Whether you’re after fresh fruit, block parties, music, or festivals, Champaign-Urbana has something for you. To make it easy for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the best events Central Illinois has to offer this summer.
If you want ideas for where to go on your own time, check out our Guide to Summer: Top 5 Places.
Because there are so many music events over the summer, we’ll be posting a separate list of music events next week.
Urbana’s Market at the Square – Every Saturday, 7 a.m.-12
Urbana’s Market at the Square is one of the biggest farmers’ markets in Illinois and has been going on since 1979. If you’re in the market for food—and you are, because you’re a human, and you need to eat—this is the place to get it. Eggs, meat, produce, fruit, crafts, music. If it’s local, they’ve got it. And, it almost goes without saying, Urbana’s Market at the Square is the best place to ride your bike on a Saturday morning.
Champaign Farmers’ Market – Every Tuesday, 4-7 p.m.
Urbana isn’t the only city in Champaign-Urbana to have a Farmer’s Market. Run by the Land Connection, a local organization dedicated to providing area residents with quality, local foodstuffs, the Champaign Farmers’ Market happens every Tuesday afternoon, May through October, in downtown Champaign. Get some great food and meet some great people!
Homer Farmers’ Market – Every Wednesday, 5-7 p.m.
Monticello Farmer’s Market – Every Thursday, 3-6 p.m.
Running from June 16th – October 6th, the Monticello Farmer’s Market is not only a good opportunity to get locally-produced food, but also a great chance to enjoy Monticello, the picturesque county seat of Piatt County. Allerton is located just outside, so there’s no excuse to not get a short hike in as well.
Krannert Uncorked – Every Thursday, 5 p.m.
Krannert Uncorked is a mainstay event in Urbana. Each Thursday it gives residents—aged 21 and over of course!—the chance to try some wines provided by local retailers and hear some music with no fee for admission. And if you’ve never checked out the Krannert Center, it’s worth it just for the excuse to look around inside.
June 3 – Wild Edibles – Homer Lake Park
Learn about and taste some of Central Illinois’ wild edibles at Homer Lake Forest Preserve! The cost is just $5 and you’ll need to register by June 2nd.
June 4 – Homer Soda Fest
The Homer Soda Company is dedicated to sourcing and selling high-quality soda made by small companies all over the U.S. Held in Homer, IL, this festival not only celebrates interesting sodas, but also community. Go there to drink great soda, hear live bluegrass music, and get a taste of small-town Illinois life.
Neutral Cycle will be there until 3 p.m. providing free bike rentals. Come by and grab a bike so you can see all that the Homer Soda Festival has to offer!
June 11 – Follow the Farmstead
Ever been interested in seeing some of the local farms situated around C-U? Follow the Farmstead will give you that opportunity. This is a family-friendly event where you have a chance to see what life is like on small Illinois farms and to learn about what’s involved in producing the food you eat. Admission is free and it’s a great way to see parts of Central Illinois that you don’t typically see. Agriculture has long been the bedrock of Illinois. By learning a little about it, you can learn a lot about Illinois.
June 11 – Summer Kickoff
Start off your summer with a picnic and some art. Watch local artists paint murals on the skatepark while hanging out with your neighbors. This event is free and will be held at Spalding Park in Champaign.
June 18 – Kickapoo Rail Trail Duathlon
Construction of Phase 1 of the Kickapoo Rail Trail has begun, but there’s still a ways to go before the entire project is funded. The Duathlon is a running-cycling competition held in Kickapoo State Park to help raise money that will go towards the completion of the Kickapoo Rail Trail. Register online for the competitive race or for a more leisurely-paced race.
June 18 – Allerton Garden Tour
Allerton is a gem in Central Illinois. Where else do we have access to mansions AND pristine wilderness? In between the two are the gardens. Their garden tour gives you a chance to see their various gardens and learn about their history. The event runs from 10-11 a.m. and there is no fee for attendance, but donations are always appreciated. Prior registration is not required.
June 18 – Uncork Urbana 2016
Like wine? If so, then you’ll like Uncork Urbana. Dedicated to celebrating wines produced in Illinois, this is a chance to enjoy Downtown Urbana along with wine, food, and music. This event will be held from 1-9 p.m. at the corner of Race and Main. Admission is $15 in advance at $20 at the door.
June 23 – Neighborhood Summer Block Party, Garden Hills
What’s a summer without a block party? Thankfully Champaign has made sure to help organize a few of them! This block party will be held in Garden Hills. There will be games, live music, face painting, inflatables, and—of course—fun!
Lots is going on for the Fourth of July in C-U! In the morning there will be a 5k race. Registration costs $20 and can be done online. At 11 a.m. the parade will start. (And Neutral Cycle plans to be a part of this!) And in the evening fireworks will be launched from the State Farm Center.
July 10 – Allerton Mansion Public Tour
So you’ve seen the gardens and now you want to see the interior? On the 10th, the mansion is having an open house, with 45-60-minute tours beginning on the hour from 1-4 p.m. Attendance is $5. Space is limited to 20 people per tour, so be sure to register if you’re interested.
July 28 – Neighborhood Summer Block Party, Mayfair and Maywood Dr.
Another month, another block party. This one will be held at Mayfair and Maywood Drive, right next to Mayfair Park, an awesome park that we’ve written about before. Like the previous Block Party, this one will include live music, games, inflatables, and face painting.
July 30 – PechaKucha, Vol. 21
PechaKucha is a presentation format where each presenter has twenty slides and stays on each slide for twenty seconds. We were at the Vol. 20 presentation and had an amazing time hearing about so many thought-provoking projects and ideas. If you’re interested in presenting, they’re currently accepting submissions!
August 12-13 – Champaign-Urbana Days
Dedicated to celebrating Chambana, Champaign-Urbana Days will include food and entertainment for adults and kids alike, including a movie in the park. This event will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m at Douglass Park in Champaign.
August 13 – Urbana Free Library ComicCon
Not a lot of details out about it yet, but we’ll be playing a part in it by organizing a community bike ride!
August 19-20 – Taste of Champaign-Urbana
A classic event for Champaign-Urbana! Come sample food, listen to music, and hang out with friends in Champaign’s West Side Park. This event will run from 5-11 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Saturday. This year Tryptich Brewing and other local brewers will be at the event, giving you a chance to taste some locally-produced beer.
August 25 – Neighborhood Summer Block Party