Stroll on State’s less festive year


Pictured: Kali Szostek in stroll on state hat. Photo credits: LeAnn Severson

On Saturday, November 30th, Stroll on State started its 7th year annual run. Traditionally, its time period would usually occur from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m., but due to heavy rainfall, Stroll on State ended early at 7 p.m. after the traditional Christmas tree lighting. In addition to the festival closing early, the fire pits, where people can indulge in the warmth of the fire, went unused because of the rain.  Thankfully, there were activities and stations to enjoy inside, such as the Rockford City Hall where kids could make wish lists to mail to Santa and the Riverview Ice House, where strollers could ice skate indoors for free. In addition, there was an increase in food trucks and downtown’s local eateries, allowing strollers to enjoy their favorite treats. 

   “I think there were a lot of people this time of the year,” said Gavin Gonzalez, senior and volunteer worker at a  S’more station. “There was more activity this year, which is good. There would have been more people than usual if the weather was more clear and calm. But we usually don’t have this kind of weather.” 

   Stroll on State’s Merry & Bright Holiday Parade took place at 2 p.m. Years ago the parade featured a few horses, wagons, and Santa Claus leading up to the tree lighting. But this year it had more variations of  dance choreography and music. More shops have opened downtown since last year, and their traffic has been increasing steadily, considering the time of year is close to Black Friday. S’more stations, food trucks, and nearby restaurants in the downtown area are also booming, allowing strollers to enjoy festive treats and delicious food from local eateries such as Frosty’s Merry Market, St. Nick’s Cafe and two hot chocolate express locations.

  “People didn’t want to be out in the weather, because it wasn’t even snowing, it was actually sleeting and there was ice forming on the ground,” said Anothny Ford, Volunteer worker at another S’more station. “Stroll on state was usually a hit every year.  Being that it wasn’t this year, I think the weather was the main cause as to why there weren’t many people.”