Wondering what to do or where to go for fun in the Sauk Valley? Here is our list of five things to do in the region this weekend:
1. Celebrate the holidays: Rock Falls’ annual Hometown Holidays kicks off Thursday, Nov. 16, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 18. Huge Holiday Bingo is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at Rock Falls American Legion Post 902, 712 Fourth Ave., Rock Falls. Doors open at 4 p.m., and games start at 6 p.m. Players have the chance to win a $1,000 shop local jackpot. The fun continues Friday, Nov. 17, with the Hometown Holidays Christmas Walk, a Rock Falls tradition for more than 40 years. Local businesses and organizations transform the community into a Christmas wonderland for the Uptown Christmas Walk from 5 to 8 p.m., with activities for all ages. RB&W Riverfront Stage activities begin at 5:30 p.m. with the Salvation Army Band and Kettle Kickoff, the Love Lights Ceremony and tree lighting at 6 p.m., followed by Santa’s $1,000 cash giveaway at 7:30 p.m. The fun wraps up with popular Grinch Dodgeball on Saturday, Nov. 18. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., with activities beginning at noon at Rock Falls Middle School, 1701 12th Ave. This is a free event. For information, visit www.rockfallschamber.com/hometownholidays.
2. Check out the annual Festival of Trees: Featuring everything from gnomes and Santas to barn animals and the Grinch, the 34th annual Festival of Trees continues through Nov. 19 at Northland Mall in Sterling. The fundraiser for Rock River Hospice and Home is showcasing more than 70 decorated Christmas trees – some resting on tabletops, others standing tall – to help provide hospice care to patients in financial need. Attendees can vote for their favorite trees decorated by school organizations and sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals. Breakfast with Santa will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, for a $5 suggested donation, and the Grinch will make an appearance that day. Rock-Star Donuts will be at the event, and there will be ponies wearing reindeer antlers Nov. 18 outside of the mall. The festival is free to attend. Tree bidding will continue until the festival ends at 3 p.m. Nov. 19.
3. Have a free meal if you are a senior: The Sterling Knights of Columbus Council 662 and St. Mary’s Altar and Rosary Society are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Parish Center Hall, 600 Avenue B, Sterling. The dinner is free for every senior in the Sauk Valley area. Seniors can dine in or opt for carryout. (limit two).
4. Do some shopping: Loveland Community House & Museum will host its Winter Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. There will be baked goods, jams and jellies, snacks, treats for pets and humans, specialty mushrooms, soaps, candles, handmade crafts and more. The Loveland History Museum will be open from 10 am. to 3 p.m. Both events are free with plenty of parking. Loveland is handicapped accessible. Loveland Community House & Museum is at 513 W. Second St., Dixon.
5: Donate to Honor Flight of the Quad Cities: A baked potato and soup bar will raise funds for the next Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. The fundraiser will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Dixon VFW, 1560 state Route 38, Dixon. The menu includes a baked potato with all the fixings and several choices of soup, including chili, broccoli cheese, chicken noodle and potato. The cost is a free-will donation. Music will start at 4:30 p.m. Les Wilson, Les Floto and Jeff Kromer will perform. Proceeds will help fund area veterans going on the next Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. Applications for veterans and guardians will be available for the next flight.