We are nearly through our first month of summer, but there are plenty of festivals and events coming up that you don’t want to miss.
This Saturday, catch the fireworks before the 4th of July with one of the largest displays in the Midwest. Head down to Arthur for their Freedom Celebration, which not only has phenomenal fireworks, they also showcase skydivers, flyovers and a parade, starting at 1pm. Nearly 40,000 people make their way to Arthur for this event, so you want to get there early. Tolono Fun Days will also be putting on a show with fireworks, a parade and tons of music and activities for the whole family.
Then we head into the 4th of July on a Thursday for what will be a long weekend for many, and with that we have a lot of communities with celebrations. Get a jump start on the fireworks on the 3rd at Monticello’s incredible evening show at Lodge Park. They’ll also have food and vendors on site to enjoy. Rantoul will also host their Freedom Celebration on the 3rd, with Boss Hogg performing in the evening before the fireworks. The Champaign County Freedom Celebration will return to campus for it’s 70th year with a 5K, a parade and of course, fireworks and live music in the evening. Fireworks also return to Lake of the Woods for their Light Up the Lake freedom fest, with family-friendly activities during the day and the fireworks around 9pm.
Summer also means outdoor entertainment. Friday Night Live happens every Friday in Downtown Champaign. Four corners feature local performers at 6 and 7pm, from rock, jazz, blues, hula hooping, belly dancing and much more. It’s also a great time to scope out the thousands of outdoor seats in the area so you can grab that drink and dinner and have an incredible evening out. And a big one on July 19th, Krannert Center brings their Outside at Research Park concert back with the Alma Afrobeat Ensemble with highly danceable music. They’ll also have food trucks and community partners on hand to check out.
When not at events, we have some fun ideas to spend your summer days.
Take an ice cream tour in our community! We have lots of options from Jarlings to Red Bicycle Ice Cream to El Oasis in Urbana and Yo-Yo’s in Mahomet for a lighter choice.
Other summer attractions open up this week including the Lake House at Crystal Lake Park, where you can rent paddle boats or canoes for some time out on the water. And now that school is out, you can bring the kids to Prairie Farm to visit some goats, sheep, llamas and many other animals.
And if you want to escape the heat, treat the family to a show in the air-conditioning at the Planetarium at Parkland College. Every Tuesday and Thursday, they have shows during the days for kids, and on Friday nights, they offer up shows at 7 and 8pm.