Harvest Moon, other choices show spring has sprung
April is a busy month in the area, with people from all over the world coming to Ebertfest. We'll have many stories about that in the next few weeks, but how about another movie option? The drive-in.
"Captain America" and "Divergent" open the new season at Gibson City's Harvest Moon Drive-In, which faced closure only last year as the industry moved to expensive new digital projectors.
At one of the few such theaters left in the state, owner Mike Harroun said Friday's premiere marks the 25th year for him, and the 60th anniversary of Harvest Moon.
"We'll have to stay open 76 more years with easy monthly payments," Harroun joked, to cover the cost of improvements.
Here's something you might not notice, but the employees will appreciate: a heated ticket booth for the first time.
For live theater fans, there's the Mom's Weekend musical production of "Rent" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Ticket prices are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.
"Rent" is the Illini Union Board's 104th annual presentation of a completely student produced, directed and acted musical.
You can also see the beautifully revamped Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St., U, where the play will hold sway in the theater.
World's Largest Softball Tailgate
The 11th annual World's Largest Softball Tailgate will be held Saturday before the Illini softball team's game against nationally ranked Nebraska.
Fans should be ready to start their tailgates at 10 a.m., with the Illini taking on the Cornhuskers at 1 p.m.
An opening band starts the live music at 10:30 a.m.
The tailgate will also feature inflatables, kid activities and a jersey sale featuring Illini softball jerseys from every season of Illinois softball dating back to the inaugural season, 2000.
Eichelberger Field is at 1201 W. Florida Ave., U.
More information is at fightingillini.com
DoCha, downtown Champaign's free chamber music festival, is now in its fifth season, All events will take place at the Orpheum Theatre as part of DoCha's partnership with the Orpheum Children's Science Museum.
All events are free and open to the public.
Food and beverages will be sold at each evening event.
Young People's Concerts are at 10 a.m. April 11 at 1 p.m. April 12 at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum, 346 N. Neil St., C.
A full schedule is at docha.org/calendar/
April 4-6, 11-13
The Red Mask Players present the comedy "Amateurs" by Tom Griffin at the Kathryn Randolph Theater, 601 N. Vermilion St., Danville.
Following the opening night of the Timberly Troupers' musical about undertakers, a couple hosts a gathering of wacky actors and friends.
To make reservations, visit redmaskplayers.com/reservations.htm.
April 17-May 3
Monty Python's "Spamalot" is lovingly ripped off from a classic film comedy.
It retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, and features a bevy of beautiful showgirls, cows, killer rabbits and French people, a press release says.
Performances are April 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, at 7:30 p.m., April 27 at 3 p.m. and May 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Parkland Theater.
Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors (55+), and $10 each for groups of 15 or more.
April 17 & 25
Parkland Theatre offers its "pay what you can night" on April 17 and "half-price night" on April 25. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online at http://www.parkland.edu/theatre or by calling 351-2528.
Parkland is at 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C.
Circus in Mahomet
The Kelly-Miller circus is coming to Mahomet.
Advance tickets are at any Mahomet Bank or the Mahomet IGA. A child's advance ticket is $6 and an adult advance ticket is $10.
Performances are at 2 and 5 p.m.
For more information, call the Mahomet Chamber of Commerce at 586-3165.
Ah, those drive-in days: We asked four readers for their drive-in movie memories
"For several years, I brought high school students from around the state to the drive-in one evening during a weeklong energy seminar. The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in Theatre was an amazing host! I remember one year in particular. Before the movie started, the high school students went to the front area where the children play and jumped on the picnic tables and began doing scenes from various scenes from Shakespeare. It was epic!" — Carol Timms, Champaign
"Mom used to drive us back and forth to Crystal Lake pool in the '60s on I-74. From the bridge we could see the drive-in on north 45 and catch snippets of movies each night. Heat lightning in the sky, 90 degrees, our suits sticking to the car's plastic covered seats. It was magical." — Gail Glende Rost, Champaign
"Watching 'Apollo 13' under the stars at Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in Theatre ... seriously, could there be any better place to see a space movie than under the stars? — Cara Day, Urbana
"Oh, yes, wearing PJs to the drive-ins. Who doesn't remember THAT? And remember how the drive-in screens seemed to be everywhere? We had at least four that I can think of in the Quad Cities." — Melissa Mitchell, Champaign