CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A popular summer music festival in downtown Champaign is returning to the community on July 15, this time under new management.
The Champaign Center Partnership (CCP) announced that it is the new organizer of Street Fest, which closes the streets down and invites attendees experience live music performances on stage. Since 2011, officials said the event has been previously organized by the Champaign Park District.
“Champaign Park District is excited to see Champaign Center Partnership grow this event through its wonderful partnerships with local businesses,” said Sarah Sandquist, Executive Director of the Champaign Park District. “We look forward to working with CCP to support Street Fest this summer.”
The CCP said the public can enjoy one-hour music sets from bands beginning at 5 p.m. on a stage located at the intersection of Walnut and Chester, in front of Esquire Lounge. Officials said bands will be announced at a later date.
The CCP said there will also be a community zone with local vendors and a family zone with free activities for kids.
“Street Fest is a great experience for people from the community to come and enjoy all downtown has to offer,” said Jackie Sampson, co-owner of Esquire Lounge. “It helps our business reach new customers because hundreds of people stop in to order food or drinks, and many of them may not have been to Esquire before. It is a crazy, busy night for us.”
There will also be a new culinary competition in conjunction with the event called the Downtown Throwdown. Officials said downtown restaurants are invited to participate in an inaugural pork and mac-n-cheese competition by creating special sampler dishes to be offered during the event.
Judges will be visiting businesses to select the Best Pork and Best Mac-n-Cheese dishes, officials said. Members of the public will also be able select the winners of the People’s Choice Award.
“Participating downtown businesses can offer special dishes for judges and customers to enjoy during the event,” said Xander Hazel, Executive Director of the CCP. “We want to give event-goers a chance to explore and experience downtown businesses, and we want to recognize restaurants for preparing great food in this friendly competition.”
More information about the event can be found online.