Tis the season for toy drives, fun events, Christmas music and giving back


At the 2022 Rockton Christmas Walk, Brady and Evan Miller wrote letters to Santa to let him know what presents they would like.

'Tis the season for giving and celebrations.

Rockton Firefighters Association is asking the public to help “Fill the Truck for Toys for Tots.” Bring a new unwrapped toy to the collection site at the firehouse at 201 N. Blackhawk Blvd. They will be collecting toys seven days a week from 8 a.m until 8 p.m., until Dec. 20, 2023.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, Roscoe Middle School will be the site of “A Very Merry Pop Up Shop.” Doors open at 10 a.m to find that one of a kind Christmas present from a local crafter or a small business owner. Money raised from this event is in support of “Camp I Am Me” which is a pediatric burn survivor camp in Illinois.

In loving memory of Katie Cronin who passed away 20 years ago, her family is sponsoring luminarias for the entire community this year. Honor her memory and make the season brighter, as Katie did in decorating Village Green Park for years, by lining your sidewalks in beautiful lights. Two stations are available to pick up luminaria, one at the Village Hall and the other at the Walt Williamson Pool.

Nature At the Confluence in South Beloit invites everyone to an evening of seasonal fun at a tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at 306 Dickop Street.

Ongoing activities also include a bonfire and making ‘smores. As a bonus, there is going to be unlimited hot cocoa - just bring your own mug. Get imaginations rolling by doing holiday crafts and take time to capture memories of the day by taking family photos. The tree lighting is slated for 5 p.m. followed by the performing of Christmas carols. Parking and other details are listed on the Nature at the Confluence Facebook page. This event is a partnership between The City of South Beloit, Nature at the Confluence and South Beloit Public Library.

Rockton PTO is organizing “A Very Merry Holiday Shoppe and Vendor Pop-Up.” This event is specifically geared toward students in the Rockton School District and will be held at Stephen Mack Middle School, 11810 Old River Rd, Rockton.

This year's event is set for Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. until 4. Vendors are being sought to offer the best goods available. Vendor set up is the Friday evening before the event, Dec. 8 from 5-8 p.m. The PTO is hoping to have a doughnut giveaway. Sponsorship opportunities are open to make this happen for children in the district.

Taylor + Max invites children who are on the autism spectrum, or have any different neurological ability,  to visit with “Sensitive Santa” on Saturday, Dec.9 at 100 West Main St. in 
Rockton. Young visitors are promised a special moment with Santa in a quiet environment.

This event is only for children with special needs. A sign up link will be posted on the Taylor + Max Facebook page. Sign up is required and space is limited. A guest therapist will be on site to introduce her services. Free digital photos of your child with Santa are available during the event. Call 815-957-0290 with any questions.

Hear sounds of the season on the Hononegah Performing Arts Center stage. A series of concerts start out on the right note with fifth grade students from Whitman Post Elementary School (WPES) on Tuesday evening, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

On Wednesday evening, Whitman Post third graders take the stage. On Thursday Dec. 7, Rockton Grade School second graders will perform holiday tunes. On Dec. 11, Hononegah bands and choirs will hold their winter concert with a start time of 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 16 Peter Mayer presents the Stars & Promises Christmas Concert, to benefit GiGi’s Playhouse and the Rockton Food Pantry. Tickets are required for this event.

Williams Tree Farm is open and ready for families or individuals to find that special Christmas tree or home decor, or gifts. They have several events planned to bring smiles to everyone such as making your own wreath or centerpiece on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m., or get creative at a crafty card party on Dec. 7 at 5:15 p.m.

Another place to find a real Christmas tree, wreaths and gifts is at an Old Fashion Christmas Tree lot outside Schnucks, in support of Roscoe Boy Scout Troop 620. They are open during the weekends on December 1-3 and Dec. 8-10. Find that special piece on Friday from 4-7 p.m, Saturday from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., or on Sunday from 11 a.m. to l 5 p.m.

Roscoe's Hometown Holidays also promises loads of fun on Saturday, Dec. 9. This fun holiday themed event is a partnership between the Village of Roscoe, elev815 and the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District. Music, baby reingoats, games and prizes, crafts for kids, food trucks, visit with Santa, stories from Mrs. Claus, a barbershop quartet, s'mores, hot cocoa, bonfires, games and treats, plus many more activities will fill Roscoe's Main Street from 3-7 p.m.  The community tree lighting will be at 6:30 p.m.

The Church by the Side of the Road welcomes everyone to their annual Christmas Candlelight service on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 500 S Blackhawk Blvd. Experience the Christmas story as you join in singing Christmas carols, sung in between songs being performed by the talented Neala Jeansen and Chip Messiner. This special program begins at 5 p.m.

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