By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — This weekend offers plenty of opportunities to embrace the holiday season, from the annual Light Up the Parks Parade to Santa’s arrival at the CherryVale Mall.

There are also concerts and comedy shows for you to enjoy.

Here are 15 ideas for things to do this weekend. You can always find more on our events page.

Celebrate the holidays in the parks

The annual Light Up the Parks holiday parade and tree-lighting ceremony will take place Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, starting at Loves Park City Hall. (Photo via City of Loves Park Facebook)

The 25th Light Up the Parks Holiday Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Sunday beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Loves Park City Hall, 100 Heart Blvd.

The parade steps off from City Hall, crosses over to Elm Avenue, turns west on Roosevelt Road, crosses North Second Street and concludes at the Machesney Town Center, 8750 N. Second St.

Related: ‘Exciting festivities’: Loves Park and Machesney Park prepare for 25th holiday parade

Grab a brew and have a laugh

The Comedy Brew Ha! Ha! Ha! series returns Thursday at Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford.

Michael Palascak, who has been on “Last Comic Standing,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “Conan,” headlines the stand-up event.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets range from $18-$25.

See Santa arrive at CherryVale Mall

Santa arrives at 6 p.m. Friday at the CherryVale Mall, 7200 Harrison Ave., Cherry Valley.

The event includes a special tree-lighting ceremony, and kids can sit on St. Nick’s lap after to tell him their Christmas wishes.

Santa will be at the mall from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

On Christmas Eve he will be at the mall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Nearby: Golf simulator to fill former Art Van Furniture building in Cherry Valley

Help decorate for Stroll on State

Joanne Nold, director of finance and administration for the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, hangs ornaments on a Christmas tree inside City Hall on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)

This Friday and Saturday are decoration days for the annual Stroll On State, which takes place from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 in downtown Rockford.

Volunteers will put out giftboxes, light the trees, hang garland and decorate the downtown area for the holiday event.

You can sign up to volunteer here.

Related: ‘They work so hard for the magic of that one night’: Rockford decorates for annual Stroll on State

Stare at some chairs

This piece by Stephen Warde Anderson titled “Throne of the Fairy Queen” is part of the upcoming exhibit at Kortman Gallery titled “Sit. Chairs as Art.” It opens Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Rockford. (Photo provided by Doc Slafkosky/J.R. Kortman)

A new art exhibit “Sit. Chairs as Art” opens Friday at Kortman Gallery, 107 N. Main St., Rockford.

The opening runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and then the exhibit will be on display until Jan. 14.

For additional information, call the gallery at 815-968-0123 or visit its website

Related: This exhibit should sit well with you: Kortman Gallery display features chairs as art

Shop at the Fall’iday Bazaar

More than 70 crafters and 30 vendors will fill Harlem High School on Sunday for the annual Fall’iday Bazaar.

You can shop for clothing, jewelry, ceramics, leather and other handmade goods.

The event runs form 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the high school’s fieldhouse, 1 Huskie Circle, Machesney Park.

Organizers say many shoppers start their day at the event and then stick around for the Light Up the Parks Parade.

Kick it with the Rockford IceHogs

Cliff Watson (47) skates after the puck on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, against the Iowa Wild at the BMO Center in Rockford. The Wild won 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo by Brad Repplinger/Rockford IceHogs)

The Rockford IceHogs face the Chicago Wolves at home on Friday, and the team is celebrating the start of the World Cup with a USA World Cup scarf available for an additional $10 when using code WC2022 to buy your tickets online.

The game is at 7 p.m. Friday at the BMO Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford.

Hear country a the Coronado

Blackberry Smoke, whose last four full-length albums reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Country charts, will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets start at $33 and can be purchased here.

Attend Edgebrook’s tree lighting

Edgebrook, 1639 Alpine Road, will host a tree-lighting ceremony from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Christmas carols will be performed by Boylan Catholic High School and Lutheran High School choirs before the tree is lit for the first time this season.

Related: A massive spruce that grew too big to decorate will glow at Stroll on State for the first time in 15 years

Hear the angels sing

Rockford University’s Performing Arts presents “And the Angels Sang” at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Maddox Theatre in the Clark Arts Center, 5050 E. State St., Rockford.

The concert features Rockford University choirs and special guest Camerata Emanon. It’s directed by Timm Adams and Tim Anderson.

Tickets are $12 or $9 for a student and can be purchased here.

Shop the Holiday Blitz

More than 65 vendors will fill the Stateline Sports Center, 7939 Burden Road, Machesney Park, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is $1. You can get more info here.

An impractical joker at the Coronado

Joe Gatto, a stand-up comedian known for the show “Impractical Jokers,” will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford.

Tickets start at $39 and can be purchased here.

Read between the wines at Maze Books

Maze Books, 117 S. Third St., Rockford, will host a literature and wine pairing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Attendees can sample six to eight selections of wines paired with short literary pieces by Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemmingway, Charles Bukowski and other authors. Admission is free.

Catch a concert at the Creek

Christo’s Novelty Combo, a Madison-based trio that “presents a unique mixture of the Vaudeville era, novelty-infused hot steel guitar and ukulele of the 1920s and 30s ‘Hawaiian Craze’ and the swinging sounds of French jazz from the 1930s and 40s,” will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Spring Creek Church, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford.

The performance is part of the church’s Concerts on the Creek series. Admission is free. You can learn more here.

Pick up a free turkey Sunday at Auburn High School

Fred VanVleet’s annual turkey giveaway is back this year with a new location.

His friends and family will hand out roughly 1,000 turkeys starting at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Auburn fieldhouse, 5110 Auburn St., Rockford. Turkeys were handed out in downtown last year.

The VanVleet Family Foundation partnered with Hard Rock Casino Rockford to expand the event this year.

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas.

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