Smile Politely

Get your Culture here: Four experiences to have in November

I love November. It’s my birthday month, so that makes me a bit biased, but that is not the only reason. November is an in-between sort of time. Sure, the stores have switched from Halloween candy to candy canes, and Mariah Carey is already embracing her season, but I’m not ready for all of that yet. November signals the end to the flurry of fall activity, and offers a bit of a lull before the holiday mayhem. The last of the leaves fall, and there are a few bursts of warm weather before we start to descend into the winter cold. 

However, that doesn’t mean that there’s a lack of opportunity for immersing yourself in C-U culture this month. 

Low to the ground view of a yard with green grass and brown leaves. There are three political signs: for Nikki Budzinski, Leah Taylor, and Bethany Vanicheteeranont. Photo by Julie McClure.

Photo by Julie McClure.

Please vote

There is no more important experience than casting your vote in the November 8th election. Maybe you’ve already voted…hurrah! Thank you for your diligence! I have not yet, only because I have a soon to be 18 year old, and I plan to accompany her for the momentous occasion. If you haven’t either, there are still plenty of opportunities, but don’t let it slide.

A few weeks ago our Editorial Board, which I am a part of, shared our reasoning for voting for Democrats up and down the ballot. This isn’t a startling revelation  we are a progressive magazine after all — but with each election it becomes more and more imperative to elect leaders who support reproductive rights, recognize the threat of climate change, want common sense gun legislation, stand up for those who are marginalized, and believe that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. There is only one party who fulfills all these, even with their faults. 

There are many county positions up for grabs this time around, including every county board seat. Out of anyone on your ballot, these are people who have the most potential to affect our day to day lives, so don’t neglect those bubbles, especially in contested races. There are two seats open in each district, so you can vote for two candidates. Take some time to learn about the candidates in all of the races, then make a plan to vote. We are fortunate to live in a state, and in a county, with many many options. Find out all you need to know on the Champaign County Clerk’s office website

The field at Memorial Stadium during a football game. Players are line up on either side of the field, and the stands on either side are filled with people, many of them wearing orange. Photo by Julie McClure.

Photo by Julie McClure.

Go to an Illini football game

Illini Football? With a 7-1 record? RANKED?? This is not a regular occurrence, friends. It’s been 11 seasons, actually. We’ve become accustomed to half empty stadiums, heading back to the tailgate at halftime (after the band of course), and counting the days until basketball season. Now, basketball season is starting and football season is going strong, with a (dare I say it) Big Ten title an actual possibility? There are two more chances to catch a home game, November 5th against Michigan State, and November 12th against Purdue. 

A man dressed in Native American regalia is dancing in the center of a crowd of people. Photo from Spurlock Museum.

Photo from Spurlock Museum website.

Learn about pow-wow culture

November is Native American Heritage Month. There is no single indigenious culture, but Spurlock Museum is offering the opportunity to learn about one piece of it. On November 5th, from 4 to 6 p.m., Spurlock Museum is hosting an event at their Knight Auditorium with the Bizhiki Culture and Dance Company. The company “seeks to create meaningful relationships and assist entities in establishing a firm understanding of Tribal resiliency while instilling cultural revitalization.” They will be sharing about history, etiquette, styles of dance, and the regalia worn for a pow-wow. 

A lighted truck with someone dressed as Santa Claus is surrounded by a crowd of people. Photo from Champaign Center Partnership Facebook page.

Photo from Champaign Center Partnership Facebook page.

Join the Parade of Lights festivities and start your local holiday shopping

The end of November is an appropriate time to embrace the holiday season. Start with the 22nd annual Parade of Lights on Saturday, November 26th at 6 p.m. in Downtown Champaign. The day’s festivities begin at 3 p.m. There are horse and carriage rides, and visits with Santa and Candy Corners for the kiddos. If you want a primo parade spot with some added perks, grab a VIP ticket from Farren’s or Neil Street Blues. For $25 you get tasty food, a swag bag, and a perfect parade spot. The weekend after Thanksgiving is also the start of the holiday shopping season. I love going out on Small Business Saturday to start checking off my gift list. Watch for our shopping local guide to get some good ideas.

Top photo by Julie McClure.

More Articles