Summer is winding down — guess you could say it’s “over,” but that doesn’t officially happen until Sept. 22 — and it’s time to start looking forward to cooler evenings and cool activities. We’ll do our best, as always, to line you up with some interesting things to do this month in spite of the pandemic.
Thanks to Busey Bank for presenting our list of things to do in September.
Hoopeston National Sweetcorn Festival, Sept. 2-6
If you’re missing the now-defunct Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, Hoopeston’s annual event will certainly be an apt replacement. In addition to the usual festival-type events, the National Sweetcorn Festival features about 50 tons — yep, we said 50 tons — of free, delicious sweetcorn to be distributed to patrons’ bellies. If you’ve never been, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Illini volleyball vs. Washington, Sept. 3
The 3-0 Illini open their home season at Huff Hall against the Huskies, eager to bask in a return to the fierce homecourt advantage they enjoyed through the 2019 season — but not in 2020-21, when the season was pushed back until the spring and did not include fans in the stands. Now, you can back the Illini in-person again, though you must wear a mask. Game time is 8 p.m. (If you can’t make it, the match is slated to be televised by Big Ten Network.) The Illini are at home on Saturday afternoon as well.
It’s the return of the “Candy Parade”! After a one-year, COVID-induced hiatus, the popular Labor Day fixture is back at 10 a.m. and ready to celebrate workers and, well, candy. (If you’re a C-U newbie: This parade is known for distributing massive amounts of candy to onlookers.) Make sure you bring a bag. A big, big bag.
Join the Urbana Arts and Culture Program and The Urbana Free Library for Cinema & Sound, an outdoor event series that combines film screenings with live music. This month’s free showing is the animated film “Soul” with live music from Ther’Up.Y. Held in the Busey Bank parking lot in downtown Urbana.
Arcola Broom Corn Festival, Sept. 10-11
It’s not easy to pick a highlight of this annual event, but perhaps it is the unique parade, which features, among other entries, the famous “Lawn Rangers,” a group of folks with lawn mowers. Trust us, you’ll want to check it out.
Horizon Hobby RC Fest, Sept. 10-11
Held in Monticello, the RC Fest is a large gathering for radio-control enthusiasts. Remote-controlled cars, trucks, aircraft, drones, all of it. A nighttime air show and fireworks show are among the Saturday highlights.
Meadowbrook Park Jazz Walk, Sept. 10
This is a super-neat event, featuring a variety of musical acts doing their thing while spaced among the walking grounds of Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. Free!
Mahomet Soda Fest, Sept. 18
If you like craft sodas, you’re in luck. You won’t find a bigger bonanza than this one. Dig in and sample as many flavorable sodas as you can. There are kids games, live music and inflatables, among other to-do items.
C-U Black and African Arts Festival, Sept. 18
Urbana’s Lincoln Square Mall is the site of this free, daylong event that features live music, food, arts and culture of the black and African communities.
C-U Pride Parade, Sept. 25
Another parade! The Pride Parade annually is one of the area’s most colorful, inventive, happy events on the calendar. The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. in downtown Urbana and is part of the wider, multi-day C-U Pride Fest.
And, lucky for you, we have all the details right here! Pick some apples, dazzle yourself in a corn maze or find the perfect pumpkin — September and its temperate temperatures are ideal for outdoor fun.