Friday, June 17th

At Aroma Cafe on the outdoor patio, there is a slice of carrot cake dotted with nuts and frosted with white cream cheese frosting on a white circular plate. Behind the cake, there is a white paper to go coffee cup with a black plastic cover. Photo by Rafay Khan.

Savor some breakfast cake, Aroma Cafe, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., $3

You deserve a slice of cake, don't you? I say you do. This slice of carrot cake was part of Rafay's review of Aroma Cafe in Downtown Champaign. He liked the crunch of the nuts in the cake and loved the cream cheese frosting best. Spend your Friday morning on the patio before it's too hot or enjoy the indoor seating. (AB)

Enjoy dinner outdoors and hear some live music, Downtown Champaign, 6 p.m., free

Friday Night Live is finally back in full swing, with musicians playing all around Downtown Champaign. I always love finding a dinner spot outdoors in the shade, and chowing down while watching and listening to music. Is there really any better combo than food and music outdoors? (SW)

Scene from Station Theatre production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark showing a young Black woman on the edge of the couch while a white man and woman sit on the couch
Photo from the Station Theatre Facebook page.

Go see By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, The Station Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $10-$25 

Playwright Lynn Nottage's work has been making the rounds of our town. And this particular production promises to be well worth the wait. Until further notice, all attendees must be fully vaccinated (or show a negative COVID test within 72 hours) and wear a mask while in the Station Theatre space. Rated PG-13 for mild profanity and some mature content. Get tickets here. (DD)


Saturday, June 18th

A woman, man, and teenager are standing arm and arm. They are all dressed up in rainbow accessories. The woman is wearing a shirt that says Photo from Tuscola GSA Booster Club Facebook page.

Support Pride in Tuscola, Tuscola Community Building, all day, cost varies

Did you catch our article featuring the Tuscola GSA Booster Club? The group was started by the mom of a high school student who decided the school’s Gay Straight Alliance needed some adult to show up and support them. You can support them by participating in the Pound the Pavement for Pride Color 5K Run/Walk, attending the pancake breakfast after, or attending the Queens of the Corn Drag Show in the evening. If you want to stick around Tuscola for both, the Odd Market is happening throughout the day. Check out more than 20 makers that will be there sharing their work. Follow the links for info on each event. (JM)

Screenshot of a garden, viewed from a low vantage point, near the ground. Green leafy plants surround a small, temple-like sculpture. Screenshot from YouTube.Screenshot from YouTube.

Check out some fancy gardens, south and west sides of Champaign, south Urbana; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., $10/$12

The U of I Extension's Garden Walk is back after pandemic hiatus. You’ll see six private home gardens and two public ones. It’s perfect for inspiration for your own gardening hobby, or something nice to look at if you have zero interest in that sort of work. (I see you). Tickets are cheaper in advance, and kids under 12 are free. Additional details and a link to buy tickets are on the website. (JH)

Take advantage of a second record store day, Exile on Main Street, 11 a.m., free

Record Store Day got split into two days this year, with this June date being the second date. Exile is hosting a party with 10+ bands playing all day and into the evening. There will be even more exclusive record store day drops, so swing by, listen to some live music, and shop some rare vinyl. (SW)

Celebrate Juneteenth, multiple locations, times vary, free

The Champaign Park District and Champaign Public Library are hosting their annual Juneteenth celebration at Douglass Park from 12 to 3 p.m. The family friendly event will have arts and crafts, a bounce house, music and dance performances, and community vendors. This is the first year the celebration is back in person after two years of going virtual. Over in Urbana, HV Neighborhood Transformation will be kicking of their 40 Days of Peace and Community Building with a Juneteenth gathering at Crestview Park from 12 to 7 p.m. There will be food, music, activities for kids and adults, and live performances. (JM)

Sunday, June 19th

Owner of Neil St. Blues in Champaign Gayle Starks holds a platter of Southern cuisine in front of their award. She is smiling at the camera in the bar area of the Downtown Champaign restaurant. Photo from Neil St. Blues' Facebook page.Photo from Neil St. Blues' Facebook page.

Attend a Juneteenth brunch, Neil St. Blues, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $25

This Sunday, check out Neil St. Blues's Juneteenth buffet brunch. The celebratory meal will feature tasty Southern cuisine the restaurant is known for: fried chicken, waffles, fried catfish, hand-cut collard greens, mac 'n cheese, shrimp 'n grits, hashbrown casserole, Britt's rum bread puddin', and more will be available. The brunch is $25 a person, and there is an hour and a half table time to ensure all can enjoy. (AB)

See a matineé performance of Sister Act, Parkland's Miner Theatre, $12-$17

The annual Kathy Murphy Student Production offers both a chance to honor the late Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company founding member and to support the next generation of local theatre stars. This production of Sister Act guarantees some great music and some much needed feel-good feelings. Get ticket information here. (DD)

Photo of kakigoori, Japanese shaved ice, served in a white bowl. In the bowl appears to be matcha shaved ice, matcha ice cream, red bean paste, and tapioca balls. The bowl is on a table outside, with lush green bushes in the background. Photo courtesy of Japan House.Photo courtesy of Japan House.

Hear some music at Japan House, eat delicious shaved ice, Japan House, 4 to 6 p.m., free (but you can register)

Every third Sunday, Japan House hosts a Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) event. No, we don’t really have a forest, but you get the idea, right? This Sunday, listen to rawsugar (starting at 4:30 p.m.), and stop by the Matcha Cafe for some delicious treats (get there early for the largest selection). Additional details are available here. (JH)

Top photo from Champaign Park District Facebook page.

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All event information is accurate to the best of our abilities, but sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes event information, times, prices, etc., change after we look them up. Whenever possible, we've provided a link to the original event page; you should always double-check the source before you make any firm plans. Thanks for your understanding.