ROCKFORD – Christmas is only three days away, but not everyone has done all of their shopping.
Fortunately, several local businesses have a range of Rockford-inspired gifts available for a quick purchase. Some of these items are unique to Forest City, and some represent Rockford’s place in history or pop culture.
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Here are some last minute gift ideas for your favorite Rockfordian.
The 815 is a large area code that includes DeKalb, Crystal Lake, and Woodstock, but Rockford is the flagship when it comes to branded clothing. 815 T-shirts, hats, hoodies, jackets, and even baby clothes are available at several local stores, but the biggest selection can be found at Rockford Art Deli, 402 E. State St., downtown.
Few things say Merry Christmas like the booty honoring Rockford’s favorite rock’n’rollers. While the group’s merchandise can be found in their official store, Rockford’s Culture Shock, 2239 Charles St., always has a selection of Cheap Trick clothing, vinyls, CDs and other new releases featuring Rick Nielsen’s signature black and white checkerboard.
Rockford is in a league of their own when it comes to the Peaches. The team was big business in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and became even more entrenched in the history of the sport in 1992 when Tom Hanks declared that there is “no crying in baseball”.
There might not be any crying, but there is plenty of Peaches gear for everyone. Shop for the famous clothing, stickers, jerseys and more at places like Culture Shock, Rockford Art Deli, and Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Rockford Store, 102 N. Main St.
The holiday season is very popular for the unofficial Rockford mascot. Sock Monkeys have been flying the shelves of local retailers ever since the former Nelson Knitting Company first mass produced them in the 1950s at their South Main Street factory.
Today, the sock monkey is the face of the “Made in Rockford” movement, making anything that bears its image the perfect Christmas stocking and gifts.
Sock monkey dolls are usually stocked at local stores, but stocks may be limited. Your best bet to get one before Christmas is to visit the Midway Village Museum gift shop, where a team is handcrafting them to meet holiday demand. Midway Village is at 6799 Guilford Road.
Mrs. Fisher’s Chips and Popcorn
If you’ve ever had crisps in Rockford, chances are you’ve tasted Mrs Fisher’s. They’re in every store in the area, so getting your hands on a bag isn’t very difficult. But if you’re looking to shop for someone who likes a mouthwatering snack, the company sells holiday gift boxes filled with chips and specialty popcorn at their retail store at 1231 Fulton Ave. The store also carries Ms. Fisher’s clothing.
The Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford has partnered with City Tins this year to help locals shop for foodies on their shopping list. Each enticing Rockford City box contains $ 5 and $ 10 coupons for 19 local restaurants – valued at $ 210.
The boxes cost $ 30 and are available at the Roxy Carmichael store, 310 N. Alpine Road, and Porch, 3065 N. Perryville Road. Members of the Golden Apple Foundation also sell them.
Participating restaurants include Alchemy at Aldeen, Alvarez Restaurant, Baci’s Kitchen, Backyard Grill, Fiesta Cancun, Fozzy’s, Franchesco’s Ristorante, Greenfire, House of India, Jax Pub, Joe’s Casa Di Amici, Josef Barbados, Oscar’s Pub & Grill, The Pomodoro, RBI’s, Rascals, Rock-Pho’d, Sam’s Ristorante and Sisters Thai Café.
Ole Salty Chips and Popcorn
Another staple on Rockford’s snack menu, Ole Salty’s pot-baked crisps can make perfect Christmas gifts. Ole Salty’s outlet at 1920 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, offers classic gift baskets that include specialty chips and popcorn, 3-pound buckets of chips, and its popular Dry Rub seasoning.