Smile Politely

Weekender: August 23-25

Friday, August 23rd

Have a picnic, any park or yard of your choosing (preferably with permission for random yards), all weekend, prices vary

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, and since the restaurants might be crowded, how nice would it be to have a little picnic? You don’t even need to get particularly fancy. I suggest take out from your favorite place (Thara Thai is mine right now), a bottle of wine or some beer (hello, Triptych cans), and a couple of napkins. Go to your backyard or patio or porch, eat, drink and be merry. Or, visit your favorite park, but don’t drink the booze flamboyantly. (JH) 

Take in the Gallery Garden Art Show, Marm Studio Gallery, 4 to 8 p.m., free

Get an early start on your weekend with a stop at Marm. I’m thrilled to see studio/gallery combos like this emerge and provide additional space for local art shows. This show features work by Kathy Micek, Jeannie Vansickle, Cinda Pettigrew, Barbara Collins, and Mary Ciaccio. If you can’t make it on Friday, fear not. The show is up through Saturday, when the gallery will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. (DD) Photo from Facebook event page

Enjoy a plant-themed art pop-up, Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, Champaign, 5 to 8 p.m., free but bring $ for food and art

Lino block goddess Lisa Kesler will be teaming up with Douglas Kistler of Uptown Concrete for plant-themed pop-up Concrete & Ink Volume 1, featuring illustrated plant prints and concrete planters. I’m so excited to see these two studio neighbors team up for is sure to be a great pop-up. And by the looks of the event title, there will be more coming soon. (DD)

Discover the historic fabric of downtown Urbana, 6:30 to 8 p.m., $10-15

Last weekend we told you about the Downtown Champaign History Walk organized by the Champaign County History Museum. This weekend, the other “twin” of the Twin Cities will be explored by those interested in how Urbana has developed and changed through the decades. Participants will meet at the Cohen Building in downtown Urbana and proceed on a 1.5 hour walking tour on the buildings, alleyways, shops, and stories that make the fabric of historic downtown Urbana. 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

Saturday, August 24th

Have breakfast, Rick’s Bakery, 124 W Main St, Urbana, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I love Rick’s pastries, and I am not above eating several for breakfast, especially on the weekend. You could likely also add in one of the savory options, but sometimes one just needs to consume cheese cake or tres leches or a big, fat, Danish for breakfast. Or, have some fun with it and eat cookies. (JH) Photo by Jessica Hammie

Go to the Sweetcorn Festival, downtown Urbana, 11 a.m. to midnight, free to attend, but bring cash

The Urbana institution that is the Sweetcorn Festival is returning for 45th year, and it continues to expand, with several downtown businesses and local organizations participating: You can Save the Sweetcorn Festival at Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space, enjoy a Triptych takeover at Sipyard as well as drink specials at several local establishments, and hear some tunes from local bands on the outdoor stages as well as the downtown venues. And of course there are the rows of vendors and food and family activities. Head over to their website to get the full scope of everything that’s happening on Friday and Saturday. (JM) Top photo by Jessica Hammie

Take a trip to Breaking Taco, 608 E Main St, Mahomet, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., prices vary

Breaking Taco is a Mexican restaurant in Mahomet, and it’s pretty good. Why drive all the way out there when we have excellent choices for Mexican cuisine right here in C-U? Well, because you can, first and foremost, and because it will feel nice to get out of town for a couple of hours on the weekend students return to the U of I campus. Check out our review for suggestions. (JH) Photo by Matthew Macomber

Listen to music and support re-entry after incarceration, Independent Media Center, 7:30 to 11 p.m., $5-10 suggested donation

First Followers and the Housing Authority of Champaign are about to open FirstSteps, transitional housing for community members returning after being in prison. You can support the cause by attending the show, donating, and telling others about the project, which you can learn more about here. Seems like a worthwhile way to spend your Saturday evening. (JM)

New Twang City, Rose Bowl Tavern, 8 p.m., free

While I realize I’m highlighting a couple of different shows in this installment of the Weekender than I did for the Overture this week, that’s OK, because there’s a variety of things happening, which is a good thing. On Saturday night, you can check out New Twang City, which is a country/rock n roll outfit that will hit Rose Bowl for a free night of good tunes. (PS) Photo from the Facebook event page

Sunday, August 25th

Enjoy a banana split, Jarling’s Custard Cup, 12 to 10 p.m., $5.58 (w/ tax)

This Sunday is National Banana Split Day and I will take advantage of any excuse or reason to eat one. The ice cream, banana, whipped cream, and fudge treat was invented in 1904 at a pharmacy in Pennsylvania and has since become synonymous with trips to the local DQ and summer camp. Catch me celebrating this national day at Jarling’s on Sunday, and as always, no judging. (SP) Photo from Pixabay

Register some voters, on the Quad, 12 to 4 p.m., free

Quad Day is this Sunday, and The People’s Agenda is organizing their annual voter registration push, with the goal of registerting 3000 voters to vote in Champaign County. If you’re ready to start the process of engaging the electorate as the 2020 election looms, grab a clipboard and wade into the sea of potential voters that will be descending on the Quad. You can sign up for a slot here. (JM)

Hot Iron String Band, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, 5-7 p.m., free

Local bluegrass outfit Hot Iron String Band performs for free on Sunday evening as a part of Champaign County Forest Preserve District’s summer concert series. This is the final show of the summer for this series, so if you haven’t been able to attend one thus far, here’s your last chance this weekend. (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.

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