Stroll on State is one of the most beloved Rockford holiday traditions! This year, the event will not be held downtown on one day as it traditionally is, but instead will be experienced throughout the months of November and December. It is being called A Merry and Bright Holiday!

This is Stroll on State’s eighth year and although the event looks different, it will still be a great way to kick off the holiday season with your family and friends. There will be opportunities to do the things you love: visits with Santa, letters to Santa, seeing Christmas decorations, and shopping local. 

Stroll on State 2020 A Merry and Bright Holiday will be held November 28 – December 24, 2020.

New in 2020

Due to COVID-19, things look different for Stroll on State this year. However, organizers are working hard to make magical and safe events happen throughout November and December. Here’s what’s new this year:

  • Watch the Merry and Bright Christmas Special on Channel 13 WREX at from 6 – 7 pm on Saturday, November 28th. During the program, the Christmas tree in Davis Park (new location for 2020) will be lit by the Mayor and his family. You are invited to light your family’s tree at the same time.
  • Watch fireworks in Rockford. Fireworks will be shot off from five different locations in Rockford. Families are encouraged to watch the fireworks from their homes. Fireworks locations have not been announced at this point.
  • Dasher Dash 5K has gone virtual. You can run the race whenever and wherever you like.
  • Letters to Santa can be dropped off in six locations including Furst Staffing (2580 Charles Street), Rockford City Hall, (425 E. State Street), Davis Park (Chestnut & Wyman), Janene’s Event Design Studio Social Cafe (607 West State Street, Studio B), and Illinois Bank and Trust (4571 Guilford Road or 308 West State Street).
  • Due to COVID restrictions, Santa visits will be virtual. Luxe Productions will co-produce Virtual Visits with Santa on three Sundays in December–save the dates for 1-6 p.m. CT December 6, December 13, and December 20.

Dasher Dash Virtual 5K Run / Walk

Image credit: Stroll on State Facebook page

Dasher Dash has gone virtual this year! You can run the race anytime between November 28 and December 24. You can use the RACE JOY app for free during the Dasher Dash. Sign up here before November 10th to guarantee your race shirt. Packet pick-up will be from 10 am – 7 pm on November 25 and 27th at Fleet Feet Rockford. Packets can be mailed to you for an additional $10 fee.

Stroll on State Events

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There are a bunch of fun events happening throughout the month for this year’s Stroll on State. Here’s what you can do with your family this year.

Watch A Merry and Bright Holiday Special

Watch A Merry and Bright Holiday Special on WREX (Channel 13) from 6 – 7 pm on Saturday, November 28th. During this show, Mayor McNamara and his family will light Rockford’s Christmas tree located in Davis Park. You are invited to light your family’s Christmas tree at the same time.

See the Rockford Fireworks

Following the Merry and Bright Holiday Special on November 28th, there will be fireworks at approximately 7 pm from five locations in Rockford. Neighbors can watch the fireworks from the comfort of their homes.

Shop Local for Your Holiday Gifts

Local shops and restaurants will be decorated for the season and open for your holiday shopping throughout the months of November and December. Plan to go downtown to shop at some of the amazing stores there. Here’s a list of the downtown Rockford businesses and restaurants.

Visit with Santa Virtually

SantaLand will no longer be happening due to COVID, but kids will still get a chance to chat with Santa virtually! Virtual Visits with Santa on three Sundays in December–save the dates for 1-6 p.m. CT December 6, December 13 and December 20. We’ll post information on how to sign up for a virtual visit when it’s released.

Drop off a Letter to Santa

Drop off a letter to Santa between November 28 – December and you’ll get a response back from him. Remember to write your return address on the envelope! Print off and fill out this Santa letter or write your own! You can drop off your letters at the following locations:

  • FurstStaffing, 2580 Charles Street, Rockford
  • Rockford City Hall, 425 E. State Street (south side of the building), Rockford
  • Davis Park, Chestnut & Wyman Streets by the City Tree, Rockford
  • Janenes Event Design Studio Social Café, 607 West State Street, Studio B, Rockford
  • Illinois Bank & Trust, 4571 Guilford Road, Rockford, OR 308 West State Street, Rockford

See The Downtown Decorations

Downtown Rockford will still be decorated for the holiday season with Davis Park getting a brand new glow-up for this year too. The Rockford Christmas tree will be located in Davis Park where you can visit and take pictures with it and the new Rockford sign. There will be two more Christmas trees in the River District and along State Street.

Get Engaged with Stroll on State on Social Media

Decorate your own home to be part of the Merriest and Brightest Lights contest and participate in the 2 x 2 Shopping Challenge. There will be contests throughout the month. Follow GoRockford and Stroll on State so you don’t miss any of the fun!

Stroll on State is an incredible event that makes us proud to call Rockford our home! We hope you participate this year and have a wonderful holiday season!

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