What’s to Like About Rockford: On The Waterfront

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As promised, here is my first monthly post about what makes Rockford a special place to live.

On The WaterFront is an annual music festival that takes place in downtown Rockford over Labor Day weekend. Starting Thursday evening, the festival runs through Sunday night. This year over 80 performing artists were featured on five different stages including: The BoDeans, Creedance Clearwater Revisited, Smokin Gunz, Casey James, Guy King, The Lovehammers, and lots of local groups. In the past, I’ve seen Ted Nugent, Daughtry, Styx, Cheap Trick and Buddy Guy at this festival.

In addition to the music, there are lots of special attractions. Carnival rides (1/2 price before 2 PM), food vendors serving your standard carnival fare (corndogs, elephant ears, BBQ turkey legs, lemon shake-ups) as well as some specialty items (crab rangoons, the walking taco, pulled pork nachos)–this year, The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor from Forest Park, IL was there, the Cupcake Ice Cream was a favorite–and lots of community booths, including the ComEd Kids Castle, where a parking garage is turned into a free game/craft emporium for kids under 12.

The festival has gotten smaller over the last couple years, another casualty of our economy. But it’s still cheap to get in (I paid $10 for a three day pass, even though I only went on Sunday). Kids under 9 are free. The festival advertises $15 for a three day pass purchased ahead of time or $15 for a one day pass at the gate, but there are lots of employers in Rockford who purchase passes in bulk for discounts they pass along, as long as you get the passes ahead of time. Parking is extra of course, but the further away you park, the less you pay. Lazy me parks in the garage across the street for $5.

Less crowded, great music for cheap, beautiful weather, tasty food, and you can throw your kids inside these inflatable plastic hamster balls on a pool of water and watch them try to stand up…

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What’s not to like?

Photos by Karin Blaski 9/2/12

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