Smile Politely

Weekender: February 22-25

A mango habanero margarita from the restaurant Maize at The Station in Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Thursday, February 22nd

Celebrate National Margarita Day, all day, many places

This Thursday is National Margarita Day, and I recommend celebrating. What’s not to love about lime and tequila? Check out the mango habanero marg from Maize or the margarita flight from Tres Nopales in Urbana. If you’re super thirsty for margaritas, check out the marg tower at Las Palmas restaurant in North Champaign. Pretty much every Mexican restaurant in town offers margaritas, so pick your fave spot, take a friend, and margarita it up. Cheers. (AB)

Unwind and sip wine with Haki N’ Dem, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 5 p.m, free

Order a glass of Chardonnay and enjoy the music stylings of Haki N’ Dem, a vibrant band bringing their electrifying mix of genres to Krannert Uncorked Concert Series. Their performance is free and promises an evening of lively music that blends elements of funk, jazz, and soul, offering a unique and engaging experience for all attendees. (DP)

Attend the opening reception for In Motion, Springer Cultural Center, 5:30 p.m., free

In Motion is an exhibition of the work of Viktoria Ford and Catherine C. White. Both artists make expressive work that is compelling and interesting to engage with. There will be refreshments, and both Ford and White will be there to chat with attendees. (JH)

Have a dialogue about Black health, wealth, and wellness, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, 6 to 7:30 p.m., free

Hear from a distinguished panel of community experts about “he advancement and evolution of Black health, wealth, and wellness within the Champaign-Urbana community.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for light refreshments. The event is hosted by Champaign-Urbana Public Health’s Justice Coalition. (JM)

Friday, February 23rd

Alyssa Buckley

Warm up with a thali lunch, Kohinoor, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $14.99

There’s something about Indian curries and warm naan that makes Illinois winters feel bearable, and Kohinoor’s thali lunch is a silver platter of deliciousness. There’s vegetarian options, too, but I like the special non-veg thali which has spicy chicken curry, mild tandoori chicken tikka, lamb curry, savory dal makhani with a samosa, side salad, bowl of rice, naan, and dessert kheer. I never can finish everything on the tray, but I always try my best. (AB)

Learn about Birds of Spring, Staerkel Planetarium, 7 p.m., $2

Jeff Bryant will give a talk about birding and which birds you’ll find in the area this spring as part of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium’s Kaler Science Lecture series. You’ll see beautiful photos of birds on the planetarium’s dome — I’m sure it will look very cool. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. (JH)

Two individuals are immersed in a musical performance on stage. The person in the foreground, clad in a light-colored shirt, is engrossed in playing an electric guitar. Behind them, another individual, donned in a checkered shirt and cap, is energetically playing the drums. The stage is bathed in a blue glow, casting an ambient light over the performers and their instruments. In the backdrop, curtains and stage lights add to the concert atmosphere.
Derrick Philips

Cozy up to the Blue Velvet Couch (Series), Gallery Art Bar, 7 p.m., free

Well, you can’t sit on the couch during the performance, but grab a signature cocktail from the bar and pull up to the blue velvet couch to enjoy the vocal stylings of Calum Beckett, Brad Handsome and Rory Book. (DP)

A crowd of people at the Orpheum Theatre to celebrate 2016's Untitled, a fundraiser for 40 North. There is a screen with a projection that says 40 North. Some people are wearing colorful glasses.
Sam Logan

Have fun while supporting the arts at Untitled, Orpheum Theatre, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., $55/one ticket or $100/two tickets

40 North’s annual fundraiser event is a fun way to spend money supporting the arts. There will be a ton of activities, plus free cocktails and food, and, of course, art. This year’s theme is a mashup of the previous nine years’ themes, so it will be extra quirky and fun. (JH)

Saturday, February 24th

A group of people examining a display of photographs.
Urbana Park District on Facebook

Check out some great local photography, Lincoln Square Mall, 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., free

This weekend is the last opportunity to see all of the entries in Urbana Park District’s Best in Show Photographic Print competition. They are on display at Lincoln Square Mall. Go in the morning and you can also browse the farmers market. Go later and you can grab a sammie from Baldarotta’s. (JM)

Take a tour of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, meet in the KCPA Lobby, 3 p.m., free

Want to see where the theater sausage gets made? Here’s your chance to descend into the bowels of KCPA and peek inside all of the rehearsal spaces and dance rooms and costume closets. The building is incredible. You’ll learn more about its history, too. (JH)

A white hand holds a giant gray hairy spider. The corner of a person's face is visible in the right upper corner.
Insect Fear Festival

Face your fears, Foellinger Auditorium, 5:30 p.m., free

The 41st annual Insect Fear Film Festival is back. The theme this year will be Ant-Men. The event includes a living ant display, insect petting zoo, Bugscope (scanning electron microscope), insect arts and crafts, and a gallery of the annual IFFF art contest featuring insect-themed artwork by local K-12 students, plus movies, and more. You can read more about the festival and the people behind the event in my interview on Smile Politely here! (LKG)

Sunday, February 25th

A round disc of wood painted to look like a turtle with a brightly colored shell. It's fixed onto a tree trunk.
Champaign County Forest Preserve District on Facebook

Go on a Snowflake Search, the Champaign County Forest Preserves, hours vary, free

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District’s Snowflake Search will be going for one more week, so take some time this weekend to explore some trails and see what you find. There are 30 total snowflakes to find across the five preserves. Some of them will have QR codes where you can learn some fun facts. (JM)

Brush up on wellness, Glow by Lola Studio, 3 to 4:30 p.m., free

The GLOW by Lola team will be hosting their first bookclub for the wellness book Body Aware by Erica Hornthal. There will be snacks, discussion, and good vibes in the beautiful Glow by Lola studio space. The event is free but registration is required. (LKG)

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.

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