March. A month that we enter with so much hope that we will finally be shaking off the vestiges of winter. It’s Illinois, so things don’t always quite work out that way, but it is certainly a reminder that Spring is indeed on it’s way. March is also the month of primaries, basketball (even for Illinois this time!), pretending like we’re Irish for a day (either officially or unofficially, depending on your demographic), and of course Women’s History Month. I won’t be speaking to the latter here, because we published an entire article dedicated to just that earlier this week.


Get thee outside

Even though there will surely be a snowstorm in mid-April, it’s the time of year when we’re just bursting to get out of the house to get some fresh air. Thankfully, the community provides such opportunities for us.

A farm staff person is crouched down in a barn surrounded by mother goats. There is a speech bubble drawn next to one that says Image from Facebook event page.

Dote on the Does, Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, March 8th and 22nd, 12 to 4 p.m.

Prairie Fruits Farm is a local gem. We said as much in our Best Culture of the Decade article a few months back. What makes this agri-tourism destination so damn delightful, well one of the things, is of course the goats. For a few years now they’ve hosted Babies and Breakfast events, where you get to go "ooo" and "ahh" at the new baby goats while also enjoying some tasty treats and hot beverages. This year they’re putting the focus on the mamas.

On two Sundays in March you can go “Dote on the Does” at the farm. Meet the mama goats that will be having some cute baby goats this spring. You can chat it up with PFF staff and learn about the life cycles happening on the farm. The store will have beer, wine, soda, goat’s milk hot chocolate, and coffee on hand (fingers crossed for the option to add a scoop of gelato to the coffee). 

Connect to Nature Hikes, various Urbana parks, Wednesdays in March and April, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

As I drive through town in the winter I often look longingly at the parks and trails and such that I pass. As the weather slowly starts to creep into a mild temperature range, I’m anxious to get out and stretch my legs a bit. Beginning this week, the Urbana Park District is offering “Connect to Nature” hikes on Wednesday evenings throughout March and April. Not only do you get to enjoy some of the park trails in the community, you get to do a little learning as well. Natural Areas Coordinator Matt Balk leads the two hour hikes, and shares information about restoration and how to identify native and invasive plants. Be prepared to go off trail and get dirty. Follow the link to see where to go each week and to RSVP.  

Check out the scientific and the spiritual

Whether you are someone who is drawn to the exact and precise and provable or the fuzzy and ethereal and otherworldly, March has something for you.

A person dressed as Darth Vadar holding two red glowing light sabers is standing between two large metal coils. There are electric currents coming out of each coil and reaching to the ends of the light sabers. Photo by Sam Logan.Photo by Sam Logan.

Engineering Open House, University of Illinois Engineering Campus, March 27th and 28th, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (see website for special event times)

This is an amazing annual event that continually reminds me just how much brain power is amassed in all of those buildings on the engineering campus. That’s not to say that there is not brain power throughout the entire university, but I’m always struck by the research and innovation happening in the College of Engineering; mostly because it is so far outside of the way my brain operates. 

This year is the 100th anniversary of the student-led event, which showcases the wide ranging talents of students in engineering programs. This event is massive. There are demonstrations and exhibits in dozens of buildings and, weather permitting, outside as well. The tesla coil demo is always a crowd pleaser and shouldn’t be missed. Also, the entire thing is free and family friendly. If you want to avoid the throngs of field trip students, plan on going Saturday morning for general milling about purposes. For specific events, check out the schedule here.

Allerton Séance, Allerton Mansion, March 18th, 6 to 10 p.m.

If you’re looking to get in tune with the world beyond, you should try the Allerton Séance on March 18th from 6 to 10 p.m.. I find this very intriguing. From the website: “This immersive experience will use the art of spirit communication and audience participation to provide a fulfilling and positive spiritual experience.” A medium will be there to give individual readings for $10, then there will be a buffet with a cash bar followed by a two hour group seance. It seems like the Allerton Mansion is a pretty sweet setting for such an event, and I imagine it will be quite the experience whether you buy into the spirit world connection thing or not. Reserve your spot now before the event fills up.

Vote and then celebrate the Irish

A row of political campaign signs are sticking into the ground along a sidewalk. They are for Ruth Wyman, Emily Rodriguez, Connie Dillard-Myers, Jennifer Straub, Mary King, Giraldo Rosales. There is a one story brick building in the background. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

March 17th is a big day in Illinois. It is St. Patrick’s Day of course, but more importantly it’s Illinois primary day. It’s quite possible that you have already voted, or will vote, prior to this day because it’s annoyingly over spring break for most (if not all?) educational institutions in C-U. If that’s the case, just kick back and crack open that Guinness with the reassurance that you have done your part as a citizen, for now. If you haven’t voted by that date, of course that will be the first thing on your to do list before you settle in for some corned beef and cabbage and maybe a shot (or four) of Jameson. We may need it as we watch the primary results roll in. Get all of the important information here.

I know this is the Culture section, but I can’t discuss St. Patrick’s Day without giving you some food and drink options. Everyday Kitchen has a special St. Patrick’s Day food and drink menu featuring corned beef sliders and a long list of featured Irish whiskeys. 

If you’re looking to celebrate with others in the community, head over to the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Downtown Urbana from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. You can enjoy some tasty food from Piato Café and beer from Riggs. 

Would you rather just shut out the world a laugh a little? C-U Comedy Club at Soma will be doing a St. Patrick’s Day show from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are just $5, and all beer is $2.

Top photo by Sam Logan.