Rockford, Illinois: Home of the Sock MonkeyBirthplace of the famous Nelson Red Heel sock. Has a sock monkey sort-of museum, six-foot-tall fiberglass sock monkeys scattered around town, and an annual Sock Monkey Madness Festival in early March.
Midway Village and Museum Center
- 6799 Guilford Rd, Rockford, IL
- Midway Village and Museum Center. On Guilford Rd just west of Perryville Rd and north of US Hwy 20/State St.
- Summer T-Su 10:30 am - 4 pm; fewer days and hours off-season (Call to verify)
- Adults $5, Under 17 $3.
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About Home of the Sock Monkey
This museum is great! Not only sock monkeys, but the All American Women's Baseball League Rockford Peaches and the first American female aviator and tons more! You could easily spend an entire day.[M*A*C, 08/10/2012]
Museum and center is closed on Mondays! If you just want to buy a sock monkey, you don't pay admission.[Brooke, 11/23/2010]
Sock Monkey Madness Festival
The Sock Monkey Madness Festival in Rockford, IL is the place for stocking simians to meet and celebrate!
We went to the weekend-long festival in March this year and were very amused. It is hosted by the Midway Village & Museum Center (home of the sock monkey patent) and features vendors, crafts, make-your-own-monkeys, activities, a lecture on sock monkey history, a film festival, and the Miss Sockford Pageant. It was highly attended and everyone really was in the spirit.
The highlights were the Sock Monkey Lecture, where we navigated the complex and intriguing history of the cuddly toy (people sued for the patent rights); the Film Festival where everyone was encouraged to submit films featuring sock monkeys; and the Miss Sockford Pageant, a beauty contest where kids and adults set their monkeys forth to present their beauty, congeniality, and talents. This year's adult winner was a rapping Scarlet O'Hara sock monkey.[Katy Spindler, 05/11/2009]
Assortment of 6-foot Sock Monkeys throughout the area honoring Rockford, IL as the birthplace of the iconic apes.[John R. Connell, 04/14/2008]
"Home of the Sock Monkey" Exhibition
The Midway Village & Museum Center is a hodgepodge of attractions ranging from a dollhouse museum to an aviation exhibit. An offbeat exhibit at the Village is: "The Missing Link: Socks, Monkeys and Rockford's Industrial Past."
According to the Village's website: "The first part of the exhibit looks at the invention of the seamless sock knitting machine and the hosiery industry that was once an important Rockford industry. The famous Nelson Red Heel sock was made right here in Rockford and is the sock used to make the world famous monkey doll. The second part of the exhibit investigates the history of the monkey doll and its place in our culture. This exhibit houses a diverse and unique collection of sock monkeys including Nelson, our seven foot sock monkey. See the sock monkey used in the patent litigation that won Rockford its 'Home of the Sock Monkey' title."[John T. Collier, 02/05/2007]
May 2009: Photo added.