Smile Politely

Weekender: April 26-28

Friday, April 26th


Go to a mini-music festival, Rose Bowl Tavern, 6 p.m., no cover

I am so here for all the festivals and mini-fests C-U is giving us this spring, and Friday serves up another one: Rose Bowl Tavern is hosting a mini-bluegrass festival. Music is starting at 6 p.m., and features mostly local musicians (with a few out-of-towners joining the lineup, which you can see here). This show, like the majority of Rose Bowl’s music events, has no cover, and everyone is welcome. BYOF (that would be “bring your own food”) is encouraged. In fact, in the spirit of community, bring some to share. I’m especially stoked to see the The Honky Tonk Angels closing out the night spinning the hits of country music’s finest women. (NL) Photo from Facebook

Cheer on some runners, U of I campus, 7:30 p.m., free

Hey did you know it’s marathon weekend? My guess is you know someone who is running some sort of race this weekend, maybe YOU are. I’ve dabbled in the 5K but ultimately came to the conclusion that I’d done enough of that and that I am clearly not a runner. One thing I truly enjoyed, however, was the atmosphere of the 5K. Lots of crowds, lots of cheering. Yes it’s a major big accomplishment to do the half or full marathon, but for a lot of people it’s a big freaking deal to run or even walk a 5K. So maybe go cheer on some of those people. I’ll be there rooting for my kid. Find the route here. (JM) Top photo by Sam Logan

Saturday, April 27th

Attend the final Babies & Brunch of the season, Prairie Fruits Farm, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., prices vary

It’s the last Babies & Brunch of the season, so if you haven’t been yet, now’s your chance. There will be hot breakfast items available for purchase, plus you can visit with those adorable baby goats! They really are too damn cute for their own good. Last weekend’s menu looked killer, and this weekend’s is bound to be equally as delicious. (JH) Photo from Facebook

Check out some model trains, 803 E. University, Urbana, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free

I had the opportunity to talk with Paul Yoos, longtime MTD bus operator, about the CU MTD Employees’ Model Railroad Club this week, and he has lots of stories and knowledge to share, as do his fellow train enthusiasts. This is a super unique niche happening in our community, and I recommend checking out work they’re doing. Kiddos who love things with wheels will surely love it, and adults can learn a lot about what goes into this hobby, as well get a glimpse into our transportation history here in C-U. (JM) Photo by Julie McClure

Kick off patio season at Crane Alley, 11 a.m., prices vary

Crane Alley is hosting reps from Stone Brewing; there will be five Stone beers on tap (in addition to 18 other draft options). There will also be tiki inspired drinks and food specials. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, it’ll be a nice way to remind yourself that warmer weather will be here…eventually. (JH) 

See lots of animals, Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, 2 to 4 p.m., free for members/$5 for non-members

A host of creatures will be descending on the Orpheum, from cockroaches to parrots to snakes and more. So if you have a kid in your life that is into this sort of thing, be sure to spend time at this event. Many community and university groups are participating, including Champaign County Humane Society, Wildlife Medical Clinic at Illinois, Hospice Hearts, Wings of Wonder Avian Rescue, and more. (JM)

Sunday, April 28th

Enter Panda’s Home, an interactive journey, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 1 pm. and 3 p.m., $10-$30

Take a metaphorical journey through Chinese culture. Explore bamboo forests, firework shows, glowing lanterns and soaring kites across an interactive, multimedia space. Suitable for ages 2 and up. Audiences will be asked to remove their shoes in order to experience the multimedia “carpet.” (DD) Photo from Facebook.

Enter the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Champaign Central High School, 2:30 p.m., $7 for students, $10 for adults

If you’re a word nerd, a fan of musicals, or just like to support the kids at Central Drama, this is a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon. Who will win? The incumbent? The new girl?There’s only one way to find out. (DD).  


Hear a new (to you, maybe) kind of jazz at The Krannert Center, 7:30 p.m.

There are three ensemble performances to pick from today, and my vote goes to the UI Latin Jazz Ensemble performance at 7:30 p.m. at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. According to the ensemble’s page, the group’s sound melds together “South American, Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, and traditional jazz influences,” and after listening to a few pieces, I can tell you it’s well worth your time to check this performance out.

Get a taste of the Latin jazz sound by watching this video of a past UI Latin Jazz Ensemble performance. Ticket prices range from $10 – $4. (NL) Photo from Facebook

Attend Marvel Trivia Night, Barrelhouse 34, 7 to 9 p.m., $20/4 people teams

If you’re one of the nine people who aren’t watching Game of Thrones on Sunday night, perhaps you want to try your hand at Marvel trivia? There are only 80 hours or so of Marvel superhero movies to watch to get ready for it, but I think that’s a valuable use of your time. Plus, the new Avengers movie came out this weekend so it’s sort of like a refresher course. (JH) 


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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