By Mary Sisk
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — This weekend you can get an early start on collecting Halloween candy, run to benefit charity, appreciate local art and much more.

If you didn’t have plans, now you do.

Here are 11 ideas for things to do this weekend. You can always find more on our events page.

Head to the river for the Head of the Rock Regatta

One of the premier rowing races in the Midwest returns to the Rock River this weekend in downtown Rockford.

The Head of the Rock Regatta is an October tradition that draws more than 2,000 competitors, many of them collegiate athletes, from around the country. There are also typically more than 5,000 spectators along the banks of the Rock River.

The 5,000-meter race begins at Martin Park in Loves Park and concludes near the YMCA in downtown Rockford. The various heats run roughly from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

You Gotta Try This: Brunch at The Norwegian in Rockford’s North End

Hear top talent at the Gods and Goddesses Poetry Slam

The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes Words of a Warrior Productions on Saturday for its second annual event, “The Gods and Goddesses Poetry Slam II: A National Competition.”

The competition features 15 of the top slam poets in the country visiting from Tennessee, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas, Alabama and Wisconsin.

Doors open at 6 p.m. at The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford. The slam begins at 7 p.m.

There will be three rounds, three cash prizes and one grand prize of $2,200.

Admission into the event is $20 and tickets can be purchased HERE.

More news: Carrying on restaurant history: Mi Placita Mexico Classico opens in former Maid-Rite in Loves Park

Enjoy over 6o selected works of art

Opening day for 77th Rockford Midwestern Biennial is Friday at the Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St.

The 2022 Rockford Midwestern is the 77th presentation of selected art, featuring 61 pieces by 50 artists.

Opening day is Friday with the gallery walk from 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m., and a members’ preview is from 6–7 p.m.

The free public opening happens from 7-8 p.m.

Photos: ‘A great staple’: Greenwich Village Art Fair marks 74th year in Rockford

Celebrate fall at Klehm Arboretum

This whole weekend you can get into the fall spirit by attending Autumn at the Arboretum.

Autumn at the Arboretum will feature scavenger hunts, presentations and other fall-themed festivities at Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford.

The event goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday through Sunday.

More fall: Falling for Rockford: Here are 5 scenic spots to watch the seasons change

Twist and shout at the Coronado

The Fab Four, a Beatles tribute band, is coming to the Coronado Performing Arts Center on Friday to bring you renditions of hits from the Beatles.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin at 8 p.m. at the Coronado, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. Tickets can be purchased online HERE.

Sweet art, sweet treats

Artist Brett Whitacre poses Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, with one of the four murals he created for the Screw City Steel series in Davis Park in Rockford. A closing reception for his show at Rooted and Wonderland Sweets will be held Thursday on the North End. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)

Meet artist Brett Whitacre, who has created multiple murals around the Rockford region, and peruse some of his work for sale at a closing reception for his showing at Rooted and Wonderland Sweets, 1408 N. Main St.

Wonderland Sweets and Rooted will also host a tasting night, featuring house-made pasta and pastries.

The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Related: Take a pictorial tour of Rockford’s newest mural project in Davis Park

Watch some community youth theater

The Studio Rockford is opening its youth production of “High School Musical” at the Belvidere Performing Arts Center, 1500 East Ave.

The show opens Friday and runs through Sunday with performances at 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets can be purchased online HERE.

More theater: Rockford native’s play set on the State Street Bridge produced here for the first time

Run (or walk) for a good cause

The 11th Annual Nik’s Home Run & Grammy’s Auction happens at 9 a.m. Saturday at Rivets Stadium, 4503 Interstate Blvd., Loves Park.

The proceeds go toward Nik’s Wish, which grants wishes for young adults battling cancer. Items for auction and more information can be found here.

Support the Shelter Care Ministries at comedy night

Veterans Memorial Hall
Veterans Memorial Hall is located at 211 N. Main St. in Rockford. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)

The Rock River Current’s own Kevin Haas will be perform Thursday as part of stand-up comedy night benefitting Shelter Care Ministries, an outreach of Emmanuel Episcopal Church that helps homeless men and women.

The show is hosted by Matt Hall of B103’s Morning Routine and the headliner is Chastity Washington, who has performed on on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, BET’s Comic View and other places across the country.

Tickets are $40 each and include a meal. There is also a cash bar. You can purchase tickets HERE.

The event will be held at Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., Rockford.

Trunk or treat at Tinker Swiss Cottage

Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford
Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum in Rockford will receive $104,000 from the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)

Tinker Swiss Cottage is hosting its fifth annual trunk-or-treat event from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday.

The event will also feature farmers market vendors and a free tour of the first floor of the cottage, 411 Kent St. More information can be found here.

Video: What’s the best place for a haunted experience in Rockford? It may be Tinker Swiss Cottage

Taste wine to help keep northern Illinois clean

Artale Wine will host a tasting party from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday at 6876 Spring Creek Road in Rockford.

The cost is $15 per person and proceeds benefit Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, which provides environmental education and works to promote recycling and waste reduction.

For more information, call 815-637-1343.

Shop a fall craft show for charity

The Mental Health Resource League for McHenry County’s annual Fall Diddley craft show is happening 9 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday.

Over 250 crafters will appear at the event, with 100% of the net proceeds going back to those suffering with mental health disorders.

The event will be hosted at the Boone County Fairgrounds, 8791 Illinois 76, and admission is $10 for those 12 years and older.

This article is by Mary Sisk. Email her at or follow her on Instagram at @maryrrcurrent

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