Smile Politely

Weekender: August 9-11

Friday, August 9th

Sample lots of stuff, Harvest Market, 4 to 8 p.m. + Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free

Harvest Market’s The Big Feed is back this weekend, with a whole lot of vendors on site to provide samples and information about their products. You can see the entire vendor line up on the Facebook event page. (JH) 

Check out art by Roberto Sabas & Nika Lucks, Common Ground Food Co-op’s art gallery, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., free

This promises to be a bold exhibit worthy of summer’s last blast. Meet the artists, enjoy snacks and beverages, and maybe even purchase a piece for yourself. While not a traditional gallery space, the Co-op is showing a wide range of work from talented local artists. If you miss the opening, take a walk over next time you’re in to shop. (DD) Photo from Facebook event page

Head over to CU Days, Douglass Park, 6 to 9 p.m. + Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., free

Happening Friday evening and all day Saturday, this annual event is a community celebration with food, kid’s activities, a basketball tournament, senior luncheon, and lots of live music. It’s all free, and there will be numerous local businesses and organizations on hand with free school supplies. We took some photos of the event a few years back, if you want a sneak peek (JM).

Listen to stories around a campfire, Anita Purves Nature Center, 7:30 to 9 p.m., prices vary

Stories are great and so are bonfires, and mixing the two is a combination as classic as graham crackers glued together by marshmallows and chocolate. All of these will be at Anita Purves Nature Center’s Stories at Sunset this Friday. Join the Urbana Park District and Spurlock Museum for a night of storytelling from four local storytellers. The event will provide marshmallows for roasting and picnic tables for seating, although guests are encouraged to bring the own lawn chairs. Participants under 15 years-old must be accompanied by a registered adult, and registration can be found here. (SP) Photograph from Pixabay

Bring your summer sizzle to the dance floor at Latin Dance Night Urbana Dance Company, 8 to 11 p.m., $8 students, $10 community

Latin Dance Night is the perfect time give into the heat and go full on summer sultry. And the Urbana Dance Company space is warm and inviting and filled with talented instructors and DJs. All ages are welcome. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. If you’re new to the Latin dance scene or just need a refresher, stop by between 8 and 8:30 p.m. for a lesson. (DD)

Saturday, August 10th

Visit Prairie Farms’ petting zoo before season close, Prairie Farms, 1 to 7 p.m., free

As summer comes to an end, there are only a few weeks left to squeeze in that last bit of summer fun. One summer attraction will be open a final time this weekend before its seasonal closing, only to reopen in spring of 2020. Prairie Farm‘s petting zoo will be be open for its last day of the 2019 season this Saturday. 
The farm is complete with a replica of a turn-of-the-century barn, farmhouse, flower garden, and more. The highlight for many visitors is the petting area which includes cows, horses, sheep, pig, goats, and pretty much any animal that you’d find on a farm. The petting area is open from 3 to 5 p.m. and closed toe shoes are required for entry. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. (SP) Photograph from the Facebook event page

Encourage young screenwriters and filmmakers, Virginia Theatre, 2 to 5 p.m., $8 (18 and under, free)

It’s time for the annual Pens to Lens gala and film screening. Local K-12 students have created and produced their own original films, and you can see the competition winners at the Virginia. The young creators will walk the red carpet beginning at 2 p.m., then the screening and awards begin at 3 p.m. All films are appropriate for all ages. Tickets are available here. Stay tuned for our recap next week. (JM) Top photo by Kwamé Thomas 

Check out Punch!, Hyatt Place, 217 N Neil St, Champaign, whenever, prices vary

Punch is a new cocktail/snacks spot connected to the Hyatt in Downtown Champaign. It’s an excellent spot to meet up for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Cocktails start at $9, so it’s right in line with neighboring establishments. (JH) Photo by Julie McClure

Bones Jugs, Emily Anne Band, Rose Bowl Tavern, 5 p.m., donations accepted

For the early show on Saturday, there’s a fundraiser happening for the Middle Fork River, which you can read more about over at the Facebook event page (linked above). Bones Jugs and Emily Anne will perform, so there’s some good folk/Americana action on stage at the Rose Bowl, and if you’re unable to make it, you can donate here as well. (PS) 

Planes Mistaken For Stars, All Eyes West, Bow & Spear, Bottom Bracket, nightshop in Bloomington, 7:30 p.m., $8-12

As I made mention in this week’s Overture, this is a highlight of live music this week in the area. If you are a fan of punk/progressive rock music, this is one for you this weekend in nearby Bloomington. This bill is stacked, and Planes Mistaken For Stars are a guarnateed win as far as live shows go, so I’d recommend this one if you’re looking for live tunes. Listen up on Prey from a few years ago to get warmed up. (PS) Photo from the Facebook event page

Thompson Springs, Pour Bros Artist Alley, 8:30 p.m., free

Chicago’s Thompson Springs is the next act lined up in Pour Bros’ Artist Alley series, which runs through September in Downtown Champaign. Check out their Facebook to see the rest of the shows they have lined up, but this is what you can check out this weekend. (PS) 

Sunday, August 11th

Go out for breakfast, Sam’s Cafe, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., prices vary (bring cash)

Sam’s Cafe is a greasy hole-in-the-wall sort of place, serving some of the best breakfast you’ll ever have. It’s cash-only, so come prepared. The French toast is legendary, but people also really enjoy the biscuits and gravy. Sam’s might be best after a night of drinking, but you’re not missing out on anything if you forgo the hangover. (JH) Photo by Jessica Hammie

Listen to some tunes in a botanical garden, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 5 to 7 p.m., free

Last week I extolled the virtues of taking in some live music in the outdoors, and this is a great opportunity to do so. Candy Foster and Shades of Blue will be performing their set list of classic R&B while you lounge in the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden and enjoy food and drink from JT Walker’s, Alto Vineyards, Project 47 Smokehouse, and Chester’s BBQ. And it’s free! (JM)


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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