Doesn’t August just smack us over the head every year? We live in a community that is very bound by an academic schedule, so many of us are having big feelings about this month. Perhaps you are a student, a teacher, or a professor. Perhaps you have children or a significant other who is one of those things. The full summer months of June and July are gone. August will very soon bleed into “fall semester”. Even though the fall weather will only appear for about two weeks in October, at the end of this month we will be experiencing fall on a societal level. The slow pace of summer and time for travel will give way to more rigid schedules and busyness. 

Maybe you look forward to this change of pace. Maybe you dread it. Either way, there is still time to squeeze a bit more out of summer in terms of experiences, and I have some suggestions on what you could be doing this month.

Photo by Julie McClure.

Hit the pool 

Back in May, as we looked ahead to a summer full of activities in C-U, this was the first thing on our minds. Of course it was! In this four season Illinois climate, it’s imperative to take advantage of outdoor water activities while we can. Have you found your way to Sholem or Crystal Lake yet? Grab yourself a punch card for one or both of them, and spend some time floating. You can get a five punch card from $40 at Sholem, and $35 at Crystal Lake (it’s a bit more if you are not a resident). You can be a resident of either Champaign or Urbana to get the lower price at either spot. My favorite time to go is late afternoon/early evening, when the day camps have gone and the crowds have thinned. And as a bonus, you’re avoiding the worst of the UV rays. Be sure to follow the links above to find the hours before you go. They will shift once local schools start mid-August. 

Photo by Tom Ackerman.

Participate in Dump and Run

The University YMCA’s gigantic garage sale is happening August 20-21, and there are numerous ways you can be a part of this reusing and recycling event that also funds the programming at the Y. Beginning August 1st, you can start bringing your gently used, unwanted items to the U of I Stock Pavilion for donation. No time like the present to clean out your space! If you want to get more involved, they need lots of volunteers to make it all happen. You can sign up here. Then, stop by for the sale to replace your unwanted items with new treasures. You never know what you’ll find there…read Tom Ackerman’s column from last year to get an idea. 

Photo from Champaign Center Partnership Facebook page.

Hang out in Campustown

There are just three more Thursdays in the 13 Thursdays of summer, a Champaign Center Partnership initiative that encourages us townfolk to take advantage of all that Campustown has to offer while the majority of students are away. There are some great deals  especially on food and beverages — at participating businesses. Spend some time on relaxing on the Quad, maybe do a little bowling at the Illini Union rec center, then head back in the evening for a movie

Photo from Dark History and Horror Con Facebook page.

Dig into some dark history and horror, and also see some 90s icons

True crime and horror enthusiasts will descend upon C-U on August 19th and 20th, for the 2022 Dark History and Horror Convention. This annual event features authors, podcasters, actors, and experts in all things dark and scary, as well as a horror film fest. This year there will be a few celebrities in attendance who have all appeared in at least one horror film, as well as some iconic movies from the 90s. Edward Furlong of Terminator 2: Judgment Day will be there, as well as twin actors Jeremy and Jason London. Jeremy appeared in Kevin Smith's Mallrats, and the teen drama Party of Five. Jason was Reese Witherspoon's crush in Man in the Moon and Randall "Pink" Floyd in Dazed and Confused. I was thrilled to learn that there would be special screenings of Mallrats and Dazed and Confused, with their respective stars on hand for a Q&A. Find all you need to know about the convention, and purchase tickets, at the event’s website.

Top photo from Illini Union Facebook page.