Looking for things to do in the Rockford area? Here are 30 upcoming events, May 17-23

Kathi Edwards
Special to the Rockford Register Star

Brad Williams with special guest J.B. Ball

What: Brad Williams started doing stand-up comedy as a teenager and has been touring successfully ever since, routinely selling out prestigious venues all over the country and world. Williams has parlayed his live performances into a multitude of stand-up television appearances. Also an actor, Williams has appeared on numerous TV shows and feature films.  

When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 17

Where: Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford

Cost: $25-$138

Need a break?

Nate Bargatze: The Be Funny Tour

What: 2021 Grammy nominated comedian, podcaster, director and producer Nate Bargatze is selling out shows around the world. An Old Hickory, Tennessee native, Bargatze followed in the showbiz footsteps of his father, a former clown turned world class magician. Bargatze’s comedy is both clean and relatable. Off-screen, Bargatze was part of Jimmy Fallon's Clean-Cut Comedy Tour, and has performed live shows for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait five times.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 17

Where: BMO Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford

Cost: $34-$95

Screw City Block Party

What: Enjoy downtown Rockford before two big comedy shows, Nate Bargatze at BMO Center and Brad Williams at the Coronado. No ticket is required to attend the pre-show block party. Show tickets are required to attend the comedy shows. The block party will include free Screw City Block Party t-shirts (first come, first serve), local food trucks, beer and whiskey samples, custom caricatures by award-winning Chicago artist Roger Hurtado, music by DJ Vic Monsta and 95.3 The Bull, activities, games, dancing, photo booths, giveaways for future shows and more.

When: 4-6 p.m. Friday, May 17

Where: Elm Street at the BMO Center, Rockford

Cost: Free admission; food and drinks available for purchase

Rockford City Market

What: Rockford City Market features local growers and vendors who sell handmade products, including vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, cheeses, flowers, herbs, baked goods, wine and prepared food, as well as artisans and vendors with unique offerings. Most vendors originate within 150 miles of Rockford. Sample local food and brews and listen to live music under the covered pavilion. Families also enjoy free weekly kid's activities. Some Friends of Mine will play May 17.

When: 4-8:30 p.m. Friday, May 17 and Fridays through Sept. 27 (closing at 7:30 p.m. after Labor Day)

Where: Water Street at East State Street, Rockford

Cost: Free admission

CYT performance: The Little Mermaid

What: In a magical underwater kingdom, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home – and her fins – behind and live in the world above. To accomplish this, she'll have to defy her father, King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, and convince the handsome Prince Eric that she's the girl whose enchanting voice he's been seeking.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 17; 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18 and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 19

Where: Hononegah Community High School, 307 Salem St., Rockton

Cost: $19; $17 in advance

Tipsy History

What: Participants will receive three drink tickets for this two-hour, 21+ event. Take a walk through the historic Community Foundation. Photo IDs required at the door. The Spring and Fall Tipsy History events have different presentations. Guests will not hear the same stories at the spring event if they attended the fall event.

When: 7-9 p.m. Friday, May 17

Where: Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, 946 N. Second St., Rockford

Cost: $25

Jazz Gala

What: Live music by Evon J. Sams Quartet, silent auction, raffle, attendance prizes and a Taste of Italy dinner. Proceeds benefit Alpine Academy.

When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, May 17

Where: Lombardi Club, 209 Olive St., Rockford

Cost: $60; $100 per couple

Rockton Pelican Fest

What: Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and the annual return of the American White Pelicans with other migrating birds to the Rock River region. Learn about and meet interesting birds while visiting several educational/environmental booths. Visit Nygren Wetland Preserve's Wildlife Overlook, 3714 W. Rockton Road, Rockton. Hoo Haven presentation 11 to 11:45 a.m. at Village Hall. Programming throughout day at Talcott Free Library. Booths by Burpee Museum, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, Hoo Haven, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, Natural Land Institute, Severson Dells Nature Center, Sinnissippi Audubon Society and more.

When: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Downtown Rockton

Cost: Free admission

Flower Fest

What: The second annual Flower Fest on the North End includes the North End City Market and planting at Veteran’s Memorial Circle. Grab a passport at any participating business to get stamped at each location and enter to win a North End market tote filled with items from local businesses. Participating businesses: Cherry Blossom Florist, Greenwood Cemetery, Half Baked Bar, North End City Market, Pampered Pet, Riverside Suites, Rooted, The Norwegian, The Olympic Tavern, Veteran’s Memorial Circle, Winnie Nutter Vintage, & Wonderland Sweets.

When: Saturday, May 18

Where: Friends of Veterans Memorial Circle, 1502 N. Main St., Rockford

Cost: Free

Spring Pec Thing

What: The semi-annual Pec Thing Antique & Flea Market offers more than 500 vendors selling antique tools, quilts, yard art, jewelry, stamps, postcards, furniture, glassware, crafts, sports memorabilia, holiday decor, electronics, photography, woodworking items, candles, records and more. Rain or shine. Vendors are both inside and outside. Early bird passes allow you to shop from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, plus two hours earlier (6 a.m.) Saturday and Sunday. Food and beverages available for purchase. No pets allowed for safety purposes; service animals are welcome. 

When: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19

Where: Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. First St., Pecatonica

Cost: $5 entry fee; early shopper passes $20 for the whole weekend; free ages 12 and younger; free parking

RAD Pepper Party and Free Print Day

What: Celebrate Pepper's 10th birthday with RAD Free Print Day with Dairyhaus, DJ Vic Monsta, Cake One Five, Cheezy’s Grilled Cheeses, Pepper coloring sheet, new RAD Craft + Foster candle release, new dog tanks and Bluey-fied dog bandanas, Bluey-fied RAD adult and youth tees, Bluey Photo booth. Bring an item that can be donated to Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, Inc. as a "gift" for Pepper and get entered to win a Pepper Plush.  Hammy the Hog from Rockford IceHogs will make a special appearance.

When: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Rockford Art Deli, 402 E. State St., Rockford

Cost: Free print on your blank t-shirt (or buy tee for $10)

Rockford Firefighters Local 413 Mini-Putt Crawl

What: Play mini-putt at multiple participating businesses in downtown Rockford. Putt your way through challenging holes while supporting the City of Rockford Firefighters Local 413 charitable fund. The event is for all skill levels.

When: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: District Bar and Grill, 205 W. State St., Rockford

Cost: $21-$83

BBQ Demonstration Day

What: The grills will be fired up out front, loaded with steak, pork tenderloin, chicken thighs, turkey breast and corned beef brisket. Grill master Rick Sutton will show off the different flavors of a pellet grill, gas grill, infrared grill and Kamado smoker. Special guest reps will be here to demonstrate the unique features of their newest and most popular grills. Anyone who stops by can enter raffle to win a new Weber Q1200 Grill. Learn a few tricks, see the top models in action and enjoy samples hot off the grill.

When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Benson Stone Company, 1100 11th St., Rockford

Parks Kiwanis Pork Chops Day

What: Each meal includes a pork chop sandwich, Ole Salty’s Potato Chips, cookies and a bottle of water. Drive through pick up is available. Pork Chop Day proceeds support local organizations benefiting children including GiGi's Playhouse, Walter Lawson Children's Home, Carlson Boys and Girls Club, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, A Mother’s Love, and college scholarships.

When: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Loves Park City Hall, 100 Heart Blvd., Loves Park

Cost: $8; $7 in advance

Kids for Kids

What: New baby goats, pigs and chicks are arriving. Come see their antics. Meet the new babies and plant some sunflowers in the garden. Register online. Bring a camera. You may witness a baby goat birth as the mothers are actively kidding now. Farm educators will be supervising and available to explain or answer questions. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the picnic area and the outdoor gathering space. Dress for the weather — wear sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes. Rain or shine.

When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18

Where: Farmers Rising, 1545 Rockton Road, Caledonia

Cost: $15; $25 for family

Rockford Dance Company 50th Anniversary

What: Rockford Dance Company was established in 1973. Celebrate Rockford Dance Company's golden 50th season at the place where it all started, Rockford University's Maddox Theatre. Performance at 5 p.m. with reception afterward.

When: 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford

Cost: $15-$75

Twilight Tour of Greenwood Cemetery

What: Haunted Rockford’s first cemetery tour of the season starts at the Greenwood Cemetery Chapel. Hear stories that highlight the darker side of Rockford’s history including murders and tragic accidents researched by Kathi Kresol. She will share details about long-forgotten stories of people who once called Rockford home. Sara Bowker and Samantha Hochmann will share personal experiences with the dead at Greenwood Cemetery. This is a walking tour. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Greenwood’s Chapel Restoration fund.

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Greenwood Cemetery, 917 Auburn St., Rockford

Cost: $25; $20 in advance

Fifth Annual Go Topless Day

What: This event includes a Jeep show, RTI Ramp, 50/50 raffle, door prizes, food trucks and local craft vendors.

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Don Carter Bowling Lanes, 4007 E. State St., Rockford

Mercyhealth Senior Health Expo

What: Come for an educational expo about aging and learn more about the many services offered for older adults at Mercyhealth. There will be a preventive health presentation at 10:30 a.m. Learn more about CPR, eye health, preventive measures to keep you healthy, heart care, hospice services, medication management, orthopedic care including joint replacement, pain management, stroke prevention. These outside organizations will be present: Alzheimer’s Association, Lifescape Community Services, NAMI and YMCA – Silver Sneakers.

When: 10 a.m. – noon Thursday, May 23

Where: Mercyhealth, 2400 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford

Greenwood Cemetery Walk

What: Join the Rockford Historical Society as members share the history of the stories behind the stones at one of the oldest cemeteries in Rockford. Greenwood Cemetery is filled with amazing stories that the Rockford Historical Society will highlight in this Cemetery Tour. Society volunteers select individuals interred in the cemetery, research the person’s past and interpret their findings for those who attend the walk.

When: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Greenwood Cemetery, 917 Auburn St., Rockford

Cost: Free but donations to the Rockford Historical Society are appreciated

Pig Minds Brewing Co. 12th Anniversary Party

What: Celebrate with beer releases, food specials, lawn games and live music all day. The VanDwellers perform from 1-4 p.m. and Jon Bon Stamos will play from 5-8 p.m.  Jon Bon Stamos is a six-piece band that plays high-energy "stolk folk" (rock music with a banjo).

When: Noon Saturday, May 18

Where: Pig Minds Brewing Co., 4080 Steele Drive, Machesney Park

Urban Farmgirl’s Main Street Market

What: Main Street Market is an open-air market with 185 vendors from across the Midwest:  boutique shops, handmade artisans, clothing trucks and purveyors of vintage goods. There will also be food and local music. Tickets available online. All ticket sales are final. VIP and Early Bird shopping tickets will are only available in advance, through Urban Farmgirl’s website. Free parking in the large grassy lots off Route 76. This is a mostly outdoor event held rain or shine. Urban Farmgirl will be inside a barn. Two other barns will house vendors, but the majority of vendors are outside.

When: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18

Where: Boone County Fairgrounds, Belvidere

Cost: $7-$30 admission

Truman’s Ridge

What: Truman's Ridge is a premier Chicago area bluegrass band. It has become a tradition over the years for Truman's Ridge to play the Saturday before Memorial weekend to launch summer hours, when concerts move from afternoon to evening and pizza returns as well. Pizza by the slice, bottled soft beverages and prepackaged snacks will be available at 6:15 p.m. and, if inventory remains, during intermission. Goodwill donations from the audience help defray the church's event hosting costs.

When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, May 18 (doors open at 6 p.m.)

Where: Spring Creek Church, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Cost: Free admission; $10 suggested donation to help pay musicians

Hidden Creek Estates grand re-opening

What: Hidden Creek Estates has expanded the barn by nearly 3,000 square feet, introducing additional year-round, temperature-controlled event space choices, a secluded wine tasting room, newly added patios and landscaping, and cellar, among other enhancements. There will be three giveaways, including an event space rental and an overnight stay in one of our guest homes. Enjoy live music, snacks and participate in our raffles. Walk ins only – no reservations or tickets are required.

When: 3-6 p.m. Sunday, May 19

Where: Hidden Creek Estates, 13276 White School Road, Roscoe

Dip Dye Flowers & Cork Flower Box Workshop

What: Create a floral box out of wine bottle corks and hand dip dyeing wood flowers to arrange in the boxes. Boxes measure approximately 6"x 6." Fee includes flowers, supplies and instruction. Corks provided by After the Vine. A glass of wine from the menu is also included in your registration fee.

When: 1 p.m. Sunday, May 19

Where: After the Vine, 163 E. Hawick St., Rockton

Cost: $42

Coming next week

Dockside Live

What: Dockside Live is a locally-focused live music experience on the dock. The May 20 performer is ManaKintorso. The kitchen is open until 9 p.m. The event is for all ages. Enjoy walk-up bar service with open seating on the lower dock “lounge” area or see the host stand to sit down for full menu table service. No reservations allowed. First come, first served hostess seating.

When: 6-9 p.m. Monday, May 20

Where: Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission

Wine Tasting Evening

What: This is a walk-around tasting event featuring wines from the Duckhorn Portfolio, including single vineyard and limited offerings from Duckhorn, plus Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Kosta Browne and Calera. Explore at your pace, engage with experts and discover the stories behind each wine. It The chef has curated a selection of hors d'oeuvres to complement your wine tasting journey. Space is limited; buy tickets online.

When: 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22

Where: SALT, 6860 Spring Creek Road, Rockford

Cost: $30

Rockton River Market

What: The Rockton River Market is all about fun. Shop to great live music in downtown Rockton while visiting a variety of food and goods vendors from 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays from May 22 through Sept 4. On May 22, enjoy country music by the Courtney Davies Band, food, wine or wine slushies from After the Vine, the market and fun with friends.

When: 5 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 22

Where: Settlers Park, 128 E. Hawick St., Rockton

Cost: Free admission

Dinner on the Dock

What: Dinner on the Dock offers guests food, locally brewed craft beer and locally and nationally recognized musical acts. Come by car or boat and relax on the dock. The performer for May 23 is local band, Minimal, a trio of musicians: Gregg DeCarlo on bass, guitar, keys and pedals; Zach DeCarlo on lead vocals and percussion; and Leanne Leonard on guitar and vocals. They play pop, classic rock and alternative music.

When: 6-11 p.m. Thursday, May 23

Where: Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford

Cost: Free admission; table and boat slip reservations available

Community Fire & Drum Circle

What: This event is for seasoned drummers or those who have never picked up a drum. Try musical instruments here or bring your own. Drumming is optional; all are welcome to enjoy the fire, listen to the music and make a s’more. This is a family-friendly event. There is no registration. Drumming is led by David Stocker with occasional guest leaders. On May 23, the Healing Sound Bath is led by Missy of The Sacred Tree, with fire and guided drumming afterward.

When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 23

Where: Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickop St., South Beloit

Cost: Free