Belvidere and Boone County are serious about their dedication to the arts. In June of 1997, Belvidere hosted the International Letterheads Meet and was treated to 10 historic wall murals located in the historic downtown sector. The Letterheads, an internationally renowned organization of artists dedicated to the art of sign-painting, made their mark on the community and transformed the downtown into a showplace for muralists and tourists alike. That year, Governor Jim Edgar designated Belvidere the "City of Murals" for the State of Illinois, and Belvidere was also awarded the Governors Community Award for the Arts by the Illinois Arts Council. In February of 1998, the mural project received the Governors Award from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism - considered to be the "Oscar" of the Illinois tourism industry. This series of awards brought national recognition to the community of Belvidere, and the process of creating more murals has continued, with several more having been added each year.
There are many additional artistic and entertainment offerings in the area. For those who enjoy the performing arts, the Main Street Players Theatre Group stages high-quality dramatic productions on a continual basis at the Boone County Community Building. Historic local attractions include the Boone County Historical Society Museum and the Petitt Memorial Chapel.
Favorite annual events include artistic celebrations such as the Blaine Folk Festival, the Strawberry Festival and the Belvidere Womens Club Art Show. The historic Baltic Mill - home to the Boone County Arts Council - offers a stage area for the popular "Concerts in the Park" program.
Along with local entertainment, Belvidere residents are just minutes away from neighboring communities that offer theater productions, nightclubs and other artistic events. Many take advantage of the cultural and entertainment options in nearby Rockford. The New American Theater in Rockford has been recognized nationally for its high quality theater productions. The Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College is the regions longest running outdoor summer theater facility. And being only an hour away from downtown Chicago, Belvidere residents have convenient access to the city's vast array of entertainment offerings.
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