COURTESY PHOTO Belvidere Republican
The 2023 Christmas at the Farm will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3-4, at Meyer’s Tails Up Farm, 5390 Irene Road, Belvidere. Look for antique and vintage items, along with handmade gifts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Rockford Rescue Mission.

Shoppers who are looking for antique and vintage items, as well as those who enjoy handmade treasures, may want to consider doing their Christmas shopping next weekend at Christmas at the Farm, Friday, Nov. 3, from 5-9 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Meyer’s Tails Up Farm, 5390 Irene Road in Belvidere. Admission is $7.

Gwen Meyer, who co-owns the facility with her husband Kent, explained that this is the business’s ninth year of hosting the shopping event, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Rockford Rescue Mission.

Meyer’sTails Up Farm

Meyer mentioned that Meyer’s Tails Up Farm has been in operation for three generations, offering services such as lodging, doggy daycare, grooming, training and aquatics.

“We are a pet care facility that’s been around for about 40 years,” she added.

Her husband, Kent Meyer, explained on the Meyer’s Tails Up website: “We were newlyweds and Gwen had her teaching job. We had bought our first house when I knew I was ready to own my first pet care facility.”

“We started out together owning Meyer’s in 1996. It was just us and three other staff and the day after our first anniversary we purchased our Wisconsin facility Meyer’s Animal House from our dear friends,” he continued. “What’s one more. We were young and really loved what we were born to do.”

Eventually, the business moved to its Belvidere location, and according to Kent, “What began as five on a farm is now forty-five and counting in two states with three locations.

“We love what we do, really love it. Doing work that matters. More dreams to come is exciting. The work is hard, the ride has had its ups and downs, and we couldn’t be happier to sit where we sit helping pet owners being the hero in their dog’s life.”

Christmas at the Farm

Meyer said that “Christmas at the Farm is a juried show, so the vendors are hand-picked.”

She estimated there will be roughly 40 vendors, about half of whom will be offering antique and vintage items.

Meyer commented as an aside that “I have a deep love of vintage items and antiques. My grandparents were antique dealers.”

She said the other half will be selling handmade goods, such as candles, soaps and other treasures.

“A lot of them [vendors] have been getting ready all year,” Meyer related.

There will also be food treats, hot drinks, specialty cocktails, live music and more.

Christmas at the Farm is “a place to put their heart and soul into their small businesses,” Meyer emphasized.

Rockford Rescue Mission

Rockford Rescue Mission, 715 W. State St., Rockford, “offers Christ-centered care to people struggling with challenges like homelessness, poverty, abuse and addiction,” according to its website.

Its mission “shares hope and help in Jesus’ name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness.”

In 1963, Ray Stewart, a recovered alcoholic, came from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago to establish a similar mission in Rockford. By 1969, 40 to 50 churches were supporting Rockford Rescue Mission.

Today, the mission has provided 54,052 nights of lodging (shelter); 142,617 meals (an average of 391 daily); has distributed 235,251 food, hygiene and other items; and has provided 8,430 case management sessions.

Ted Tomita, Rockford Rescue Mission’s chief development officer, said the agency has “kind of a partnership” with Meyer’s business, in that roughly a handful of men from the Life Recovery Program volunteer each of the event’s two days to help with parking.

“In return, they give us some of the proceeds,” he continued, adding that those funds will help support the mission’s services, such as providing shelter for an average of up to 150 men, women and children per night.

Caring in action

Meyer said she chose the Rockford Rescue Mission because the non-profit organization “does amazing work in Rockford. They are there to help individuals in the greater Rockford area.”

In a news release, she reiterated: “But of course, Christmas at the Farm is so much more than a fun weekend of Christmas shopping … you can get your Christmas shopping done early and help support a great cause.”

For more information, contact Meyer at 815-623-9999, or visit or on Facebook at Christmasatthefarm.

For more information about the Rockford Rescue Mission, visit

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