Sock Monkey Madness at Midway Village Museum March 2-3

Online Staff Report

An original event, the Sock Monkey Madness Festival, returns to Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, as a unique celebration of Rockford’s past by highlighting its once-thriving knitting industry and the stuffed sock toy made from Rockford Red Heel Socks, which continues as a part of America’s pop culture.

Dates are Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Admission is $8 adults, $5 children and students. Museum members are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the door or call (815) 397-9112 for assistance.

Make-A-Monkey Workshop

Visitors have the opportunity to use their talents and imagination to construct a sock monkey of their own with the help of the talented museum staff at the Make-A-Monkey Workshop, or adorn ready-made monkeys with clothing, accessories and other free stuff. The workshop has a $20 additional fee, and may run for two hours (basic sewing skills required). Advance reservations are required for the Make-A-Monkey Workshop.

Other attractions include: The history of Rockford’s knitting industry; the origin of the sock monkey doll; Sockford General Hospital (free medical checkups and minor surgery); children’s crafts; book signings; food from Burritt’s Meat Products; the annual Ms./Mr. Sockford 2013 Beauty & Talent Pageant on Sunday (with adult and youth divisions); and the Sock Monkey Hall of Fame inductee ceremony.

Shopping is available; you can purchase crafted sock monkeys and unique accessories. Vendors will be on site selling unique sock monkey-themed items. The Midway Village Museum Gift Store will also be open.

A part of Rockford history

The Nelson Knitting Company of Rockford manufactured and sold Rockford Red Heel work socks from 1932 to 1992, which were used during the Great Depression to create a folk art sock monkey stuffed toy. Nelson Knitting acquired the patent for the sock toy and included the sock monkey doll pattern with each pair of Rockford Red Heel Socks sold starting in the early 1950s. In recent years, the sock monkey has been sold in department and specialty stores worldwide. The interest in creating a uniquely American handmade doll from Rockford Red Heel Socks is still around to this day.

Posted Feb. 27, 2013

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