Friday, September 9th

Celebrate a new season, Krannert Center, 5:30 p.m., free

One of C-U's most cherished institutons is back this Friday. Krannert Center kicks off its new season with a party, with musical guests Mariachi Herencia De Mexico, Gracie and Rachel, Cotton Candy Theremin, and The Soul Rebels. The event is in the lobby, and totally free — unless you're getting some wine. That will cost you, unfortunately. (SW)

A jazz trio: a drummer, upright bass player, and xylophone player are playing music in front of an abstract statue. Prairie grasses are behind them, and the sun is setting. Photo from Urbana Park District Facebook page.Photo from Urbana Park District Facebook page.

Experience art, music, and nature at the Jazz Walk, Meadowbrook Park, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., free

There's nothing better than a stroll through Meadowbrook Park, and it's even better when you have talented musicians providing live jazz as you go. This is the 25th anniversary of the Wandell Sculpture Garden, and you will find new pieces as you walk along the path. Check out the Facebook event page to see who will be providing the music. The event is free, but you can always offer a donation to the musicians. (JM)

Ride your bike under the moonlight to Sidney Dairy Barn, Meadowbrook Park, 6:30 p.m., free, plus cost of ice cream

Prairie Cycle Club is hosting another one of these moonlight bike rides for ice cream. Meet in the Meadowbrook Park Race St parking lot, and ride on country backroads to Sidney Dairy Barn. It’s a family friendly event, so bring everyone. Make sure you’re wearing a helmet. Additional details available on the Facebook event page. (JH)


Saturday, September 10th

Black and white actors sitting in a semi circle on the Station Theatre stage.
Photo from the Station Theatre Facebook page.

Audition for upcoming productions, Station Theatre, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free

Cross "participate in community theatre off your bucket list" by auditioning for one or both of these promising productions: The Thanksgiving Play and Homegrown: An Insurrection Play. Written by Larissa FastHorse, The Thanksgiving Play explores how good intentions collide with absurd cultural assumptions. Homegrown: An Insurrection Play, written by Nicole Anderson Cobb, explores the lasting impact of January 6th from the POV of a church community. Get more info on roles, sides, and audition registration here. (DD)

Photo of Black painter working at a standing easel holding a brush dressed in a tan coat, red scarf and brown tweed cap, with a Black woman facing him with her hand on the back of
Photo from the Champaign-Urbana Black and African Arts Festival Facebook page.

Stop by the C-U Black and African Arts Festival, Lincoln Square Mall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free admission

The Chamapaign-Urbana Black and African Arts Festival is first on the list in my recent article about arts experiences to enjoy in upcoming fall festivals. There are opportunities to check out several dance and step groups, groove to live music, and support Black-owned businesses and artists. (DD)

Celebrate broomcorn, Arcola Broomcorn Festival, Downtown Arcola, free admission but bring money for vendors and such

Arcola is the Broomcorn Capital of the World, and every September they celebrate this fact with a three day festival. You'll find food, music, vendors, and activities throughout the weekend, but the big parade happens at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Get all of the details, including a festival schedule, parade map, and more at the Arcola Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. (JM)

A bottle of chilled Sayuri pink sake sits on a tablemat beside a white sake cup. The author's husband is across the table and just his shirt and arm are visible behind his white cup of sake. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Sip Sayuri sake, Sakura, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., $10

There are only two sake options at Sakura Japanese Urban Bistro: chilled or hot, and this chilled sake was delicious. Floral and smooth, this pink sake pairs well with the Urbana roll and the chicken katsu, my two favorite dishes at the chic Downtown Urbana restaurant. (AB)

Hear some gorgeous piano playing, Krannert Center, 5:30 p.m., free

I only discovered Chad Lawson this week after seeing him on the Krannert schedule for Saturday. After listening to one song of his, I instantly became a fan. With roots in classical, he aims to create "classical music for the Spotify generation." With his trio made up of himself, violinist Judy Kang (Lady Gaga, Ryuichi Sakamoto), and cellist Seth Parker Woods (Sting, Peter Gabriel). (SW)

Sunday, September 11th

A slice of French toast from Sam's Cafe sits on white plate with a dusting of powdered sugar. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Eat French toast for breakfast, Sam’s Cafe, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., $4.50

You know you want that French toast from Sam’s Cafe in Downtown Champaign. I wrote about it in my list of foods to eat this month. It is delicious every time, and it is a breakfast worth getting out of the house for. The diner is cash only, so be prepared. (AB)

A small, bright yellow bird with black markings, a prairie warbler, is perched on a tree branch without leaves. Photo by Jeff Bryant from the Champaign County Audubon Society Facebook page.Photo by Jeff Bryant from the Champaign County Audubon Society Facebook page.

Go on a bird walk, Anita Purves Nature Center, 7:30 to 9 a.m, free

An early morning bird walk in Busey Woods or Crystal Lake Park, in the late summer? Sounds lovely. Bring some binoculars, and I recommend downloading the Merlin Bird ID app for extra support if you are new to birdwatching. Organized and led by folks with the Champaign County Audubon Society. (JH)

Top photo from Arcola Chamber of Commerce 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.