2023 Rockton Christmas Walk: blending traditions with newer events


Quinley Hale visited with Santa after breakfast at the Rockton American Center on Dec. 3, 2022. The annual pancakes and sausage breakfast is hosted by the Rockton Lions Club. Photo: Jean Seegers

Rockton will be bustling with excitement from Dec. 1-3, 2023 as the Rockton Christmas Walk returns. Bring your family and your friends to this festive tradition, now in its 39th year.

The 2023 Grand Marshall Sponsor is Benchmark Exteriors. Different sponsors are supporting various events.

Friday night opens with a tree lighting ceremony at Settlers Park, starting at 5:30 p.m. The Willowbrook Middle School choir will sing Christmas carols prior to the lighting of Rockton's newest Christmas tree at 6 p.m.

Take in all of the lighted displays in Settler's Park created by businesses and individuals at 150 E. Hawick St.

On Friday evening the very popular Dueling Pianos is returning to the American Center (American Legion), 221 W. Main St., for this holiday themed and Christmas carol filled event. Tickets are $30 per person on EventBrite.

Rockton bars are ready for the sixth annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. Catch up with friends as you visit local establishments on Friday night. Participants have a chance of winning one of seven prizes. Start at any location where you can pick up a stamp card. Have your card stamped at each location. Leave your card at your final destination.

Most of the crowd attending the 2022 Dueling Pianos concert were dressed in creative Christmas sweaters, including Maddy Dobnick and Haden Jones. Photo: Jean Seegers

Start your Saturday with a pancake breakfast from the Rockton Lions Club at the American Legion where Santa will be awaiting visits from little ones and young at heart. Your donation will benefit Lions Club charities.

Book lovers can find many genres of reads to find at Talcott Library's annual holiday book sale. Search for that perfect used book on Friday anytime from 9 a.m. until 5:30, or on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 at 101 E. Main St.

Little ones can tell Santa Claus what they want for Christmas by writing a letter to him at financial advisor Brenda Brugger's office from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, at  167 Hawick Street.

Take in the sights of the season on a horse drawn wagon ride. You can board your free ride at Design Elements, 122 S. Prairie St. near West Hawick Street.

Young and young at heart can visit Santa at Rockton Village Hall from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Capture memories by having a photo taken with the jolliest elf of all.

One hour of holiday songs will come to life via the talents of the River City Sound Chorus Sweet Adelines on Saturday afternoon starting at 1 p.m., inside After the Vine, 163 E. Hawick.

A barbershop quartet is bringing a blend of harmony and melodies to town Saturday from 3-5 p.m., at Sugar Britches, 115 W. Main.

Rockton United Methodist Church is having a craft and a bake sale at 102 W. Chapel Street.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rock Valley is hosting a day full of “Sparkles and Sweets” at 329 School St. with gently used Christmas items and bake sale goods. Bake sale items will have prices on them. Christmas goods are available for a donation.

Rockton Township Historical Society will have treasures to find at Santa's Attic Sale which will be open on Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 529 Green Street.

Miss Andrea's Dance Factory invites the public to a bake sale on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon at DeeDees Coffee and Decor101 W. Main St. Christmas carols will fill the room. Proceeds are earmarked to support MADF'S competition dance team.

Put on your imagination caps and wander to Jill Rae Finally Art, 210 W. Main Street. Create a Christmas character by painting a charming plaster figurine. Choose from a reindeer, snowman or a gnome.

At Macktown Living History on Saturday,  the Mack house will be the location for making 19th century Christmas ornaments from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The evening lighted walk and festivities at 7 p.m. include a candle lit walk to the Mack house for a bonfire, hot cocoa, hot cider, cookies, and a carol sing.

Every year the tradition of Katie Cronin is remembered for her many years of leadership in decorating the Village Green Park with the Our Town Committee.

A touching tribute to Katie with the dedication and the lighting of Village Green Park, 100 E. Chapel St., will be held beginning at 4:30 on Saturday night. Sounds of the Whitman Post Elementary School Choir are a sure way to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

This year marks the 20th year since Katie's Cronin's death. In loving memory and in her honor, her family has sponsored luminaria. Two stations will be available to pick up free luminaria, one at the Village Hall and the other at the Walt Williamson Pool at Village Green Park. Everyone in Rockton is encouraged to make the season brighter by lining their sidewalks with luminaria. 

Luminaria stock photo: Mack Male

As always the Lighted Christmas Parade promises the best of the season's color, splendor and magic. Sign up by Nov. 28 to create part of the magic by being in the parade, or come as a spectator to watch the parade roll down Main Street starting at 6 p.m. The parade begins at the intersection of Main Street and Center Street (near the American Legion Hall) and continues east along Main Street, concluding at Hononegah High School.

Following the parade is the Wimpy's Fund auction which is being held at the Rockton American Legion. Support this mission as the Rockton Lions Club gives back to area families in need with Christmas presents, clothing, and food.

Hot cocoa lovers are in for a real treat as the Hot Cocoa Crawl returns on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. Purchase tickets and a keepsake mug, complete with a nested mini spoon, for $12 on the events page. Try different flavors from five downtown locations from 1-4 p.m . Stop back into the Village Hall to cast your vote for your favorite. Mugs can be picked up at the Rockton Village Hall, 110 E. Main Street.

New this year is a family friendly scavenger hunt. Pick up your hunting sheet at the Village Hall to complete the venture. Prizes will be given to the first 500 participants.

All weekend long, look for unique gift items when visiting local stores, or take a break at any number of food or beverage stops.

A full schedule of events and costs for specific activities can be found at rocktonchristmaswalk.com, along with a full list of event sponsors.

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