Smile Politely

Weekender: May 17-19

Friday, May 17th

Feast on Congolese food, Common Ground Food Co-op Flatlander Classroom, 5 to 7 p.m., $9/plate

Common Ground has been hosting monthly Friday Feasts, and this month’s features two Congolese-inspired dishes: Tshaka Madesu and Moambe Chicken. The former is a stew made with greens, beans, peppers, and onions, and the latter is chicken stewed in a flavorful tomato sauce. Each meal incorporates local, seasonal ingredients. (JH) 

See a show at Staerkel Planetarium, Parkland College, 7 or 8 p.m., $5-6

Have you been to the planetarium lately? It’s such a soothing and educational experience. They have two options for shows on Friday: their ongoing Prairie Skies, which is tailored to the season and helps you learn what you can see right now in the night sky, and Two Pieces of Glass, a feature about the invention of the telescope. (JM) Photo from Staerkel Planetarium Facebook Page


Drink beer and listen to music at Sipyard, 7:30, free (except for the beer and tips for the bands)

Treat yourself to three sets of music on Friday without having to change location. The Kinnamons (7:30 p.m.), Shouting Match (8 p.m.), and Ryan Groff (of Elsinore, 8:45 p.m.) will all be playing The Sipyard this Friday. The outdoor seating is limited, so if you’re into sitting down instead of standing casually but stylishly, get there early. Otherwise, come whenever, and enjoy a unique venue and craft beers. Check out the event page for more info. (NL) Photo from Sipyard Facebook page

Saturday, May 18th

Have some vegan gelato, Red Bicycle Ice Cream, noon to 9 p.m., prices vary

Red Bicycle Ice Cream is hosting a monthly gelato fest and this month’s feature is vegan gelato. All cups and cones featuring the vegan version of your favorite frozen dessert will be 25% off. The weather will finally be warm frozen dessert weather, so take advantage. (JH) Top photo by Jessica Hammie 

Get in the mood for reading with music at the Urbana Free Library, 3-4:30 p.m., free

To kick off their summer reading program, Urbana Free Library is throwing a party, and Zecca Bom is playing. Zecca Bom is a local favorite, and plays music inspired by Brazilian soul and reggae. The show will be a lighthearted, free spirited experience, and includes the fun of getting to play instruments from the library’s musical equipment collections. The indoor space makes this a rain or shine event, and also there will be a photo booth and costumes for hilarious pictures. Win win win. (NL) Photo from Facebook event page

Sip wine and paint, 51 Main, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., $30/single, $50/couple

What better way to spend Saturday night than with a paint brush in one hand and a glass of wine in another? The new 51 Main on Bradley Ave. will host an evening of live jazz music where guests can drink a specialty wine “The Essence of a Woman” and paint a selected piece to take home. All materials are provided and tickets are available on 51 Main’s website. (SP) Photo by Steven Pratten

Cycle under the Flower Moon to Sidney Dairy Barn, Meadowbrook Park Urbana, 7:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., free

With the arrival of summer comes the long-anticipated trips to the local ice cream shop for a cool treat. On Saturday night, members of Prairie Cycle Club invite the community to cycle from Urbana’s Meadowbrook Park to Sidney Dairy Barn through the country roads under the a full moon. This full moon is referred to as the “Flower Moon” to signify the flowers in bloom during May in the northern hemisphere. Bikers will gather at Meadowbrook Park at 7:15 p.m. and depart for Sidney (10.5 miles away) at 7:30 p.m., with return expected at 10:15 p.m. The ride is open to the public and can be taken at each rider’s preferred pace. Riders are responsible for their own safetly and Illinois law requires the use of lights during nighttime. You can find more details at the event page. (SP)

Walking With My Ancestors, Community Center 4 the Arts, 7:30 to 9 p.m., $10

Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, a professor of music and ethnomusicology at ISU, will present her one woman play. In it she channels her Ghanian ancestors, who came to the US as enslaved people, through live music and dance. A unique opportunity for your Saturday night! (JM) Photo from Facebook event page by Russ Hawkins

Dance it out at Spectrums /// Dance Video Music, Urbana Dance Company,  8 p.m. to midnight, cover to be announced

It’s been a helluva week, hasn’t it? And sometimes the only thing to do is dance it out. Spectrums is a dance/video/music collab featuring loads of local talent, including a video installation from Matt Harsh, musical performances by Landon Wordswell, Brother Nature, and CJ Strick Lee, and dance performances by Elisandra Rosario, Urbana Dance Company director Kate Insola, Danzel Thompson-Stout, Jaylen De’ Angelo Clay, Kaleigh Dent, and Chloe Nagle. (DD) 

Sunday, May 19th

Take a tour of Prairie Fruits Farm, 4410 N Lincoln Ave, Champaign, 2 or 3 p.m., $10 adults/$6 kids

PFF is offering tours of the farm that will include cheese tastings. Each tour is about 45 minutes, and please wear closed-toe shoes. This is a pretty cool opportunity to see behinds the scenes of the farm and the cheese-making enterprise. You can even add some wine to your cheese tasting ($6); this sounds like a lovely afternoon out with a friend. (JH) 

Head to Spurlock Museum and learn about hats, 1 to 3:30 p.m., free

Part of the ongoing May Spurlock Sundays series, this Sunday is all about hats. Museum staff and volunteers will be on hand for mini-tours, interactive activities—including scavenger hunts and, best of all, a chance to get up close and personal with some actual artifacts. Campus is quieting down, so there’s no reason to miss out on this unique (and free) learning opp. (DD) Photo from Spurlock Facebook Page

Pups & Pints, Pour Bros. Craft Taproom, 2 to 5 p.m., bring your $$ for drinks

Dogs + Beers = awesomeness. Bring your doggo to the newly coined Artist Alley. The proceeds from the drinks you purchase and beer you pour will be donated to the Champaign County Humane Society. Also, there will be a photo booth so you can take home photos of you and your pupper. Even if you don’t have a dog (or don’t bring yours…mine is does not have good manners) you can still come and drink and support a good cause. (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.

More Articles