Smile Politely

Weekender: May 31-June 2

Friday, May 31st

Eat some tacos, your establishment of choice, all weekend, about $3 per taco

C-U offers a wide variety of delicious tacos, and I think we all need to eat more of them. I’m partial to Maize’s al pastor tacos, as well as Mas Amigos, Fernando’s, and Juanito’s. (I don’t discriminate much.) If you’d rather sit down in a restaurant, check out Maize or Huaraches Moroleon. (JH) Photo of fish taco at Mas Amigos by Jessica Hammie

Jazz up your evening at Blackbird, 5 p.m., free

I’m sorry about the title. But, New Orleans Jazz Machine will be playing at Blackbird this evening, and you can check ‘em out for free during their Friday Jazz Happy Hour (we did a review of regular jazz events that includes this one recently, which you can check out here). There’s also pizza for sale if you want dinner with the show. (NL) 

Go to Friday Night Live, Downtown Champaign, 6 to 8 p.m., free

This summer series from 40 North is a gem. It’s one of those events that make you glad to live in C-U. There are now four different corners where you can take in some live music (find the lineup for tonight here), and for this first installment the city has designated a Festival District, meaning you can take a drink to go from participating bars/restaurants and wander freely within the boundaries. The weather looks to be glorious — 75 and sunny — so make it an evening and grab dinner on one of the many patios either before, during, or after the music. (JM) Top photo from Friday Night Live Facebook page

Saturday, June 1st

See/buy amazing wood cut art and jewelry by Lyd & Ted (respectively), Urbana’s Market at the Square, 7 a.m. to noon

If my recent interview with Lydia Puddicombe got you wanting to see her work IRL, here’s your chance. Lydia will be hitting Urbana’s Market at the Square this Saturday with Tedra of Red Ember Forge fame. Come meet these talented artists and treat yo’self to some locally made art. (DD) Photo by Debra Domal

Eat pizza, drink beer, I suggest Manolo’s and Triptych, your house, or Triptych, noon to 11 p.m.

Recently my weekends have been adulting overload: cleaning, yard work, cooking, removing dead creatures from my backyard. The incessant rain means I’ve been cramming all sorts of outdoor chores into a short period of time, instead of procrastinating like a normal homeowner. The way I see it, household chores mean that you don’t have to cook, so treat yourself to pizza and beer. You can pick up your pizza and bring it to Triptych, or, you can pick up some beer and pizza and go home to your newly cleaned house or deck or backyard or mulch pile. (JH)


Check out another local festival, Hogchute Opry 2019, Kalyx Center for Sustainability, 3 p.m., $15

Y’all, this is the the music event to check out this Saturday, weather permitting. The Kalyx Center is out near Allerton in Monticello, and this festival is featuring several local favorites (check out the lineup here). With an invitation to bring food to grill and an instrument to play, this is gonna be a laid back, happy festival, and comes complete with a bonfire. Gates open at 1 p.m., music starts at 3. (NL) Image from Facebook event page

Explore the history of Champaign’s oldest neighborhood, Washington & Hill Streets, 1 to 4 p.m., free

Columbia & Hill streets in Champaign have witnessed some of the city’s oldest history and raised generations of Champaign residents over the decades. Bring your curiosity and explore this history as Hidden History Tours celebrates the shared passion for this historic neighborhood. Not only will you learn about the architecture and people who made this neighborhood, but residents will also have the chance to share their own knowledge and stories of the area. The event is composed of themed, 1-hour tours for each specific interest. All tours will begin at 608 W. Washington St., Champaign. Check out the Facebook event for full details and schedule. Smile Politely will be featuring a video on this event to be published the following week. (SP)

Celebrate the superpower of love from our furry friends, West Side Park Champaign, 1 to 6 p.m., free except for parade and contest participants

The unconditional love displayed by the animals in our lives is something we can all learn from and should celebrate. On Saturday afternoon, the Animarvels Expo at West Side Park in Champaign will do just that. Whether the animarvel in your life is a service dog, an emotional support animal, or a household pet, you can join in the festivities that include the Animarvels parade, Best of Animarvels contests ($5 registration fee for each), or simply share stories of your beloved friend. There will also be exhibitors and professionals on-site who can provide information about animal care and pet ownership. This event aims to highlight the benefits and joy animals bring into our lives, and any proceeds will support Rattle the Stars. Visit the event website for a full description, registration, and rules of the event. (SP) Photo by Steven Pratten

Cross the equator (musically) with Amasong, McKinley Memorial Presbyterian Church, 4 p.m., suggested donation $15, but pay what you can.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch an Amasong concert, you’re missing out on a Champaign-Urbana gem. This spring concert program takes you on a musical tour through Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. A second performance will be held Sunday, June 2nd, also at 4 p.m. (DD) 

Celebrate a Dark Sky Park, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, 6 p.m. to midnight, free

The culmination of a four year effort, the Champaign County Forest Preserve District can finally officially tout Middle Fork as a Dark Sky Park, the only one in the state of Illinois. What does that mean? They’ve completed the multi-step process of reducing the amount of light pollution in the park to earn the designation from the International Dark Sky Association. Celebrate alongside the folks who made it possible, and take the opportunity to enjoy the night sky in a spot where you can see more stars then pretty much anywhere in our area. You can find the full schedule of events here. (JM) Photo by Joshua Frerichs from CCFPD Facebook page

Sunday, June 2nd

Adopt a pet and drink some wine, Sleepy Creek Vineyards, noon to 6 p.m., price vary

Please note the order of those events: you adopt the pet before you drink the wine. Sleepy Creek’s annual pet adoption event will feature furry babies from Vermilion County Animal Shelter and a bunch of area rescues. There will also be pet-goods vendors and raffles, live music, and food from Smoking Joe’s BBQ and Deborah’s Donuts. You can bring your entire family to the vineyard, including your existing furry family members. Plus, there is plenty of wine and also wine slushies. Slushies! They’re great. More info is on Facebook. (JH) Image from Whiskers & Wine 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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