Champaign-Urbana Events for Families in September Offer Plenty of Fun
Ready or not, the lazy, hazy days of summer are coming to an end and, not coincidentally, things really get busy. September and October are two of the busiest months of the year for family activities in the Champaign-Urbana area, and we’ve got you covered in your quest to make plans.
Thanks to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for sponsoring our September Things to Do. Visit Krannert on Saturday, Sept. 7, to enjoy Danny Weinkauf and the Red Pants Band for a free concert as part of ELLNORA The Guitar Festival. A longtime member of Might Might Be Giants, Weinkauf packs his deliciously catchy tunes with pop beats and intelligent topics that reach kids with fun facts and life lessons ranging from cloud science and botany to self-esteem and voting. And about those red pants – they WILL wear them. And you can wear them, TOO! Grab a donut (for sale) beginning at 8:30 a.m. KOOP Adventure Playground and Instrument Petting Zoo from The Upper Bout will begin at 9 a.m.
The festivities will allow fans to rejoice in the Illini’s 2018 run to the Final Four. Take pictures with the Final Four trophy and watch the unveiling of the national semifinalist banner. Fans will receive a replica poster.
Sholem Labor Day Weekend Swim and Sale, Sept. 1-2
This is it — the final weekend of outdoor swimming in 2018. But Sholem Pool is going out with a bang — 50 percent off admission for everyone all weekend. The Urbana Family Aquatic Center also has discounted rates this weekend.
Hoopeston National Sweetcorn Festival, Sept. 1-2
The skinny: It is unique in that — besides the normal carnival, demolition derby, Grand Parade and other events — they cook approximately 50 tons of sweetcorn with an antique steam engine and distribute the corn FREE.
Annual Labor Day Celebration, Sept. 2
It is colloquially known as the Candy Parade — and if you’ve ever attended, you immediately understand why it earned that nickname. Sponsored by the AFL-CIO of Champaign County, the parade begins at 10 a.m. and kicks off a day of family fun.
Arcola Broom Corn Festival, Sept. 6-8
There’s plenty to do and see, of course, but we have a personal favorite: At 3 p.m. on Sept. 7 it’s the “biggest an best parade around.” If you’ve never seen it, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Free Morning Movies Fall Series, Sept. 6-8
The series at Savoy 16 kicks off with The LEGO Movie 2, The Second Part. Movies are free for FMG Rewards members ($1 otherwise).
Danny Weinkauf is a Grammy Award winner and longtime member of They Might Be Giants. Now with the Red Pants Band, Weinkauf packs his deliciously catchy tunes with pop beats and intelligent topics that reach kids with fun facts and life lessons ranging from cloud science and botany to self-esteem and voting. And about those red pants – they WILL wear them. And you can wear them, TOO!
Matsuri features martial arts demonstrations and musical performances, local craft vendors, children’s activities, as well as the crowd favorite Masaji Terasawa, “Candy Man”, a Japanese street performer whose amezaiku creations are truly ephemeral art pieces. It ends with fireworks! (FOR REAL.) Admission is FREE; food and drink is for purchase.
Join OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois at Urbana Middle School for its free Healthy Lives 4 Kids Day. The morning will be packed with interactive games and activities the whole family can enjoy, including an obstacle course, a kid-friendly recipe station, dancing and much more to promote health and wellness in children. REGISTER HERE.
Scarecrow Festival in AMBUCS Park, Sept. 14
There will be games for the kids, a flea market, hay rack rides, barrel train rides, food, a bake sale, music, and a car and motorcycle show on the West end of the park.
LEGO Day, Sept. 14
LEGO robotics demonstrations, LEGO art and activities, and a LEGO building competition are a few of the things that the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum is hosting.
Illini Soccer vs. Colorado College, Sept. 15
CONSTRUCTION ZONE DAY! Giveaways: FREE construction hats to the first 200 fans. Entertainment for families and great discounts at the concession stand. Did we mention its free?
Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19
Free! Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate day with swash-buckling crafts, activities, and a treasure hunt at the Champaign Public Library.
The Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon Kids, Sept. 19-21
The Champaign Park District Youth Theatre presents the story of Jack and Annie’s journey in their magical tree house to the 18th century Caribbean and the time of the pirates.
Outdoor Movie Night — A Bug’s Life, Sept. 20
Venture to Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana for a free movie (and free popcorn and lemonade as long as supplies last) as part of Welcoming Week 2019. Bring a blanket/lawn chair to sit on and arrive by 6:45 p.m. to find your seat; the movie will begin promptly at 7 p.m.
100-drone Aerial Light Show, Sept. 20
The 9 pm start is a little late for the littles, but might be worth it! Check out a “musically choreographed flock of 100 drones” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois. FREE – viewable from the parking lots in Research Park.
Frozen Jr. Presented by CUTC’s Penguin Project, Sept. 20-22
From CUTC: This production is unique because all of the roles are filled by children with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other neurological disorders. They are joined on stage by their “peer mentors,” a group of children the same age without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through four months of rehearsals and the final production.
Monticellobration, Sept. 21
Downtown Monticello and Historic Courthouse Square is the site for food, live music, vendors, kids activities, a car show, train rides and plenty more. One thing is certain: Monticello knows how to throw a party.
Green View’s 4th Annual Fall Festival, Sept. 21
Free kids’ activities include pumpkin painting as part of the event at Green View Garden Center in Mahomet.
PrideFest and Parade, Sept. 27-29
The Pride Parade is Saturday at 3 p.m. but be sure to come early for the free family friendly area and Pride vendors. Details are here. But here’s a hint: bounce houses!
Prairieland Feeds Pet Fair Extravaganza, Sept. 28-29
The Savoy store’s annual event includes many live animal exhibits — the tiger is always a highlight — and plenty of fun for the kids. It’s the 29th annual pet fair, and Prairieland Feeds is celebrating with another great event. We can’t wait!