FRIDAY, August 11th

Try something new, any restaurant or bar in Champaign-Urbana, all weekend, prices vary

Have you been meaning to try something you saw on Smile Politely, or Facebook, or Instagram? Do it! Take that trip to Green Street before the students return, or treat yourself to that high calorie fancy beverage at the coffee shop you haven't yet visited. Check out our recent lists for ideas. Invite friends, or go alone. Either way, enjoy. Dumplings from San Maru pictured. Photo by Jessica Hammie (JH)

Drink some free wine, Common Ground Food Co-op, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., free

Every Friday Common Ground hosts a free wine tasting. This week's line up includes some seasonal wines that "are perfect for this time of year." I think free wine is perfect for any time of year, quite frankly. If the weather is nice enough, you can grab a bottle of your favorite sample, a baguette, a brick of cheese, and a few pieces of fruit and make a picnic of things (at your house, of course). Photo by Jessica Hammie (JH)

Gospel Fest, Douglass Park, 6:00 p.m., free

CU Days kicks off on Friday night, and Douglass Park will be filled with soulful sounds. WBCP radio station and their gospel host Lady Lynn, along with Will Colquitt of Tabernacle Radio in Chicago will be hosting the event, which features local artists as well as others from across the Midwest. I don't care if you're religious or not, gospel voices are inspiring and powerful. Plus there's food and fun for kids! (JM)

We The Animals with Alex & The XO's and Brian Hilderbrand, Cowboy Monkey, 9:30 p.m., $7 and 19+

Come support Alex & The XO's from Bloomington-Normal as they come through town on tour. Local support will be provided by Brian Hilderbrand as he plays some Grand Ambassador material and We The Animals. This will be a fin/dancy show for sure, definitely a great way to get your weekend started in downtown Champaign. (RG)

SATURDAY, August 12th

Yoga in the Park, Meadowbrook Park, 9 a.m., free

I can't believe I've let the whole summer go by without doing one of my favorite community events, Yoga in the Park. Luckily, there are three more opportunities, one of which is this Saturday. All you need is a mat and yourself. There's nothing better than being out in nature while you're getting your zen on. Afterward, stroll the beautiful trails, or swing by the market and make it a full on Urbana morning. (JM)

5th Annual Pens to Lens GalaVirginia Theatre, 1-9 p.m., $8-12 (or free for students under 18)

This all-day show is a special event in the C-U summer, and by "special" I mean it is "awesome" and it is a "do". No joke; people dress. Formal. There's a red carpet. There are paparazzi. World-premiere films that go on to win international awards. National critics. The day is split into two showings, but the films are different in each set, so just put aside the whole day. Treat yourself, order tickets. (RK) 

Sambolo + Bones Jugs, The Iron Post, 8 p.m., $10 

One of the newest and more buzzed about acts to the scene, Sambolo, performs with one of the staples of the scene in Bones Jugs at the Iron Post on Saturday. This is a must-see for the weekend (PS)

King's Highway and the James Jones Trio, Cowboy Monkey, 9 p.m., $5 and 21+

This is a great show for a Saturday night, full of hard rock and blues tunes provided by King's Highway and the James Jones Trio. Both veterans in the music scene, they'll leave you begging for more and wishing the night wouldn't end. Come and stay at Cowboy Monkey all weekend long, you won't be disappointed a single night. (RG)

SUNDAY, August 13th

C-U DaysDouglass Park Champaign, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., free

This past week has shown that SP readers are very concerned with gun violence, so this event should command attention. Moms Demand Action - IL are hosting a series of live events in Douglass Park to spread awareness about gun violence. It sounds like a great time – food, entertainment, sports, kids’ activities – and an excellent cause. Come show your support and join your community in solidarity. (RK)  

Women in Politics panel, Champaign Public Library, 2:30 p.m., free

State Representative Carol Ammons, State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, Former State Representative Naomi Jakobsson, and Former Champaign County Board Chairwoman Patricia Avery are all getting together for a panel discussion on women in politics. Check out this discussion to hear more about their insights into political culture, presented by Champaign County Young Dems. (PS)

Solo Acoustic Set, Exile on Main Street, 3:30 p.m., free

Exile on Main Street provides a stage for a few solo acoustic sets this Sunday, which include Eric Stanley of Euriah, Michael Kramer of The Dry Look, and Lost Kingdoms. This is a great way for you to enjoy your Sunday in downtown Champaign, browsing the great selection of music at Exile all while pleasing your ears with some amazing acoustic sets, and it's all free! (RG)

Tara Terra, Matthaus, Sleeping Okami, Cowboy Monkey, 7:30 p.m.

Tara Terra hits Champaign-Urbana after a tour stint around the Midwest, performing with Chicago's Matthaus and new-ish local outfit Sleeping Okami. Sure, a Sunday evening show means something, but this is a nice little bill to round out your weekend. (PS)


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.