SMTD Offers Free Shuttle Service at 3rd Annual Pelican Fest

The 3rd annual Rockton Pelican Fest is a free family-oriented event that celebrates the annual return of the American white pelicans and other migratory birds to the Rock River, giving the public a chance to learn about their migration as they stop in northern Illinois during their spring migration north or west.

The event will be held Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in downtown Rockton and at nearby Nygren Wetland Preserve.

Throughout the festival, Stateline Mass Transit District (SMTD) will be providing free shuttle bus service for the 2.3 mile distance between downtown Rockton and the Nygren Wetland Preserve Wildlife Overlook, 3714 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton. Shuttle pickup will be at Main and Prairie Streets in downtown Rockton.

Visitors to Nygren Wetland will be greeted by an experienced volunteer who can talk about birds and other wildlife. Free guided walking tours will be offered. Formally named the Jack Cook Pavilion, the Wildlife Overlook has a telescope, but bring your binoculars if you have them. That’s where the Dianne Nora Nature Trail begins. For early birds who want to see the early birds, Sinnissippi Audubon Society has scheduled an Early Bird Walk for 7:30 a.m. at the Wildlife Overlook.

In downtown Rockton, families and individuals can celebrate Pelican Fest by spending time together exploring local shops, restaurants, and outdoor vendor booths. Besides participating in activities and learning more about birds and other wildlife, visitors will find pelican-themed specials at local shops and restaurants.