‘The Best Holiday Festival in the Midwest’

Family-favorite activities and new surprises are in store at this year’s Stroll on State, taking place Nov. 25 from 2-9 p.m. throughout downtown Rockford.

Stroll on State, presented by Illinois Bank & Trust, is held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving – Small Business Saturday – and is the Rockford region’s kick-off to the holiday season, says Kristen Paul, Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Vice President of Destination Development.

“Stroll on State is magical because of the special way it brings our community together,” she adds. “There is nothing quite like seeing our community crowded around the tree or watching old friends reconnect on the streets of downtown Rockford. Our team works hard to create memories that families will cherish for years to come.”

The free community event features:
-A parade at 2 p.m.
-A tree lighting at 6 p.m.
-Fireworks at 8:30 p.m.
-Musical performances
-Horse and wagon rides
-Surprise visits from Santa
-and so much more.

“Stroll on State is about experiencing the awe and wonder of what a community can do together,” Paul says.

This year promises more vendors than ever before, an interactive map at gorockford.com, and some other fun surprises soon to be announced.

Before the event officially begins, runners can participate in the Dasher Dash 5K Run/Walk, a holiday-themed race through downtown Rockford and the grounds of Stroll on State. The race begins at noon at Beattie Park, and all finishers receive a medal, long-sleeved race shirt and race swag bag. Racers are encouraged to wear a holiday-themed individual or group costume that they can run in, and prizes will be awarded.

After the race, runners and spectators can join the post-race party taking place outside Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., for a medals ceremony, prizes, hot chocolate and additional celebratory fun. Registration is $40 for adults and $25 for kids ages 12 and under at dasherdash.com until Nov. 24 at 11:59 p.m. Those who register by Nov. 10 are guaranteed a race shirt.

The Stroll on State event itself has no admission cost and all attractions are free. The only fees are for food, drinks and merchandise.

“Being a small piece of making that possible is something that none of us will ever take for granted and is certainly a source of our own holiday joy,” Paul says.