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Picture a city of 152,871 people where there are over 80 languages and dialects spoken in the homes; all of the major religions are represented: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu, and Bahai. The city boasts a world-class park district with an authentic Japanese garden; supports a cutting edge healthcare system that is connected to major national medical facilities and medical research universities. It has an educational system that includes a 4-year university plus satellites of other national and international colleges and universities attracting students from around the world; and a vibrantly expanding fine arts scene. This is Rockford, Illinois, located on the beautiful Rock River and 90 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois.

Rockford has attracted people from all over the world to make it their home and in spite of — or because of — an outward quietness and small town feel, appeals to diversity not often found in other cities of its size. The demographics of Rockford approximately include: White 65%; Black 20%; Hispanic or Latino 15%; Asian 2%; American Indian below 1%; and Others of two or more races 12%.

In Rockford, cultural celebrations of many ethnic groups are widely attended by those who may not be of that ethnicity, but the love of good food and a “let’s have fun” attitude brings community participation. Some of the more popular ethnic celebrations are: Festa Italiana, Polish Fest, Black Family Reunion, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year, and International celebrations at various churches and schools throughout the year. Each year seems to bring more ethnic groups willing to share their cultures and especially their foods. That also accounts for eating experiences that range from fast food drive thru to fine gourmet dining.
Families seeking a small town atmosphere with big city diversity and family-oriented amenities will feel at home in Rockford, Illinois.
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