NOTE: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Human Festival of Savoy has been canceled for 2020. Festival organizers are planning to host the event in 2021.
A new festival in Savoy this spring will give attendees the opportunity to meet, mingle, play, compete and dance. And almost all of The Human Festival of Savoy will be free.
It’s the brainchild of noted Champaign-Urbana photographer Larry Kanfer, who moved to Savoy from Champaign a few years ago. Through conversations with residents, Kanfer discovered that Savoy “is like a little gem,” but that many people around C-U might have a different concept of the village.
“There’s a disconnect because it’s such a neat community but it doesn’t have a sense of place,” he said. “What can help make a sense of place in Savoy?”
So the idea for a festival was born. The Human Festival of Savoy is scheduled for May 30. It has three components, labeled by organizers as “Connect, Compete, Celebrate.”
- Connect: Open to anyone, the festival will offer a free “passport” — which must be picked up at any number of Savoy businesses — that includes a page of complimentary activities at numerous Savoy entertainment options. For example, you can bowl for free at Old Orchard Lanes, skate for free at Skateland or practice Tae Kwon Do for free at HMD Academy, among other options. Those activities are from noon-6 p.m.
- Compete: Willard Airport’s FlightStar portal will be the site of The Human Race 5K on the Runway and Family Fun Run. The Fun Run, which begins at 7:30, and the 5K, which starts at 8 p.m., will be contested on the runways, which will be illuminated as dusk falls.
- Celebrate: To end the evening, a community celebration is scheduled for a hangar at FlightStar featuring the Tons ‘O Fun Band, line dancing (with instructors), food trucks and kids’ activities such as bounce houses and face painting. Activities in the hangar will take place from 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Only the running events require a fee to participate. The 5K will be limited to 400 runners and online registration is open here.
“This is not about corn, and it’s not about brooms,” Kanfer said. “It’s really about people. It’s a community of really amazing people, and you see that when you’re in Savoy.
“A lot of the conflict in the world is because people don’t talk to each other. You see people looking at the phones when they should be talking across the table at dinner. Everything surrounding this revolves around trying to get people to connect.”
More details, including the locations for obtaining a passport, are available at the festival’s website. The festival is also seeking volunteers; those interested can visit the event’s Facebook page to reach the organizers. A separate form for volunteers will appear on the website soon.
The Human Festival follows the departure of the Orchard Days festival, which was hosted in Savoy for five years ending in 2014.
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