Smile Politely

Weekender: August 16-18

Friday, August 16th

Taste some tastes, Taste of C-U, West Side Park, 5 to 11 p.m., free entry; $1/food ticket

Taste of C-U is back for the 40-somethingth time, and this year you’ll be able to try some food from new vendors. Taste has become a food truck event — restaurants don’t want to pay and staff an off-site event, which is understandable. There will be beer, too, and plenty of activities for the entire family. Taste runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (JH) Top photo by Jessica Hammie

Walk through the history of downtown Champaign, 6:30 to 8 p.m., $10-15

On Saturday, T.J. Blakeman of the Champaign County History Museum will be giving 1.5 hour tours through historic downtown Champaign. The walking tour will cover the architecture, people, events, and stories that have influenced downtown throughout the decades. Participants will meet at West Side Park and tours will proceed as scheduled in light rain, but will be cancelled for severe weather. The tour is also available Saturday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. and you can buy your tickets here. (SP) Photo from the event website

Bottle Rockets, Angie Heaton & The Fights, Rose Bowl Tavern, 7 p.m., $18

This is kind of the show of the week in C-U, as Bottle Rockets bring their brand of rock n’ roll music to the historic Rose Bowl for a good time here on Friday night. You can buy tickets in advance or at the door, but do secure your spot because this will be a busy night. (PS) 

Saturday, August 17th

Have a nice Urbana morning, Meadowbrook Park and Market at the Square, 7 a.m. to noon, free (except you’ll want to by things such as peaches and corn)

I am a Champaign-ite, if that is a word, so I don’t always spend a ton of time over in Urbana. What I’ve found, however, is that Saturdays in the summer are a wonderful time to do so. I am a big fan of Yoga in the Park at Meadowbrook, which happens on Saturdays at 9 a.m. during the summer, so that is a good starting point. If you’re a go-getter, head over a bit early for a nice walk or bike ride on the trails, then go bend and stretch for an hour. By this point you will be hungry, so head on over to Urbana’s Market at the Square for a doughnut or egg sammie. You’ve earned it. I also recommend stopping by Nitro Cup for some cold nitro-brewed coffee. This is the best time to be at the Market in my humble opinion, because peaches and tomatoes and corn are all at their peak. In my house, we like BLTs and corn on the cob, with peach cobbler for dessert, as a quintessential summer meal (JM).

Do a garden tour, Allerton Park and Retreat Center, 10 a.m., $5 (free for 12 and under)

Every third Saturday, you can take a guided tour of the gardens at Allerton. It’s a great opportunity to learn all about the grounds as well as the mansion and Robert Allerton himself. The tour begins at the Greenhouse Café, so maybe get there a little early, or stay a bit after for a bite. You can buy tickets in advance here. (JM) Photo by Sam Logan

Eat some pizza, Pizzeria Antica, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., $16

I recently shared that my favorite pizza at Pizzeria Antica is the diavola. It’s absolutely delicious. I very much enjoy just about all the other pizzas at Antica, so you can’t go wrong if you order something else. After taking a stroll and snacking at Taste of C-U, grab a date and head to a proper dinner. Or, have a proper dinner and hit up Taste of C-U for dessert. (JH) Photo by Jessica Hammie

Learn a unique style of painting, Yellow & Company, 1 to 3 p.m., $25

Paint Like Me Party will be hosting a workshop to teach an interesting method of painting this Saturday. The demonstration will be on acrylic painting, in which acrylic paint is mixed with a pouring medium and poured over a surface. Attendees will make an 8”x10” print and those 21 years and older may BYOY. The event is for ages 14+ and registration can be found here. (SP) Photo from the Facebook event

Sunday, August 18th

Drink beer, pet doggos, Pour Bros., 2 p.m., prices vary

Bring your pups to the patio, responsibly drink some beer. Meet other peeps with pups, and your pup can make some new friends, too. Please do not give beer to the dogs. I’m looking forward to meeting new pupperinos, and I guess humans, too. Potential friends, all around! (JH) 

Enjoy tea with a beloved literary character at the Anne of Green Gables Afternoon Tea, Sylvia’s Irish Inn, 2 p.m., $45

Tea sandwiches, scones, fancy dress (optional) and, of course, tea, followed by a reading from the beloved classic. Enjoy a multi-course menu in the company of fellow readers and fans of Anne in the comfort and style of a true Irish Inn. (DD)

Watch an IRL ballroom competition, Cinderella/Cinderfella Dance Troupe Ballroom Competition, Lincoln Square Mall, 2 to 4 p.m., free

This Sunday, step away from the TV and see a local dance competition up close and personal. Cinderella/Cinderfella is a pilot program, supported by the Urbana Arts Grant program, that teaches local kids and teens the art of ballroom dance. After a few short weeks of rehearsal, the participants will meet at the mall for the final dance off. Stop by and show them some love. (DD) Photo from Facebook event page

Hieroglyphics, CJ Run, Landon Wordswell, Grill Billyen, Nightshop in Bloomington, 6:45 p.m., $35-40

If you are looking for what will be a bananas hip hop show for your weekend, here’s one in nearby Bloomington-Normal at nightshop, which has been booking some very solid acts as of late. Hieroglyphics will be presenting their 3rd Eye Vision tour in what will certainly be a jam-packed room on Sunday evening. (PS) Photo from the Facebook event page


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.

More Articles