Rockford River Days, Aug. 9 to 11, bigger, better than ever

It’s hard to believe how fast summer is breezing by this year, an annual syndrome that seems more pronounced this season, but prepare for three days in August when time stands still as the City of Rockford explodes with a flurry of excitement and fun. Rockford River Days, the city’s annual blowout and summer celebration, is on the running boards and will take place (with a few exceptions) in Riverside Park beginning the early evening of Friday, Aug. 9 and running through the same of Sunday, Aug. 11.



New this year is the “Bean Bag Toss”, with cash prizes for winning teams, and which can accommodate up to 32 teams.

Another highlight of this year’s festivities is the River Days Craft and Marketplace. There are still spots available for anyone looking to sell arts and crafts or promote their business. More information, and registration, is available at

To say there is something for everyone is true, but falls a little short. There, actually, are several things for many folks, all ages and abilities and thresholds of competitiveness and enjoyment.



The midway rides, games, food booths and beer tent will open to the public in Riverside Park at 5 p.m.

At 6, the Rockford Lions host a “Spaghetti Feed”. The reigning Rockford Ambassadors will host a root beer float fundraiser at 6:30.

At 8 p.m., the Shane Martin Band will perform under the big tent, dancing shoes recommended. According to an industry review posted on the performers web site:

“Shane Martin’s ‘Light it Up’ album seamlessly blends country, rock and pop into a passionate mix of emotional depth and good ol’ boy fun – all layered under the soulful, melodic voice of this award-winning singer/songwriter”

The dance and midway close at midnight.



Things really heat up on Saturday, beginning bright and early. You don’t have to be an early bird, but those with a competitive spirit – or those who like to cheer from the stands – can catch a worm, or two.

At 8:30 a.m. there will be a 5 k USATF certified run leaving from Riverside Park. The Lions will begin serving pancakes at 8.

Volleyball tournaments begin at 9. Cribbage, a disc dog tournament, and the craft and marketplace all begin at 10 in the park. Also at 10, at Ash and Maple Streets, there will be a Boy/Cub Scout Mobile Race.

Also at 10, under the big tent, the Rockford Ambassador and Junior Ambassadors will be available for a “meet and greet”.

From noon to 7 p.m., kids can hop to their hearts content in the Sponge Bob Bouncee.

Texas Hold’em begins at 1 p.m. (registration opens at 11:30 a.m.), and the big Bean Bag Toss Tourney kicks off at 2 p.m. Play Bingo from 1:30 to 3:30 in the Lion’s Building.

The annual Duck Drop begins at 3:15 (ducks must be purchased by 3 in the park).

The Lions will begin serving up a Pork Chop Dinner at 4. An Ecumenical Service will take place in the park at 5.

Also at 5, at Cedar and Mechanic Streets, will be the Fire Fighter Water Ball.

And, prepare to dance the night away at 8:30 to the beat of Captain May I. The band, as described on its Facebook page, “performs sensible, unpredictable rock from many sub-genres with an emphasis on execution. The experienced cast of characters reeks of cool and effortlessly delivers massive fun and great times”.

And, as always, there will be fireworks. The big “ooh, awe” sky show begins at dark in the park and will be memorable.

The midway will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight.



All good things must come to an end, but Rockford River Days goes out with a bang. Sunday’s events included volleyball at 8 a.m. The Lions will serve shredded beef sandwiches at 11 and offer free screening at the Wellness Van at 1.The River Days Craft and Business Market Place will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the midway from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The city’s crown jewel, the Grand Parade, will begin at noon and work its way through the streets of Rockford to the park; more bouncing with Sponge Bob to follow.

At 3 p.m., the city’s newest ambassadors and junior ambassadors will be crowned under the big tent.



The River Days Committee has a new chair for 2013.

Christina Schultz has joined the River Days Committee as its new chair. She and her husband, Mathew, have lived in Rockford for 8 years and have a six-year old daughter. The committee is excited to have Schultz on board to help bring some fresh ideas to the festivities.

Additional Information

For more information on all events, and forms for events that require registration, visit

You might be asking yourself, “How much fun can one person have during the second weekend in August in Rockford?”

And, there is, really, just one way to find out. Come out, take part and make memories at Rockford River Days 2013.