Festival of Lights begins at 5 p.m., Dec. 6, Nicholas Conservatory also hosts events

Online Staff Report

The Festival of Lights inside Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford, has become a stateline family tradition. The official lighting will take place at 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6. Festival of Lights Committee Chairman Joe Marino will flip the switch to kick off the 25th annual holiday tradition.

The Festival of Lights will be on display 5-10 p.m., Fridays-Sundays, Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15, and nightly from 5 to 10 p.m., Dec. 20-31. The festival closes at 10 p.m., Dec. 31.

Holiday music will be provided by B103 FM. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

What’s new in 2013?

Santa will be spending time each weekend (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) night by the donation box from 7 to 9 p.m., so letters can be hand-delivered to him through Dec. 22. When Santa is not present at this location, letters may still be dropped in the North Pole Express mailbox, which will be by the Festival of Lights donation box. Don’t forget a return address, so Santa can reply!

Festival of Lights background

Festival of Lights began with just 11 displays, and has grown to more than 50 displays each year. Displays can be rented from the Festival of Lights Committee, or built and installed by individuals, community organizations or businesses. Last year’s Festival of Lights display had record-breaking attendance, with more than 28,000 cars navigating the trail of dazzling lights and holiday spirit.

For more about the Festival of Lights or display guidelines, visit www.rockfordfireandice.com or call (815) 494-2569.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

Right across the street from the Festival of Lights are additional sights and sounds of the season at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. Second St., Rockford.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for guests to enjoy the light and floral displays inside the exhibition area. Experience the holidays with a tropical twist by viewing this year’s holiday plant display tree, which is composed of 206 colorful tropical bromeliads.

A variety of performers and genres will be featured during the “Sounds of the Season,” a series of holiday musical performances by local musicians at Nicholas Conservatory. Following is the lineup:

Saturday, Dec. 7 — Jodi Beach (vocalist), noon-2 p.m.;

Sunday, Dec. 8 — Diane Rodway Knight (harpist), noon-1 p.m.;

Tuesday, Dec. 10 — WomanSong Choir, 5-6 p.m.;

Thursday, Dec. 12 — Kristin Hoffman (folk/indie), 5-6 p.m.;

Saturday, Dec. 14 — Frank Calvagna (spanish guitar), noon-2 p.m.;

Sunday, Dec. 15 — Rockford Lutheran Quartet, noon-1 p.m.;

Tuesday, Dec. 17 — JT Nolan (saxophonist), 5-6 p.m.;

Thursday, Dec. 19 — June Taylor and John Nichols (traditional holiday music), 5-6 p.m.;

Saturday, Dec. 21 — Amy McIntyre & Friends (jazz), noon-2 p.m.; and

Sunday, Dec. 22 — Flute Club of Rockford, noon-1 p.m.

To learn more about the Conservatory, admission fees, and its programs, events and rental opportunities, visit www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg or call (815) 987-8858.

Posted Dec. 5, 2013

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