Rock Falls Travel Blog

Ultimate Guide for 2016

The New Year is fast approaching and with the many wonderful events that our communities are offering, 2016 brings promise of an AMAZING year.


Percussion-Palooza Sunday February 28th 2016 Percussion-Palooza is an educational/entertainment event featuring a solo and ensemble competition a week prior to the Illinois state contests and almost a month before the Iowa state contests held at Rock Falls High School through Rhythm Quest. The events honors the heritage of Rock Falls’ own Louie Bellson. The annual Louie Bellson Inspiration Award is given to one participant each year. The award honors and celebrates the memory of the legendary percussionist, innovator, inventor and life-long educator born in Rock Falls, IL. Louie Bellson’s double-bass drum set (featured in the Youtube video below), donated for display by the City of Rock Falls will be set up for viewing during the event.

Admission (covers all events) - Solos, Ensembles, Clinics, and Premier Showcase: Adults - $5.00     Children - $3.00     under the age of 5 - Free Contact Information: Ramiro Martinez (815) 718 – 2302



8th Annual Rock Falls Spring Challenge Saturday-Sunday May 14th & 15th / Saturday - Sunday May 21st & 22nd 2016

This little league baseball tournament has grown by leaps and bounds, bringing in teams from all over. In 2016, the tournament is offering 2 weekends to accommodate all those teams that wish to participate.  Check for updates on coupons and specials offered by local businesses. Call Bobby Teague for spots: 815-590-1372

3rd Annual Sterling Main Street Car Show, Swap Meet & 50/50 Raffle Kick-off

Sunday May 22nd 2016

The annual car show offers cool cars, 50/50 drawing kick-off (opening day of ticket selling May 22nd- drawing is during Sterling Music Fest July 23rd), awards, dash plaques to the first 100 entries, music, swap meet and it’s all free to spectators! Proceeds go to Sterling Main Street for downtown revitalization & Community events. Come visit Sterling and be a part of the growing go-to event for classic cars.  Bigger? Yes! Better? Yes! Kick back and enjoy the hard work & time put in to the participant’s beautifully restored classic cars. The 3rd Annual Sterling Main Street Car Show-don’t miss it! Event time: 8AM-3PM Judging begins at Noon.

For more information or to participate: Sterling Main Street 815-626-8610 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit



Bass Pro Shop’s Big Cat Quest-Rock Falls River Chase-Rock Falls Summer Splash Weekend 2016

June 24th-25th Summer Splash

June 25th- 26th Bass Pro Shop’s Big Cat Quest Tournament

June 25th- 26th Rock Falls River Chase


Destination Rock Falls! Rock Falls is fortunate to have 3 events going on the same weekend in 2016 that perfectly complement one another.  We invite you to spend the weekend in our neck of the woods and explore a few of the best events in the Sauk Valley Area. There is something for every family member to enjoy!

Bass Pro Shop's Big Cat Quest Saturday - Sunday  June 24th - 25th 2016 team tourney, family oriented event, offers big cash prizes and is the Midwest qualifier for the 2016 national championship in Richmond, Virginia. Adding to the excitement, Rock Falls will be the host city for the Rock Falls River Chase Saturday - Sunday June 24th - 25th 2016, a heart pounding race with boats traveling 60 mph, participants kneeling, right hand on the throttle & left hand holding on to the boat, inches above the water & the Rock Falls Chamber's family fun weekend, Summer Splash Friday - Saturday June 24th - 25th 2016 is filled with live entertainment, family activities, vendors, plus the ever popular unique, one of a kind cuisines.

For More information on June 25th 2016 weekend:

Bass Pro Shops’ Big Cat Quest Rock Falls Tourism 815-380-2300 website This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rock Falls River Chase Terry Hicks Facebook

Rock Falls Chamber 815-625-4500 website



Whiteside County Barn Tour Saturday - Sunday July 9th - 10th 2016 Throughout the Midwest, historians are lamenting the disappearance of barns.  There are pages dedicated to preserving, in picture, what has now been destroyed by time or design.  Pinterest is absolutely swimming with barn pictures, books have been written about our barn dotted back roads, foundations created to save our barns and mainstream media writes of the plight of our Illinois countryside.  Check it out: Disappearing Barns  , Historical Barns/Farms in the United States of America  ,  Midwest's old barns disappearing By David Mercer, Associated Press  National Trust for Historic Preservation-Barn Preservation Resources  ,  The Old barn Book: A Field Guide to North American Barns & Other Farm Structures    ,  Barn: Preservation and Adaptation, The Evolution of a Vernacular Icon 

The nostalgic response of our dying barns in Illinois goes beyond the rustic appeal and architecture. A barn is the most easily identifiable feature of early American farms.  Take a glimpse of what has made our nation great- families, hard work, tradition and a sense of pride of years gone by. The tour will include 9 farms with 11 barns. Along the way, you will see unique barns, livestock and other surprises. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to step back in time and visit a way of life that is rapidly disappearing from the American landscape. 

Visit Whiteside County.  Spend a weekend in the country.  We look forward to seeing you!



2nd Annual Hennepin Hundred  Saturday - Sunday October 1st - 2nd 2016 I’d like to give the organizers and the participants a warm welcome back to the Rock Falls area for the 2nd Annual Hennepin Hundred ultra-marathon race. What is the Hennepin Hundred? It’s a 100 mile solo, a 50 mile solo or a 100 mile 5 person relay, point to point trail race along the Hennepin Feeder Canal & the Hennepin Canal Trail.

Look for many truss and lift bridges built in the early 1900s for farmers to cross the canal, and the aqueducts that carry the canal and its trail over rivers and creeks. Runners, spectators and crew will want to watch for Bald eagles which are known to nest along the canal, as well as majestic blue herons.

We are working with Trails for Illinois to direct a portion of race proceeds toward improving this historic trail, as well as bring international attention the Hennepin Feeder Canal & Hennepin Canal. In its' inaugural race, the Hennepin Hundred had runners from 5 countries and 20+ states. Already in late December 2015, 28 runners have signed up! How do you sign up for this amazing ultra run? Click Here!

Runners and crew can look forward to the Rock Falls and Sterling communities opening our arms with good spirited, mid-western charm AND with coupons, specials and events geared toward their visit!



Rock Falls Hometown Holidays/ Sterling Seasonal Sights & Sounds/ Twin Cities Holiday Parade 2016

November 17th Rock Falls Hometown Holidays Bingo

November 18th Rock Falls Hometown Holidays Christmas Walk

November 18th Sterling Seasonal Sights & Sounds

November 19th Twin Cities Holiday Parade


Rock Falls Hometown Holidays Bingo Thursday November 17th, 2016

Looking for that perfect gift for friends and family for the holiday season? Take a chance and play Hometown Holidays Holiday Bingo!!! You never know what you could win!!! All prizes are valued at $50-$100+ and our famous JACKPOT prize filled with gift cards from our very own local businesses valuing at over $800 last year!!! Feeling really lucky? Check out our 50/50 raffle while you're at it. Remember, get there early because seats fill up fast!! And, as always, SHOP LOCAL!!

For event questions contact the Rock Falls Chamber 815-625-4500

Rock Falls Hometown Holidays Christmas Walk Friday November 18th, 2016

Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season at the Hometown Holidays Christmas Walk. There is something for everyone on this magical night in Uptown Rock Falls! Hometown Holidays is an annual winter time festival held in the Rock Falls Uptown District. This annual festival highlights businesses and community organizations, as well as, promotes general civic pride. Hometown Holidays kicks-off with the lighting of the Lovelight Tree and reading of the memorial names.  Thousands line the street each year to enjoy treats and entertainment on Friday evening, followed by the joining of our sister city, Sterling, IL for the Twin Cities Parade on Saturday.

The kids are going to love visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus while his live reindeer will be close by! Visit the Rock Falls Chamber's Selfie Booth and steal a kiss under the mistletoe. Best of all, uptown businesses and booths will be open throughout the night for the family to warm up with hot chocolate, coffee, delicious treats and more! Live entertainment will keep you going while you walk through Uptown Rock Falls and see the beautiful holiday decorations and art work. Don't miss this winter wonderland filled with crafts, games and giveaways!

Sterling Seasonal Sights & Sounds Christmas Walk Friday November 18th, 2016

Sights & Sounds is Downtown Sterling's Annual kick-off to Christmas brought to you through a partnership between Sterling Main Street and the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. Wander the candlelight streets and visit the businesses of Downtown Sterling for shopping & dining specials, a variety of activities & entertainment, open houses and refreshments.

Twin Cities Parade Saturday November 19th, 2016

The anticipation of the 3rd annual Twin Cities Parade is building! Due to a ton of snow falling the evening before and the morning of the parade, it had to be cancelled in 2015.

The Rock Falls and Sauk Valley Area Chambers of Commerce along with Sterling Main Street and Rock Falls Tourism are delighted to announce the 3rd Annual Twin Cities Holiday Parade. The parade will be held on Saturday, November 19th, beginning at 1:00pm. The feedback received from participants, spectators, and business owners was very positive, so it was decided to continue the joint parade. The directors of the organizations are excited to continue the community collaboration.



Sterling Sights & Sounds Community Concert Thursday December 1st 2016


Join us for a FREE Community Concert beginning at 7:00 PM at the Big Red Church (First Congregational) at the corner of 2nd Avenue & 4th Street in Downtown Sterling. This free concert features performances by individuals, small groups, churches and organizations from throughout the community. Enjoy refreshments after the program. If you would like to take part in the Community Concert, please complete and return the Participation Form above, or contact Janet at 815-625-5112 for more information.

 -Arts-History-Outdoor Fitness-Family Events-

The Rock Falls Area is Your Ultimate Destination in 2016


The Great Louie Bellson
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