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Get to Galena: July Edition

It’s summertime in the Midwest and you know what that means: Fourth of July parties, county fairs, festivals, and lots of family friendly activities. Galena, IL and the surrounding areas are the perfect places to enjoy your July in a way that will bring you genuine memories and laughs with family, friends and neighbors. Between the smell of fireworks on the Fourth and delicious, fried food, the neck of the  Midwest is sure to help you experience the summer we all know and love.


Cowboy watches fireworks
Fireworks from the Shenandoah Pro Rodeo and Fireworks. Courtesy of

With Independence Day being a paid holiday for many employees, people have the chance to get out and celebrate all day long with nothing to worry about. If you’re looking to celebrate in the heartland of the U.S.A., Illinois has the perfect offer for you.

July 1 | Elizabeth Freedom Fest

New this year, Elizabeth, IL is offering a free event to be held in Terrapin Park starting at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 1st. Come to the Elizabeth Freedom Fest dressed to show your patriotism! There will be awards for the most patriotic outfits. Enjoy live music by Ten Gallon Hat and tasty food and drinks, while the kids have their faces painted and enjoy endless fun in the bounce houses. The highlight of the event happens at 7 p.m. when the U. S. Army Golden Knights parachute jump right into Terrapin Park. The night ends with a spectacular firework display!

July 3 | Hanover Days

Hanover, IL is celebrating a day early with the VFW’s traditional annual beef roast dinner starting at 4:30 p.m. on July 3rd. Main Street comes to life during Hanover Days with activity as food carts open at 5 p.m. and the parade starts at 6 p.m. Try your skills with the canoe race down the Apple River! Fireworks will light up the river at dusk with live music occurring in The Hanover Tap.

July 4 | 4th of July Celebration

Stockton, IL has plans to celebrate the U.S.A. for an entire day. Celebrating from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Stockton Memorial Park will be bustling with people prideful of their country, just like you. The annual 4th of July Celebration is the largest and longest running event of its kind in the area, making it a destination for travelers from surrounding areas.  There will be activities for all ages like a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, bounce houses, BINGO, live entertainment, a kiddie tractor pull, and a kid’s science stage show. The all-day celebration will also host over 70 venders, including the Lion’s Club who will be cooking a chicken dinner starting at 11 a.m. Following the sunset, there will be an amazing firework display to end your night with a bang.

July 4 | Fourth at the Fort

Does your family prefer to begin Independence Day learning about how this country gained its freedom? If you do, Apple River Fort in Elizabeth, IL has a great early afternoon celebration for you. Fourth at the Fort will let you experience games that were played and dancing to music for that time period, as well as historical speeches, toasts, and petitions performed for your viewing. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on your Thursday off, bring a blanket and pack a picnic for your family to enjoy this historical party. The Apple River Fort will provide election cake for dessert, as well as water and lemonade.

July 4 | 23rd Annual Galena Independence Day Celebration

If you decide to go to the Fourth at the Fort during the day, make sure you stop by Galena, IL’s 23rd Annual Independence Celebration. From 3 p.m. until 10 p.m., this celebration on Main Street is perfect for anyone who’s looking for a night of fun. There will be the annual parade starting at 6 p.m. that features local businesses, floats, bands, and local marchers. Following the parade, there will be live entertainment, food, and beverages at Green State Park in Galena, where you will be able to see the fireworks at dusk.

July 5-6 | Shenandoah Pro Rodeo and Fireworks

If you miss the fireworks on July 4 or if you want to see as many celebratory fireworks as possible, you can head to Galena’s Shenandoah Riding Center for their Pro Rodeo and Fireworks event on both July 5th and 6th. Professional cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation will participate in two and a half hour events on Friday and Saturday. There will be bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bull riding and barrel racing. The gates open at 6 p.m. with a free preshow for guests and the rodeo will begin at 7:30 p.m. each night and lasts until 10 p.m. when the fireworks begin. Tickets for the event can be purchased ahead of time for $15/adult and $10/children at Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly and Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa or they can be purchased the day of the event for $5 extra.


Guests at a Fair
The NW IL Art and Jazz Fest in 2016. Courtesy of

The smells of funnel cakes, caramel corn, cotton candy, and livestock all intermingle to create the well-known smell of a fair. Taking a stroll through the crowds at the local fairgrounds is a staple to Midwest summer living, no matter what.

July 19-21 | Elizabeth’s 99th Community Fair

If you’re looking for a small-town fair, look no farther than Elizabeth, IL. From July 19-21, Elizabeth will be taken over by their 99th Annual Community Fair. This regional tradition includes livestock shows, tractor pulls, BBQ competitions, antique equipment, music, a beer tent, and so much more. There is also a pageant competition where a Miss Elizabeth Queen, Junior Miss, and Little Miss Pageant. From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. the whole weekend, come out and participate in the fun events while treating yourself to the atmosphere that can only be found at summer fairs in the Midwest.

July 20-21 | NW IL Art and Jazz Fest

Stockton, IL will be hosting a two-day jazz and art festival for the region to enjoy. The festival will be located in Stockton’s Memorial Park July 20-21, beginning at 10 a.m., with live jazz music at 11 a.m. each day. It’s hosted by local breweries and wineries: Massbach Ridge Winery, The Galena Brewing Company, Pectonica Beer Company, and Fergedaboudit Winery. The event will have options to taste all the beverages offered by these local businesses for $1 per sample. These same vendors will also offer full-sized drinks for an additional fee, while other local vendors will be selling food for festival goers. There will also be an array of local artists selling their work at booths throughout the event.