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80 performers on five stages at Aug. 30-Sept. 2 On the Waterfront
Rockford’s On the Waterfront (OTW) Festival returns for its 29th year Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 30-Sept. 2, in downtown Rockford.
The event will feature more than 80 performers on five stages, special events, food and carnival rides, among other activities.
Festival borders are the Rock River to the east, Church Street to the west, Mulberry Street to the north, and Green and Cedar streets to the south.
Festival hours are 5 p.m.-midnight, Friday, Aug. 31; 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Saturday, Sept. 1; and 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2.
The Offspring, with opening acts Dead Sara and Finding Clyde, will kick off the festival on the south side of Davis Park, 320 S. Wyman St., at 6:15 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30. Reserved tickets ($32.50-$79.50) are required for the kickoff concert.
Other Great Lawn headliners (see full festival lineup at end of this article) include Billy Currington (Friday, Aug. 31), Creedence Clearwater Revisited (Saturday, Sept. 1) and Theory of a Deadman (Sunday, Sept. 2).
Reserved Great Lawn tickets range from $29.50 to $79.50, although Friday-Sunday Great Lawn performers can also be viewed with a general admission festival pass or wristband.
Three-day festival passes are $15, two-day passes are $12 and one-day festival wristbands are $15 at the gate each day, while children 8 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult. Unlimited ride wristbands are $17. Food and beverage tickets are 50 cents each at ticket booths.
OTW is one of Illinois’ largest music festivals, drawing more than 100,000 people each day and encompassing 25 city blocks in the center of the city, with more than 80 performers on five stages, 30 special events and 40 food vendors.
The festival is supported by the efforts of more than 4,000 volunteers and has generated more than $10.1 million for more than 300 not-for-profit organizations in 28 years with an economic impact of $13.2 million annually.
In the last four years, the total economic impact of the OTW has been more than $50 million.
Attractions, special events and other details include the following:
• Carnival rides — Carnival kickoff is from 5 to 10 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30, and includes rides all night with a $17 wristband. Midway Madness is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1-2. All rides and inflatable activities are three tickets for $1.50 per ride.
• Adventure Alley — Includes the Bungee Pull and the Giant Slide.
• Hole-In-One — Tee up at the OTW Hole-in-One Shoot-Out. Prizes will be awarded for winners older and younger than 18, as well as to anyone whose ball lands on the green. Tee up at the Oasis Stage and aim for the green on a pontoon floating in the Rock River. Open to all amateur golfers, all festival hours until dark.
• ComEd Kids’ Castle — Children younger than 12 can take part in more than 30 interactive and make-and-take activities. Play bingo with the other kids, learn to mini putt and create a masterpiece with stamp art. Also included are stories read by the Rockford Public Library team and entertainment on the Kids’ Court Stage with performances during Kids’ Castle hours. The Kids’ Castle is in the Wyman and Elm Street parking deck and is open Saturday and Sunday from festival open until 6 p.m.
• Kids’ 1/4-Mile Fun Run — 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1. Immediately following the Waterfront 5K at the Trolley Station near the Riverview Ice House. Free registration from 8:15 to 8:50 a.m. the day of the race at the Trolley Station.
• Rockford Chariots Wheelchair Basketball — Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3-4. Established in 1986, the Rockford Chariots Wheelchair Athletic Association works to provide programs for developing the athletic potential of individuals with lower-limb impairments. These gifted athletes compete against local celebrities and city officials in a long-standing and friendly rivalry that goes back many years. Exhibition games are Saturday and Sunday on Chestnut Street.
• FIRST Robotics at Play — Noon-4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1. See FIRST Robotics high school teams play Rebound Rumble. Teams from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin will be playing a form of basketball with robots they built. Winnovation, Winnebago High School’s team, Rockford Robotics and Charger Robotics from Sussex, Wis., host this event.
• Hot Air Balloon Fly-over — Approximately 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1. This event is visible from anywhere in the festival. See several brightly-colored hot air balloons soar overhead.
• Urban Street Market — Shop the weekend away at this unique collection of outdoor vendors. The Urban Street Market is filled with colorful booths overflowing with art, jewelry, clothing, carvings and other rare finds from exotic locales from all over the world.
• Bright Stars Celebration — The 11th Annual Bright Stars Celebration takes place on the Left Bank Stage at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1. The Bright Stars Celebration honors eighth-grade students in the Rockford area who have achieved honor roll status during each quarter of the 2011-2012 academic year.
• WOWballs — Jump into a WOWball and defy the laws of nature by walking on water. This combination of fun and exercise is at Wyman and Elm streets and is open all festival hours.
• Body Bumperz — Next to WOWballs, Body Bumperz allows you to run, walk, jump, flip, bounce and roll into other Body Bumperz and much more. Your legs are not inside the bumper, meaning you are free to move and do what your legs want to. Just put the bumper over your head, and arms through the shoulder straps.
• Children’s Face Painting — The Children’s Face Painters will be returning to paint hearts, flowers, rainbows and much, much, more.
• River Bonfires — View five roaring bonfires floating on 55-gallon drums that will be blazing in the middle of the Rock River each night.
• Waterfront 5K — Race along the Rock River for the 19th Annual Waterfront 5K. Registration is 6:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, with the race beginning at 8 a.m., followed by the Kids’ 1/4-Mile Fun Run. Register at www.onthewaterfront.com.
• Lullaby Lounge — This area is for parents and their little ones who just need a few moments of quiet time. Breast-feeding stations, changing tables and a play area await the smallest of festival-goers. Their older siblings will enjoy toys, games and videos. This family-friendly location offers air-conditioned quiet with diapers, water and juice available for a modest fee.
• OTW Water Taxi — Spend Labor Day weekend on the Rock with the Forest City Queen riverboat. The Rockford Park District offers the area’s first Water Taxi & Tours as a way to travel up and down the Rock River over Labor Day weekend. The Forest City Queen Water Taxi & Tours kicks off Friday, Aug. 31, with water taxi shuttles leaving Martin Park boat dock and dropping you off at Beattie Park boat dock, 401 N. Main, Rockford, just steps away from OTW.
• Rockford College Radio Presents Rockford Originals — Stop by the Rockford College Radio booth to enjoy the sounds of talented Rockford-area musicians. Near the corner of West State and Wyman streets, Rockford College Radio will also broadcast live during various times of the weekend. Performances by a lineup of “Rockford Originals” will occur throughout the festival, including 5-8 p.m., Friday; noon-7 p.m., Saturday; and noon-7 p.m., Sunday.
• Army National Guard — Test your strength on the Army National Guard’s fun course, at the corner of State and Wyman streets in the bank plaza.
• OSF Helicopter — Don’t miss out on the OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center Helicopter landing on the State Street bridge. Look for this new addition Saturday afternoon.
• Texas On Tour — Discover all that Texas has to offer at Texas on Tour. This interactive traveling road show makes the Lone Star State come alive. Explore the Texas coastline on a virtual beach, watch a film and play Texas trivia inside the dome theater, and splash your way across the state in a virtual kayaking adventure.
• “The Other Brew” Podcast — “The Other Brew” is a weekly audio podcast hosted by four former Northern Illinois University students: Doug Meenan (White Doug), Doug Rindfleisch (Black Doug), Tim M. (Cool-Name-Pending) and Tim S. (Israel). The show blends sarcastic humor with Internet news stories of the weird, served to you in a full-bodied pitcher of chaotic fun. The hosts review a new beer at the opening of each show, which they drink throughout the podcast. The show is released Monday mornings, and the recording schedule and contact information can be found at www.theotherbrew.com. Watch them record their live podcast Saturday down by the State Street Bridge Bar.
• Food — More than 30 food vendors will offer various food selections.
• Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) Park-and-Ride Shuttle — Ride to the festival in comfort and ease on the RMTD OTW Shuttle. Park at Target on East State Street or Cliffbreakers at 700 W. Riverside Blvd., and ride to the festival entrance in air-conditioned comfort on the WREX-TV bus or the Pearson Plumbing bus. Shuttle buses will run at approximately 30-minute intervals, on the hour and on the half hour, during festival hours. Shuttle rides are $1 round-trip.
• Parking — Public parking is available on the west side of the Rock River at the lot on the corner of Green and Church streets, at the ramp on Church Street between Elm and Chestnut streets, and at the ramp on North Main Street between West Jefferson and Park streets. On the east side of the Rock River, parking is available at South Second and Walnut streets. Handicapped parking is available in the ramp on Church Street between Elm and Chestnut streets and in the lot on First Street between East State and Walnut streets.
Following is the lineup of musical performers by day and stage:
Thursday, Aug. 30
Schnucks Great Lawn Stage
6:15 p.m. — Finding Clyde
7:30 p.m. — Dead Sara
9 p.m. — The Offspring
Friday, Aug. 31
Schnucks Great Lawn Stage
7:30 p.m. — TBA
9 p.m. — Billy Currington
5:30 p.m. — Kelly Steward and the Restless Kind
7:45 p.m. — Miles Nielsen & the Rusted Hearts
10 p.m. — The BoDeans
Left Bank Stage
5:30 p.m. — The Rockin’ Johnny Band
7:45 p.m. — Moonlight Jazz Orchestra
10 p.m. — Hamilton Loomis
5:30 p.m. — Quinteto Latino
7:45 p.m. — Natty Nation
10 p.m. — The Elders
Saturday, Sept. 1
Schnucks Great Lawn Stage
7:30 p.m. — TBA
9 p.m. — Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Noon — Keith Country Day Rock Camp
1:30 p.m. — Rockford Area Music Industry Youth Jam winners
4:15 p.m. — Guzzardo’s Emerging Artist winners showcase
7:45 p.m. — The Handcuffs
10 p.m. — The Dunwells
Left Bank Stage
12:30 p.m. — Bright Stars Celebration with Hope Despite
3:15 p.m. — After 5 Jazz Project
5:30 p.m. — Guy King Little Big Band
7:45 p.m. — The Kinsey Report
10 p.m. — Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
Noon — Mariachi Ameca
2:45 p.m. — TBA
5 p.m. — Back Country Roads
7:15 p.m. — Smokin’ Gunz
9:30 p.m. — Casey James
Noon-2 p.m. — Those Funny Little People
3 and 5 p.m. — Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band
Sunday, Sept. 2
Schnucks Great Lawn Stage
6:15 p.m. — The Last Vegas
9:15 p.m. — Theory of a Deadman
Noon — Can’t Touch This
2:15 p.m. — The Missing Links
4:30 p.m. — Mr. Big Stuff
6:45 p.m. — 25 or 6 to 4
9 p.m. — Leon Russell
Left Bank Stage
11:30 a.m. — RVC Jazz Ensemble with Mark Colby
1:45 p.m. — Five to Go
4 p.m. — John Allred Quartet
6:15 p.m. — Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band
8:30 p.m. — Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Noon — Two of Us
2:15 p.m. — Fresh Hot Fritters
4:30 p.m. — Zackery Lane
6:45 p.m. — Slamabama
9 p.m. — Phil Vassar
3 and 5 p.m. — Jim Gill
2 and 4 p.m. — Ballet Folklorico
From the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2012, issue