Galena Country Blog

International Travel to Galena!

Adventure King

Scroll through the two posts below for a look at the international¬†adventure travel to Galena feature in the Japanese magazine…Adventure King! The bottom post is from another Japanese magazine called Shukan New York Seikatsu.¬†The State of Illinois, Great Rivers Country Regional Office and the Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB were happy¬†to host these international travelers this summer, one of whom was Ms. Makiko Yamamoto¬†of Adventure King. They had an action-packed itinerary where they enjoyed tours of the Goldmoor Inn, Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., ¬†Chestnut Mountain Resort, Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, Tri-State Trolley Tour, Amelia’s Ghost Tours and the Elihu B. Washburne House.

The writers got a taste of Galena with¬†meals at Otto’s Place, Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, Vinny Vanucchi’s¬†”Little Italy” and One Eleven Main. They arrived at the¬† perfect time back in June, allowing them to take in¬†the Great Galena Balloon Race AND ride in a hot air balloon with Galena On The Fly! The travelers were able to rest during this whirlwind tour at the DeSoto House Hotel and the Ramada Hotel & Spa.

(Grab the dark gray bar on the right and scroll down to view their feature!)


You can see the campaigns to promote the State of Illinois in Japan and other countries HERE and on Youtube!

Are you a travel writer or an adventure lover on social media? Tag us in your posts (@EnjoyGalenaCtry) or contact us so we can share your experiences! Plan your adventure with us at galena.org!

photos: Adventure King, adventurekingjp on Instagram

Fall Foliage Meter

Come to galena.org every week for our Fall Foliage Meter to see how the leaves are changing in Galena/Jo Daviess County, IL! Look for this box on the sidebar of our website for a quick glance at the fall colors from this beautiful view at Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

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We’ll be updating this photo on our website and Facebook Page every Tuesday!

Here’s the original photo…we just love this view looking southwest towards the Mississippi River.

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Here are our Top 5 recommendations for enjoying Fall Color in Jo Daviess County!

Here’s where we are as of October 27,2015:

fall foliage meter_10_27_15You can also check the Live Camera feed on the Chestnut Mountain Resort!

See the leaves change on our Facebook album!

Come to galena.org each week to see how the leaves are changing in Galena/Jo Daviess County on our Fall Foliage Meter!…

Posted by Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Bed and Breakfast Experience

UPDATED POST! Congratulations to¬†Farmers’ Guest House for being named one of the Top B&Bs of 2015 by BedandBreakfast.com!

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The Bed and Breakfast experience has existed for hundreds of years. Country travelers found a place to clean up, fill their bellies and get some rest before making their way slowly down the road. The elite have always known the pleasures of a holiday, to restore their health and spirit. It wasn’t until the Middle Class emerged after World War II that Americans took a vacation as we know it today. The war had opened a lot of soldiers’ eyes to traveling the world and American travelers to Europe fell in love with the cozy, friendly and affordable Bed & Breakfasts. Learn more about the 30+ Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses and Inns of Jo Daviess County HERE!

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Aldrich Guest House, 900 Third St., Galena

What can you expect from your Bed & Breakfast experience in Galena/Jo Daviess County, IL?

  • Dedicated owners and managers who are passionate about the hospitality industry.
  • Great food! Whether it’s breakfast in the morning, dessert after a dinner on Main St. or cookies anytime, the innkeepers each have their own specialties!

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The Inn at Irish Hollow, 2800 S. Irish Hollow Rd.,  Galena

  • Comfortable rooms with special touches and private bathrooms.
  • Unique experiences for each property…it could be a porch with a view, nightly cocktail hour, fireplace in your room, spa services and libraries with movies and books.

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Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, 2752 W. Cording Rd., Galena

Break from the norm and stay in one of Galena and Jo Daviess County’s bed and breakfasts, guest houses and inns. Our historic B&Bs, guest houses and inns, many 19th century architectural treasures, provide fascinating opportunities to truly step back in time. Enjoy a cozy evening like an early settler in one of our comfortable guest houses or inns. Catch up on a good book or bring your journal to capture the special moments of your stay. Whether you’re searching for a romantic getaway, quiet time away from home or a stay unlike others, our unique properties work hard to make your time in Galena and Jo Daviess County unforgettable.

Learn more about The Bed & Breakfast Experience on HuffPost Travel¬†and¬†“Top 10 Benefits to Staying in a Bed & Breakfast!”

Fantastic Fall Events!

Lodging properties fill up fast each autumn in Galena/Jo Daviess County, IL! With that being said we couldn’t help tempting you with some of our fantastic Fall events! The leaves are at their peak around Columbus Day weekend, count on us to keep you updated on our Fall Foliage Meter!

Dittmar Farms Mill Creek Valley¬†is opening September 19 and will remain open until October 25. Admission includes a pick-your-own pumpkin, a run through the corn maze and a wagon ride! Enjoy some homemade sweet treats and coming soon…APPLES! The Dittmars are estimating a pick date for apples in 2017! Insider tip: After getting your pumpkin head to E-Town in Elizabeth for lunch!
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Warren Pumpkin Festival is held September 25-27, 2015! An old-fashioned festival with antique tractor pulls, parade, carnival rides, pumpkin-themed games, lots of food and beverage and much more. Fun for the whole family. Special for this year is the 144th Army Band performing especially for the festival.

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Galena Oktoberfest (Galena Lions Club) is October 3, 2015. “The 9th annual Galena Oktoberfest will feature a Ceremonial Tapping of the Keg; non-stop live music; wiener dog races; polka lessons and dancing; bean bag tournament; beer stein endurance contest;
bounce house & pumpkin decorating, for the kids; lots of food and beer.” Insider tip: Wear layers, you can have all sorts of weather in one day!

Galena Country Fair: An arts & crafts festival filling historic Grant Park. The food, the smells, and the beauty of Fall will lure you in as you wander through the paths filled with country crafts and fine art. The Country Fair is held annually on the Saturday & Sunday of Columbus Day weekend. This year the event is October 10 & 11! Insider Tip: Can’t get enough crafts? Head to Hwy 84 in Hanover to the indoor River Ridge Craft Fair!

Galena Country Fair

 

Fear Forest at Shenandoah Riding Center will definitely deliver some screams! Fear Forest opens on Friday October 9 then will be open Friday & Saturday evenings until Halloween! Insider tip: Don’t forget your running shoes! 😉

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The Galena Halloween Parade & Festival brings thousands to Main Street for our colorful and spooky parade. Fun for the whole family! This year the parade will be held on October 31! Insider tip: wear a costume!

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There is so much going on around here, check our Events Calendar at galena.org for updated event information! Enter to win our Fall Escape Sweepstakes, get the details HERE!

10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County Series – #2

Douglas’s 10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

 We asked local innkeeper of the Aldrich Guest House, Douglas Mahan, to share what he loves about Jo Daviess County! 

Robert_Douglas

1. The people of Jo Daviess County РAs soon as my husband and I moved here we were instantly welcomed with opened arms. The sense of community is really unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else. Some of the most kind and genuine people you’ll ever meet call Jo Daviess County home.

2. Casper Bluff РThere is so much rich history in Jo Daviess county that revolves around the mid- 1800’s but to go even further back by thousands of years and see intact Native American burial grounds with some of the most incredible views of the Mississippi River is so incredible. One of my favorite spots for a sunset picnic.

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3. Pesto Salmon at Fried Green Tomatoes – Always at the top of my list of places to eat, they have so many great options on their menu, but i could eat this salmon every day!

4. The architecture – For as many hard hits the area has taken through floods and depressions it is truly amazing to see so much of the architecture is still intact, being used and preserved. A trip anywhere in the area is like being on a history tour.

5.  Views of Galena from the Grant House -  The statue of Julia Grant may remind me of Mrs. Buttersworth and always make me suddenly crave pancakes, but sitting up on the hill alongside her are some of the most gorgeous views of our charming city from East Galena.

6. Geology -  I have lived in the Midwest my entire life and until recently never dreamed our flat area of the world could have such fascinating terrain as The Driftless Area. Not only does it create some of the most scenic vistas it also maintained some natural life that the Ice Ages wiped out everywhere else.

7. Outdoor Activities in Nature – We have so many fun ways to experience nature in an active way. I love to be able to ride my bike down the Galena River trail in the warmer months and cross country ski along it when there is snow. Taking a stand up paddle board from Fever River Outfitters down the river might just be one of the most peaceful forms of exercise I have ever experienced and then downhill skiing at Chestnut Mountain where you zoom down the hills right to the Mississippi River is a thrill all its own.

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8. The Seasons РAlmost cliche to say of the Midwest, but Jo Daviess County really does get the best of all seasons and I can now say that as i have been here for all 4 of them now. I think the landscape has something to do with it though, all of our hills and valleys create a collage of nature’s best in any direction you look.

9. Hand-Crafted & Locally Made – There is so much talent in the area, artists of every kind. Some of my favorite are the artists of the food and beverage variety. Places like Kandy Kitchen where Chuckles were invented and they have been making rich and chocolatey Pecan Georgies for decades. Chocolaterie Stam makes the most refreshing and decadent flavors of homemade gelato around. Historic places like the Galena Brewery where they revived a brewery from years past and serve a little bit of history in every pint or new operations like Blaum Bros. Distillery where you can find some very unique and witty spirits.

10. Night of Luminaria РGalena’s most magical night of the year. To see this incredible city illuminated in paper luminaries is really just the most enchanting way to light the holiday spirit within.

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Douglas Mahan and his husband Robert are the innkeepers at the Aldrich Guest House in Galena, IL. They’ve given the historic home a fresh, updated look and have brought their years of upscale hospitality experience to their comfortable inn. The Aldrich Guest House dates back to 1845 and it has been a bed and breakfast since the mid 80‚Äôs. They are the 6th innkeepers, giving it a fresh new life to continue on another 170 years!

Stay tuned for more in our blog series and share your favorite things with us on Facebook!

 

5 Summer Adventures for Labor Day Weekend!

Galena & Jo Daviess County, IL has a summer adventure for everyone for Labor Day Weekend! Whether it’s a time for family to connect before the hectic school schedule really kicks in or it’s an end-of-the-summer getaway, book your trip today using this helpful guide!

 

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1. Chestnut Adventure Package – One fee per person (One Single Rider Soaring Eagle Ride, Unlimited Alpine Slide Rides and One Round Of Miniature Golf or Disc Golf) Spend the day outdoors with all of the adventure opportunities at Chestnut Mountain Resort. Dine on the patio at the Sunset Grille overlooking the Mississippi River and enjoy the amazing view! You can also bring your mountain bike and explore the trails surrounding the resort. Check in at the front desk for a map! (photo by Chestnut Mountain Resort)

 

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2. Explore the Galena River by canoe, kayak or paddle board! Visit Fever River Outfitters and choose your mode of transportation down the Galena River. Lessons are available and you can decide how long you’ll be renting the equipment. Head to Fritz and Frites Bistro for a nice ros√© and steamed mussels after a day on the river! (photo by madiknockel on Instagram)

 

 

 

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3. Scooter to the Vineyard – Ride a motor scooter from Fever River Outfitters on gorgeous remote country roads to the Galena Cellars Vineyard (approx 12 miles). Plan to relax on the wrap-around porch and enjoy the views! After you‚Äôve indulged in the essence of fine wine and the lush green countryside they’ll drive you back to town. Advanced reservations required. (photo by Eliot Vernon)

 

 

 

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4. Hot Air Balloon Ride – Get ready to lift off with Galena On The Fly! Drift above the rolling landscapes of Jo Daviess county and the historic Galena, Illinois countryside while taking in views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin from your 3,000-foot-high perch. The balloon holds up to 14 people so bring the family and your camera!

 

 

 

 

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5. Foot Golf at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa – East Course and Lacoma Golf Club – “FootGolf is a combination of soccer and golf; played with a regulation #5 soccer ball with 21-inch diameter cups. Turf (soccer) shoes are recommended when playing.” Learn more HERE – (photo by Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa)

 

 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to learn more Insider Tips about Galena and Jo Daviess County, IL! If you’re out on your adventure and need to reference our Insider’s Guide, find us on Flipboard!

10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County Series – #1

Molly’s Ten Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

We asked local mom, teacher and business owner, Molly McGovern-Mensendike to share what she loved about Jo Daviess County!

1. Hands down, we have the best views of hills and greenery with historic downtown architecture tucked into the hillsides. I need to stop myself sometimes to take it all in and not overlook it with my busy lifestyle. In my opinion, the best view in Jo Daviess County is scenic overlook, just outside Elizabeth. I don’t think I’ve ever driven by when there wasn’t someone stopping to take a picture.

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2. I teach at one of the best public schools in Illinois, River Ridge CUSD 210. Our teachers and staff care about our students and provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their careers and as citizens. The schools in Jo Daviess County are THE best in my opinion. The small-town feel with the highly educated teachers and staff makes for incomparable educational opportunities for our students in Jo Daviess County. Tootin’ my own horn here!

3. The interesting people of Jo Daviess County are friendly and unique. I’ve only known the townspeople to be friendly and wave as you go by, even when they don’t know your name. Take a cruise down a country road and you’ll see what I mean. AND, there are so many artists and musicians, too. I love to drive through downtown Galena and hear the music being played in the small park and see the artists working in their storefront windows.

4. The rural area provides the inhabitants and visitors an abundance of produce and baked goods at local farmers’ markets. A great example would be the produce crates that Groezinger Produce Farm provides upon request. The Elizabeth Farmer’s Market is on Friday night so you can pick up your needs as the weekend begins. I like to get my pumpkins and corn from Dittmar Farms at this one!

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5. Geocaching. This is an activity that all, young and old, can enjoy. Download the geocaching app, and watch the video of how it works. Then, wherever you are, you can geocache. I find it works well if I have been running a ton of errands and want to reward my patient kids with an activity! It takes a bit of navigation and some searching!

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6. You cannot comprehend the magnificence of Galena’s Halloween parade unless you have experienced it. My favorite part is the blowing of the hot air from the hot air balloon baskets driven through the parade. Oh, the warmth they bring…

7. Country Fair weekend in Galena that coincides with the Autumn Craft Fair in Elizabeth at River Ridge High School is my favorite of all the fall weekends. I have nostalgic memories of growing up in Galena and experiencing the caramel apples at the fair. The crisp apples and the crisp fall air are two things that bring comfort to my soul.

8. For a small town, Stockton’s 4th of July celebration is my favorite. The chicken that is grilled at the park is well worth the wait. There’s always a great band with afternoon music and a fabulous show of fireworks at dusk. This is my family’s go-to spot to celebrate Independence Day!

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9. Restaurants, restaurants, restaurants. I may be a little biased as I have a brother for a chef. I of course love his restaurant, Stella’s Café and Catering, with the ambiance of the historic building and the homemade soups and breads, the fresh salads and homemade dressings. Yum! My all-time favorite place for steaks (the only steak I ever eat without A1 sauce) and Bloody Marys is Galena’s Log Cabin Steakhouse. If you dine there, you MUST get the saganaki as an appetizer. Elizabeth’s Small Town Saloon is a great lunch destination for a burger and a beer. Their spicy ketchup is to-die-for. I mean, I crave this stuff like I were nine months pregnant.

10. The small towns in Jo Daviess County are full of activities and festivals. Galena’s Living Windows and the lighting of the luminaria really make Christmastime magical. All in all, I make it a point to try something new. For instance, this year, Elizabeth is hosting the Midwest Garlic Fest and I am dying to try it out!

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Molly McGovern-Mensendike was born in Galena, IL and currently resides in Elizabeth, IL with ties to all of the communities in Jo Daviess County. She opened Savvy Scavengers with her mom in November of 2006 in Galena. It’s a “boutique for the eclectic woman’s style offering clothing, shoes, purses, and jewelry.” They like to think of it as a place where both a mom and daughter can shop together. They’ve expanded their business to include another location in Stockton, IL and opened Stockton Floral & Gifts, along with Sweet Alice’s candy shop. In addition to these entrepreneurial pursuits Molly teaches high school English at River Ridge where her students “are forever engrained in her heart.”

Stay tuned for more favorites in our blog series!

 

Girlfriends’ Guide to Galena

It’s time for a getaway with the girls! Where can you meet that isn’t too far and has something for everyone? Galena and Jo Daviess County, IL can check most, if not all, of your boxes! Our lodging, dining, events and special excursions provide just the right fit for your weekend getaway with friends.

Kelsey Winkey

  • Request an Activity Guide to start planning and use galena.org as a more comprehensive tool. We’ve featured some highlights in all areas here to help you get started!
  • Do you mind driving or do you want to walk to everything? There are great lodging options within 15 minutes of Galena or some within walking distance of Galena’s Main St. Use our Where to Stay section to find the right fit.
  • Narrow down your lodging preferences. Do you takeover a Bed & Breakfast or rent a vacation home? Do you want a pool or is a fireplace high on the list? Our Activity Guide has a handy symbol guide to show which properties have the amenities you want!
  • See if one of our Packages will fit your getaway plan or call the property you have in mind and see if they have one for you.
  • If you have a party of six or more you may want to make reservations for dinner. Use our Where to Dine section to find a place that fits everyone’s taste buds.
  • There are great options for activities and excursions to make your trip unique…see a magic show, get your tarot cards read, tour a distillery, brewery and vineyard all in the same day! You could spend the weekend touring & tasting wine at four vineyards in our county, see your options HERE!
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  • Shop the many boutiques, galleries and gourmet shops! You’ll want to stock up on the popcorn and chocolates for those late night chats. Plan your adventure on our What to Do page!
  • Order up relaxation for you and your friends with SPAcha. Studio One‚Äôs mobile spa services & pure organics bring pampering to you!

Ladies Getaway Weekend is September 9-11, 2016! You can join the Pajama Party at Galena Brewing Co., play Quartermania at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. and take part in the Bloody Mary Contest at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape!

Get more ideas and share your getaway with us on Instagram! Follow us and tag @enjoygalenactry!

Immersed in The Arts in Jo Daviess County

Jo Daviess County has attracted artists of all mediums for years. It’s a place for inspiration and natural beauty. This summer promises to fulfill any art lover’s dream and bring cultural experiences with lasting memories. Keep track of all of the art festivals and performances on our Events Calendar when planning your trip, we’ve highlighted a few for you here!

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July 10 – 18: ‚ô™ Galena Festival of the Performing Arts (Galena, IL) See details about the artists performing at different venues in town including The Hunts, Tallymore, My Sweet Patootie and the Lincoln Trio! Click HERE for details!

July 11: ‚ô™ Wine Tasting & Concert with Truly Diva and Simply Jeorge at Fergaboudit Vineyard & Winery (Hanover, IL)
”Diva Montell, a Chicagoland classical singer, has a beautiful, outstanding voice. Her performance was one of the best I’ve ever heard.”  — Concert Venue Р5 Star Verified review Click HERE for details!

July 18-19: NW IL Art Fest (Stockton, IL) Stroll through the park with a beverage and take in the beautiful artwork from artists in the Midwest! (Pictured Stoned Art Studio) Click HERE for details!

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Now thru July 26: Wonder of Wood Exhibit at the Galena Center For The Arts (Galena, IL). Thursdays thru Sundays from 1-7pm.

August 6-8: Galena/Jo Daviess Quilt & Fiber Arts Show (Galena, IL) Thursday, August 6th enjoy dinner and the trunk show. Friday, August 7th join them for lunch, trunk show, vendor booths and the quilt show. Saturday will have vendor booths and the quilt show, all at the Galena Middle School. (Pictured) Click HERE for details!

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August 8-9: Market Square Art Festival by Hello Galena! Stroll through the booths of local artists one block off of Main St. in Galena.

August 8-9: Willow Folk Festival (Stockton, IL) Amateur and professional bluegrass country and spiritual singers with acoustic musicians perform from a hay wagon on a country church lawn. Home cooked food available. Located three miles east of Stockton then six miles south on Willow Rd. No dogs or alcohol allowed on church grounds. Click HERE for details!

There are plenty of options every weekend in Jo Daviess County…you can catch live music and performances at local bars and restaurants, make pottery with a local artist, assemble jewelry and tour artists’ studios throughout the county. We also have galleries and museums featuring artwork, sculpture and photography.

Use our Activity Guide or galena.org to find Where to Stay and your next cultural experience! Share your experiences with us on Instagram!

Celebrate the 4th of July in Jo Daviess County!

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photo by StocktonJuly4.com

Here’s your guide to navigating all of the fun for the 4th of July in all of the communities in Jo Daviess County!

Galena: Start your day with a workout at Galena’s Buckhill Run/Walk & Community Day or the Firecracker 5K at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa!

Don’t miss the Star Spangled Shenandoah Pro Rodeo July 3 & 4! Bring the family and a blanket and enjoy the fireworks set to music after the show. Western wear, food & drinks are available for purchase.

Enjoy the old-fashioned, all-American experience of Galena’s 21st Independence Day Celebration brought to you by the Kiwanis Club of Galena! Bring a bag for the kids to load up on candy at the parade, shop Main St. and then roll out the blanket and grab a seat on the levy for the fireworks over Grant Park.

You can also reserve a spot on the rooftop of the DeSoto House Hotel! Call for details, tickets sell fast!

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photo by THOnline (Star Spangled Shenandoah Pro Rodeo)

Stockton: Activities all day on July 4, including a 5/10K, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, tug-of-war competition, great food, live music & more! Head to Stockton Memorial Park for all the fun and pack the swim bag to cool off in their wonderful public pool between events!

East Dubuque: Start the celebration early on June 27 with fun games for the entire family including a screamer slide, climbing wall, cash & smash car, inflatable obstacle course, and more. Enjoy all your favorite fair food and snacks, live entertainment, all followed by an awesome fireworks display at dusk.

Hanover: The holiday celebration starts on July 3rd with Hanover Days! The VFW offers their traditional annual beef roast dinner. Then Main St. comes to life with activity as the celebration parade starts at 6 p.m. Try your skills with the canoe race down the Apple River for the Overall Prize in male, female and mixed divisions. There will also be awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. At dusk the fireworks light up the river in beautiful holiday tradition. Finish the evening at the VFW with live music by 2nd Generation Band.

Elizabeth: Living History at Apple River Fort on July 4! Join costumed interpreters as they recreate 1830s frontier life at the Apple River Settlement. Pioneer youngins’ games, patriotic crafts and refreshments.

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photo by Council Hill Station (Barn Dance w/Fever River String Band)

Scales Mound: Keep it casual at Council Hill Station  (pictured above)! Join The Fever River String Band  and the Blackberry Bushes Bluegrass Band on July 4th from 1-7pm for an afternoon of real country music in a unique rural General Store. Enjoy the surrounding area complete with a railway station, mill and wading pond.

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Find every event and activity on the Events Calendar! Where should you stay?
Check out all of our unique and diverse properties in Jo Daviess County on our Where to Stay Page!

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