Rockford River Days are coming

The Grand Parade at Rockford River Days is a climactic event for three days of festivities. This year’s celebration will run from Friday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Aug. 10. (Sun Press file photo by Bill Nord)
The Grand Parade at Rockford River Days is a climactic event for three days of festivities. This year’s celebration will run from Friday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Aug. 10. (Sun Press file photo by Bill Nord)

Popular bean bag tourney to expand

Rockford River Days from Aug. 8-10 will give people plenty of reasons to come to town for entertainment, friendly competitions and renewed rivalries — along with the traditional carnival, grand parade, fireworks and more.

A limited supply of discount tickets for the carnival is available now through 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8. After that, carnival tickets will cost $3 per ride. Find discount tickets at Rockford City Hall, Bankwest, Sabourin’s Wine and Liquor and the Holiday Stationstore.

Now is the time to pull together teams for the bean bag and volleyball tourneys, get in some Texas Hold’em and cribbage practice and breeze through final training runs for the 5K race.

The inaugural bean bag tourney last year proved to be a slam dunk that made fans ask for more. The competition has been expanded from 32 teams last year to a maximum of 50 teams this year. Registration costs $30 per team. The top eight teams will win prize money, with exact payouts determined after registration closes.

Here are some samples of what to look for in this year’s River Days entertainment buffet.

On Friday, festivalgoers can get turkey legs and sandwiches from the Rockford Lions beginning at 6 p.m. For dessert, stop at the root beer float fundraiser hosted by River Days Ambassadors from 6:30-9 p.m. Then head for the big tent to hear live music by Strange Days from 8 p.m. to midnight. The carnival, beer tent and food booths will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Saturday will feature a full slate of events, beginning with the Lions pancake breakfast from 8-10:30 a.m. Following in rapid fashion will be the 5K Run at 8:30 a.m., volleyball tournament at 9 a.m., Boy Scout and Cub Scout mobile races at 10 a.m. and cribbage tournament at 10 a.m. Candidates for Rockford River Days Ambassadors and Junior Ambassadors will meet the public at 10 a.m. under the big tent.

The River Days Craft and Business Marketplace will be available to shoppers from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the beer tent, food booths and midway rides and games will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight, and youngsters can burn off energy in the Sponge Bob inflatable bouncy from noon to 7 p.m.

Afternoon events will include the Texas Hold’em tournament at 1 p.m., with registration starting at 11:30 a.m., and the noon bean bag tourney, with check-in at 11:30 a.m. Bingo fans can hang out at the Lions Building from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The Duck Drop begins at 3:15 p.m. Buy ducks before 3 p.m. The Lions will serve a pork chop dinner beginning at 4 p.m. An ecumenical service is set for 5 p.m., the same time as firefighters water ball.

Live band fans will hear music from Sell Out Stereo I from 8 p.m. to midnight under the big tent. There will also be fireworks in Riverside Park.

Plenty of marquee entertainment will be left for Sunday, the last day of River Days. The Grand Parade will step off at noon, and the new Rockford River Days Ambassadors will be crowned at 3 p.m. The Sponge Bob bouncy will be open following the parade until 5 p.m.

The volleyball tournament will continue at 8 a.m., midway rides, games and food booths will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the beer tent will serve from noon to 5 p.m. The Lions will offer even more food — this time pulled beef sandwiches — beginning at 11 a.m.

Volleyball fans might like to try competing on a sand volleyball court. To register a team for the River Days tournament, call Nancy at 763-477-5762 or Jennifer at 612-298-7720. Leave your name and number to register a team. Then check the website at to confirm your team’s registration. Once enough teams sign up, the website will show tournament information (dates, times, etc.). Tournament information might not be available until Friday, Aug. 9.

To donate to Rockford River Days, contact Becky Rathbun at 612-749-4432.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]