2022 Rockton Christmas Walk created spirit of the season
Rockton's 38th annual Christmas Walk created the spirit of the Christmas season with three days loaded with activities. Events from Friday, Dec. 2 until Sunday, Dec. 4. offered fun for everyone.
At the Rockton Municipal Center (Village Hall), Christmas tunes rang out from outdoor speakers.
The lighting of displays at Settlers Park started the fun on Friday evening. Displays will be up through the holiday season.
Friends gathered together to participate in the fifth annual Christmas Walk Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. Pub crawlers could start at any of the seven participating locations to pick up a stamp card, possibly leading to prizes.
Saturday morning, the American Legion was full once again as the Rockton Lions Club welcomed huge crowds for a pancake breakfast. Little ones had their first opportunity to share Christmas wishes with Santa Claus.
Later, Santa moved into a wonderfully decorated Rockton Village Hall (Municipal Center) where he greeted guests for four hours with the help of a young elf assistant.
Various businesses offered guests the chance to create Christmas-themed crafts.
The talented acapella voices of the Rockford Barbershop Chorus captured a glimpse of Christmas magic as they performed in the Village Hall and in different businesses.
At The Mix, Ireland McGuire and Eddy Beilfuss directed guests on how to make a chocolate covered stir spoon. Peppermint, marshmallows and other toppings were added to spoons. Each was placed in a refrigerator, allowing ingredients to set together.
Sugar Britches oversaw the S'Mores roasting station at Settler's Park. The extra large marshmallows in the center of the treats were made at Sugar Britches.
Wagon rides allowed Christmas Walk visitors a chance to take in different beautiful sites in the community.
Craft, collectibles, book, and bake sales each offered unique pieces to purchase for Christmas presents.
Early on Saturday evening, members of the Cronin family honored the memory of Catherine “Katie” Cronin by placing special handmade ornaments, candies and items that could be used to feed birds. Family and friends counted down from 10 to see a fully lit, colorfully decorated park.
Many years ago, Katie was the chair of the Our Town Committee who lovingly decorated the Village Green Park every year.
On Saturday evening, the much anticipated Lighted Christmas Parade hosted 40 entries that were full of lights, decorations and splendor.
Rockton-Roscoe News was in the parade again, this time with a lighted pickup truck. Sports editor Harold Bone and managing editor Michael McGinnis walked behind, with their sons and friends as newsboys, delivering 4,000 Hershey's Kisses to the crowds.
Following the parade, the American Legion bustled in excitement as the Wimpy's Fund auction took place, both live and silent. In between, Jodi May served as the event's auctioneer. Tony Rocker as Christmas Elvis and his full band played tribute to the King with a variety of Christmas tunes.
“Tony Rocker was wonderful and Jodi May did a great job as auctioneer for the live auction. The silent auction was also a hit,” Christmas Walk attendee Mary Morgan said.
Morgan adds, “The American Legion did a spectacular job, especially Scott, Darin and Mark in the hall. Each kept everyone supplied with their favorite beverages. We also really enjoyed Dueling Pianos on Friday night.”
Sunday in the Rockton Village Hall, the River City Sound Chorus Sweet Adelines performed sounds of the season, New Year's songs and popular tunes, each in four part harmony in acapella style, under the direction of Joan Boutilier.
In the afternoon, the fifth annual Hot Cocoa Crawl saw long lines of cocoa lovers sampling hot chocolate from DeeDee's Main Street Coffee, Dairyhaus, Sugar Britches, The Mix, and others in a commemorative mug, complete with a stir spoon. A people's choice win for this year's best flavor - caramel toasted marshmallow - went to The Mix.
Rounding out this year's event was the Historic Homes for the Holidays Tour. Visitors were warmly greeted inside three historic buildings in Rockton and given a full history: 316 N. Blackhawk Blvd. (1907), 417 W. Chapel St. (1894), and 703 N. Green St. (1855). Each had the halls decked out for the season. Seasonal refreshments were served.
The Rockton Christmas Walk was organized by Rockton Village Planning and Development Administrator Tricia Diduch and was managed through the Village of Rockton. Special thanks to Chief Matt Hollinger and the Rockton Police Department, Fire Chief Kirk Wilson, Public Works Director Dan Barber, Parks and Recreation Director Don Self, and Jake Costello from the Rockton Public Works Department. Each helped in a variety of ways throughout the weekend.
This event happens because of generous sponsors, which included The Gem Shop, Design Elements, Hi Beautiful Bridal, First Northern Credit Union, After the Vine, Bucciferro Family McDonald’s, Gary J. Bach Agency, Kelley’s Market Mobil, Rockton Lions Club, Rockton Sanctuary Spa, Sugar Britches, Dairyhäus, Rockton Food & Spirits, Stenstrom Companies, and smaller donors such as Rockton-Roscoe News.
Terrie Garlow served once again as the Rockton Lions Club Wimpy's Fund Auction chair. “I have lived in this community for 54 years and I love traditions that the community has developed, grown, and have changed in my lifetime,” Garlow said.
“I was in the original Our Town committee who decorated the Village Green Park. We celebrated community out of that experience; now I enjoy my experience in a different way. I love the way the community comes together every year; which is exactly what Christmas is all about. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Walk is the lighted parade. It is fun to watch the children's faces, the celebrations of the families each year, which are all priceless. Going forward, I am sure that we will develop more and to keep growing as new things are introduced.”
Mary Morgan reflected on this year's event, “As a whole I think this was the best Christmas Walk ever,” Morgan said.