Rockford's Festival of Lights is in full swing and you're going to love it, but there are a few important things to remember.

Before those two important tips, it would be rude to not commend and give kudos to the volunteers who put hundreds of personal time into the event. The 2020 edition is even greater than years past. It is absolutely beautiful.

Rockford's Festival of Lights has been around since the late '80s but my memory wants me to think it has been around my entire life. (I was born in '83.) One of the "fun facts" signs you will read upon entering the magical trail of lights and cheer, reads the inaugural year consisted of only 10 displays. After 30 years, there are 70 displays and 100,000 lights throughout Sinnissippi Park, but it feels like much more. I'm interested in learning how many lights solely cover the tunnel at the beginning of the route. If there is one thing I do know it is that you and your loved ones are going to enjoy the entire route.

If you have a hint of grinch inside you I will forewarn you to bring patience. There two "lines" that lead to the display off of Hwy 251. One line leads to the east (Ethel Ave.), the other breaks to the west-ish (Oakes Ave.). These lines lead to the entrance of Festival of Lights but these lines also connect to N. Prospect Street, which also has its own traffic for vehicles coming from the south. This is why there is a long line of vehicles. My kids and I were directed to Oakes Avenue and, from start to finish, the whole adventure took about an hour.

Tip #1Play nice.

Whether you approach Prospect from Ethel or Oakes, or have chosen the N. Prospect Street route, take turns at the stop signs on Prospect at Ethel and Oakes. There's no excuse or reason not to let a car in front of you, you're not going anywhere any time soon so don't be a scrooge. I witnessed a handful of cars that blatantly ran stop signs to make sure nobody got in front of them. Those drivers will probably get a lump of coal for Christmas, and rightfully so.

Once you travel N. Prospect to Arlington Avenue, you will swing a left which will lead to the Festival of Lights' entrance. This is where the next important time comes into play. This tip, by the way, is no secret. There are at least 3 signs indicating this tip.

Tip #2: Lights off.

Listen, there are multiple signs encouraging drivers to dim their headlights. This isn't an unsafe suggestion as the combination of the brake lights on the vehicle in front of you and the Christmas lights and decorations provide ample lighting. This is especially important if you're in a truck and your lights are upon a car's trunk. It takes away the beauty of the Christmas lights. Also, my vehicle has "automatic" lights too, and I figured out how to drive with them off.

Tip #3Leave a tip.

There is a display about three-quarters through the route which allows you to make a donation. Festival of Lights is provided and maintained through donations. Skip out on one trip to Starbucks and drop that amount before you proceed to the final set of displays, or donate HERE.


JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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