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The Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the Start of Summer Committee are hoping that the community is ready to say goodbye to another school year. This year’s annual Start of Summer Celebration is celebrating its 46th year with another fun-filled event that features plenty of chills and thrills for the entire family. The City of Rockford has been preparing the streets, bridges, and sidewalks for the big event, so it will be the perfect backdrop for this wonderful weekend. This year’s celebration is scheduled for June 13, 14 and 15.
A special Community Night will take place on Thursday, June 12. The Community Night is a special night for Rockford residents, with the carnival opening a day early just for them. It is a way for the City to thank its residents for a great year. City of Rockford residents are defined by a certain area – you can know if you qualify for the lower City rate for the carnival by whether or not you pay taxes to the City of Rockford. Those residents qualify for wristbands for $10 each and can purchase them Wednesday or Thursday, June 11 and June 12, at the City of Rockford offices, at 7 S. Monroe. You must bring proof of where you live to purchase the wrist bands for the reduced rate. All others who want to attend the carnival on Community Night must go to the carnival itself on Thursday, and can purchase wristbands for regular price.
Start of Summer Celebration will feature carnival rides, food, crafts, music, 3 beer tents, live entertainment and family fun. The fireworks, sponsored by Byrne Electrical Specialists, Meijer, and Macatawa Bank will light up the Rockford skyline at dusk on Saturday.
Polly Von Eschen, who has been involved with the event for 27 years and is chair of the event, always makes sure that the celebration runs seamlessly. The committee started preparing for the huge event months in advance and is ready to highlight the 46th annual installment of the popular celebration.
“It is a great way to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of summer,” said Von Eschen. “We like thanking the community for all their support of downtown businesses throughout the year. It is always a lot of fun. We love seeing people come into town and enjoy all of the wonderful things going on.”
North American Midway Entertainmentwill provide the carnival rides and games this year. The rides and midway will be set up in the South Squires Street Parking lot. Favorites such as the Rotary Duck Race, (including the Big Daddy Duck Race), waterball, Chase Bank frog and turtle races, the Children’s Activities Tent and tours of the Little Red Schoolhouse are on the schedule.
There will be a free shuttle service available, compliments of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. There is a pick up and drop off every half-hour from Family Fare Supermarket from 5-11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday.