment schedule and tickets go to festaitalianarockford.com.

Boone County Fair

The Boone County Fair is northern Illinois' premier county fair held Aug. 6-11 at the Boone County Fairgrounds, 8847 Illinois 76 in Belvidere. Fairgoers favorites include the tractor pull, monster truck show, carnival rides, and headlining concerts such as Scotty McCreery and special guest Graylen James. Daily admission is $10. Children 10 and under are free. Concert tickets are $25 to $45. For group tickets and daily schedule of events, go to boonecountyfair.com.

Polish Fest

Polish Fest will be held Aug. 11 at St. Stanislaus Church, 201 Buckbee St. in Rockford. Admission to the family event is free. The day is filled with music and dancing, kid's games, and Polish ethnic foods such as pierogi, potato pancakes, polish sausage, domestic and Polish beer and more.

Winnebago County Fair

The Winnebago County Fair will be held Aug. 14-18 at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. First St. in Pecatonica. The fair will have all your favorites like elephant ears, funnel cakes and cotton candy. The midway has the Ferris wheel and carousel and adrenaline rush rides like The Fireball and The Zipper and of course the pageant along with a full slate of live entertainment. General admission tickets are $3-$7 or a $30 Mega Pass. For information go to winnebagocountyfair.com/fair.

Cross Roads Blues Festival

The Crossroads Blues Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Lyran Park, 4781 S. Bend Road in Rockford. Performers include Yate McKendree, Eddie 9V, Johnny Rawls with the Dave Keller Band and Big Al Dorn and the Blues Howlers. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the gate and free to anyone under 18. For tickets go to crossroadsbluesfestival.com.

Screw City Beer Festival

Screw City Beer Festival is an outdoor beer festival featuring regional breweries and local food on the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford. This year's event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at 200 N. Water St. General admission is $55. For tickets, go to screwcitybeerfest.com.

Tamale Fest

Tamale Fest will be held from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at 5909 E. State St., in Rockford. The event will feature food trucks, a car show and live entertainment. Meet and greet special guest is actor and producer Noel "Hector" Guglielmi.

Greenwich Village Art Fair

The 76th Greenwich Village Art Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, on the grounds of the Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St. The fair features juried artists, live music by regional musicians, children's art activities, a local vendor marketplace, food trucks, co*cktails, and more. Admission, $5. For information go to greenwichvillageartfair.com.

Pec Thing

Pec Thing, best described as one of the region's largest flea markets, will be held rain or shine from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 and 15 at the Winnebago County Fair Grounds, 500 W. First St. in Pecatonica. For over 40 years, visitors have had the chance to enjoy a fun shopping experience with over 500 vendors stationed throughout the fairgrounds selling jewelry, woodworking, furniture, glassware, candles, antique tools, quilts, sports memorabilia, holiday decor, yard art and much more. Admission is $5, children 12 and under, free.

Chris Green is a Rockford Register Star general assignment reporter. He can be reached at 815-987-1241, via email atcgreen@rrstar.comand X@chrisfgreen.

Here are 22 festivals and fairs you won't want to miss this summer in the Rockford area (2024)

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