Champaign County, Ill. (WCIA)

School’s back in session but that doesn’t mean that the community isn’t hopping with activity. September brings one of the busiest months of the year with festivals, events, and fun ways to enjoy our community. Visit Champaign County has a few fun ideas.

Start off this Labor Day weekend with the annual Arthur Cheese Festival. When a festival is centered around cheese, you know you have to go. They’ll have a cheese parade, cheese curling, cheese eating competitions, and so much more. It’s happening Saturday through Monday so you have plenty of chances to visit.

At the beginning of each season, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts hosts an incredible Opening Night celebration. This year is a return to normal with six live performances during the evening on Friday, September 9, all free to the public. They’ll have interactive performances like Cotton Candy Theremin where you’ll make your own cotton candy to create visuals for the performance. Discover a mariachi band, Brazilian percussion, New Orleans brass, and much more.

That same weekend, the Arcola Broomcorn Festival returns with tons of activities for the family. Make your own brooms, shop from vendors, take part in the 5 or 10K, and don’t miss the big parade with the famous Lawn Rangers!

Also happening that Saturday, the 10th, the CU Black & African Arts Festival returns to Lincoln Square Mall. This will be a full day of performances, kids activities, food, and vendors. This is an excellent, immersive event into culture that is a must visit.

The following weekend, a new arts festival is happening in Champaign. West Side Arts, happening September 17 at West Side Park, is a new event from Champaign Park District and 40 North. Dozens of artists will showcase their work so you can pick up something new for yourself or get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping.

In Monticello, Railroad Days returns to the Monticello Railway Museum on the 17–18. You’ll have unlimited rides on their impressive, vintage trains throughout the weekend for the cost of a single fair. Whether you hop on the riding pedal cars, the Caboose, or the motor cars, you’ll get your fill of trains all weekend.

The following week, Pygmalion is back in Urbana bringing live music, book and poetry readings, tech, and the Made Fest. Spread across multiple venues at the Rose Bowl, Nola’s, 25 O’Clock Brewery, Analog Wine Bar, Canopy Club, and Krannert Center, you’ll find dozens of opportunities to take part in this event. Get a festival pass to make the most of the weekend.

If you just want a fun activity to celebrate fall, check out the corn maze at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch. The 10-acre maze is a mythical theme this year, which you can explore and find various checkpoints along the way. If you’re really brave, do the moonlight maze with your flashlight!