Category: Link

Here’s a rendering of the Aloft Hotel coming to Downtown Champaign

Yesterday, the City of Champaign broke ground on what will become an Aloft Hotel, a brand by Marriott, which is going in at 401 N. Neil Street in Downtown Champaign "by the end of 2020" according to The News-Gazette's report. It was announced back in March that it would in fact be an Aloft Hotel rather than the original plan of Hotel VIB from back in 2017.

The Gazoo's report states that the hotel will feature 132 rooms and a bar named WXYZ  "will be right on the corner and have outdoor seating and performances from local musicians."

Photo from City of Champaign


Research Park’s Big Data Summit is November 12th

Research Park's annual Big Data Summit is happening next month on Tuesday, November 12th at the iHotel in Champaign. You can see the whole slate of programming here, and read a quick blurb about what the Big Data Summit is below if you are unfamiliar.

From the email blast:

Big Data Summit
November 12, 2019
7:45 am - 4:00 pm

Join us for the University of Illinois Research Park's seventh annual Big Data Summit. This interactive conference offers participants the opportunity to learn and share knowledge about key aspects of big data and its business applications through dynamic panels, inspiring keynote presentations, and networking opportunities.

Be sure to register today by clicking here.

Photo from Research Park's event page


Page Roasting Company is giving away tickets to this Saturday’s Hogchute Opry Harvest

Page Roasting Company is giving away tickets to this Saturday's Hogchute Opry Harvest in Monticello, which features a variety of awesome acts out at the Kalyx Center for Sustainability (which is near Allerton Park). If you've been to Hogchute Opry before, you know how great of a time it is. If you have not been before, I could not recommend it more. 

Check out their post, and enter for a chance to win:

Photo from Hogchute Opry Harvest's event poster

Tell MTD how you would improve area transit

C-U MTD has a survey on their site that invites community members to help them better meet transportation needs in the area. It's kind of a unique approach: they give you a hypothetical budget of $100, and you have to allocate it in the way you think is best, spending on everything from service areas to infrastructure. 

Whether you are someone that regularly uses local transit, or you are just a person who cares about the community as a whole and things that make up a big portion of it (which, we should all be ideally), then take a few minutes and give your input.

You can find the survey here.

Photo from MTD Facebook page


Illinois Football to face off against Nebraska in Ireland in 2021

Though Illinois Football isn't having the most spectacular season thus far, looking to the future seems to be what we do as Illinois fans these days. 2021 is in the future as we live here in 2019, and the team has announced the plan to face off against Nebraska on August 28, 2021 in Dublin, Ireland. Read the full announcement at the link below, but here's a brief paragraph about the plan as well.


CHAMPAIGN, IL – The Fighting Illini will pack up and head to Ireland when opening the 2021 season against Big Ten-foe Nebraska as part of the Aer Lingus College Football Series in Dublin. The University of Illinois, the University of Nebraska and Irish American Events Limited are partnering to take an American Football game to Aviva Stadium in Dublin for a Week Zero game on Aug. 28, 2021.

Photo from


Hogchute Opry Harvest 2019 lineup announced

The fall's installment of Hogchute Opry Harvest has been announced for Saturday, October 19th, and you can check out the details below (as well as over at the Facebook event linked above). This is part of Hogchute's series — Hogchute Opry in the summer, Hogchute Opry Harvest in the fall — out at Monticello's Kalyx Center.

The show costs $10, and you can camp out there if you want as well.

This year's lineup includes:


  • Black Eyed Lillies
  • Calliope Musicals
  • The Carolyn Sills Combo
  • Colonel James Presents
  • Emily Anne
  • Falbonauts
  • The Merry Travelers
  • Pikas
  • Tractor Kings
  • Vestiges

Photo from Hogchute's Facebook event


Register for Willard Airport’s TSA-Precheck Enrollment event

If you're ready to be one of those people who gets to go in the special, shorter line at the airport and skip the whole shoe-removal, portioning out liquids, taking your laptop out of the bag, taking your belt off hassle, here's your chance.

Willard Airport is hosting a TSA-Precheck event October 28-November 1, and registration is now open. Each day there will be appointments available from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. 

Might be a good idea to sign up for your slot now, before they fill up. 

Image from Facebook event

Link launches new site

From the creators of There's a new resource in C-U for older adults in the area,

The new site launched a few days ago, and you can read all about it over at ChambanaMoms, as well as on ChambanaSeniors' website. They are just getting started, so I am sure we'll see more from this site in the near future.

Top photo from ChambanaSeniors' Facebook page.


Have you checked out Buy Black Chambana yet?

Buy Black Chambana recently launched as a resource for discovering and promoting black-owned businesses in C-U. The site is run by Mariah Madison, a local entrepreneur who also founded Nannyville, LLC.

According to the website, the goal is to "empower and create space for ALL people to celebrate and honor black culture, support black businesses, and uplift the community."

Businesses can register for the directory here

Photo from Buy Black Chambana website


The UP Center will recognize two anniversaries at this year’s pride

The UP Center of Champaign County, who organizes the annual Pride Parade & Fest in Champaign, is celebrating LGBTQ+ history while also recognizing a milestone of their own. The theme of this year’s parade will be: 50/10 - “Queer History, Our History," a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots and the 10th anniversary of the UP Center. The flowers depicted on the logo honor Marsha P. Johnson, a prominent gay liberation activist and figure during the Stonewall Inn Riots.

The Pride parade, kicking off at 3 p.m. in downtown Champaign, has grown to become the largest downstate parade celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in Illinois. The outdoor celebration and vendor fair will take place north of One Main Plaza from 1 to 7 p.m. Full information on the day’s events  and the UP Center can be found here.



Logo from the UP Center's website