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Winnebago County Culture and Entertainment

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Residents in Winnebago County enjoy a vibrant and diverse selection of entertainment and cultural outlets The Coronado “atmospheric” theater is home to the Rockford Symphony, the Community Concert Series, Broadway Shows and Rockford Dance Company productions. Theater-lovers can choose from local productions mounted by the Artists Ensemble and the Pec Playhouse in Pecatonica, while the Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theater at Rock Valley College offers theater under the stars all summer long.

The Metro Center (a 10,000-seat indoor arena) hosts sporting events, trade shows and concerts by internationally renowned performers. The IceHogs (affiliates of the Chicago Blackhawks) hit the ice there as well.

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Rockford Art Museum is Illinois’ second largest art museum (after the Art Institute of Chicago). With more than 1,299 works of art, the museum is noted for its permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art, plus dynamic and changing exhibits that feature regional, national and international artists.

Burpee Museum of Natural History certainly created a stir among paleontologists by unearthing a rare new dinosaur (named “Jane”), a one-of-a-kind member of the 66 million year old T-Rex family. Child Magazine rated Discovery Center Museum as one of the top four children’s museums in America. Complete with hands-on art and science exhibits, the Discovery Center gives children and families the chance to explore the principles of science in a fun environment.

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Outdoor art shows and a variety of festivals make summer fun in Winnebago County. Residents and visitors come together year round in celebration of season holidays, ethnic festival and events and historical happenings. Visit rrstar.com (calendar), info@gorockford.com or visitnorthernillinois.com for current and upcoming events.

A new attraction in the works is a restaurant, hotel and conference center, guitar museum, music education center and entertainment venue being developed by Cheap Trickster Rick Nielsen. The restaurant and entertainment complex (Rick’s Place) will capitalize on Nielsen’s guitars, his guitar prowess, showmanship and worldwide fame. The restaurant will showcase a revolving museum of music memorabilia, including some of Nielsen’s 400-plus guitar collection and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos’ drum sets. Cheap Trick paid tribute to its local roots by naming its 2006 album “Rockford.”

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