Shop, pirouette or gaze at the stars: weekend Family Picks

Shop, pirouette or gaze at the stars: weekend Family Picks

If you like garage sales, the arts, or watching the skies, you and your family will have plenty to pick from this weekend.

Buy, buy, buy: Monticello and Mahomet will host community-wide garage sales this weekend, with more than 125 sellers overall. Most sales are Friday and Saturday, though some will open Thursday evening and some are Saturday-only.

You can find a map of the sellers, with hours listed, inside the Mahomet Citizen and the Piatt County Journal Republican, which are sponsoring the sales. Both papers cost 75 cents.

The Citizen is available at the Mahomet CVS, IGA, Walgreen’s, Apollo Mart (on Illinois 47) and the Marathon and Casey’s on Prairieview Road. Pick up the Journal-Republican at the newspaper’s office at 118 E. Washington St.,  Monticello (the corner of Washington and Independence).

For information: Call the Journal-Republican at 762-2511 or the Citizen at 586-2512 (Thursday or Friday) or visit

Decluttering? If you’d rather sell, you can drop off your items for next week’s Champaign County Human Society garage sale at the Champaign County Fairgrounds.

They want your good usable items — but no large furniture, magazines, large kitchen appliances, sinks, windows, outdated computer equipment, paint, chemicals, tires or remainders from other sales. All donated items are tax-deductible.

Items can be dropped off at Kesler Hall, at the corner of Coler and Fairview avenues in Urbana at the following times:
Thursday: noon – 7 p.m.
Friday: noon – 7 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: noon – 3 p.m.

For information: Call 344-7297 or visit

Ballet Showcase: Pirouette over to the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., C, to watch ballet dancers from the Champaign Park District Dance Program demonstrate their poise and technique. The free event is from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Saturday at the library, 200 W. Green St., C.

For information: Call 403-2030 or visit

Attention budding Picassos: A free art lesson will be offered at the Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St., U, from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Maureen Walrath and Emily Denis, students in the University of Illinois School of Art and Design, will help children create abstract paper collages incorporating color, shape, texture and pattern and invent imaginary characters or animals from their designs.

For information: call 367-4069 or visit

Life on the prairie:
The Early American Museum in Mahomet will present “Prairie Stories,” a hands-on, theater-in-the-round event for the whole family, at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Listeners will travel through time as they hear stories of life on the prairie, the evolution of the landscape, and settlers’ accounts of how the land was changed to be productive.

The museum is in the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 600 N Lombard St., Mahomet. The price is $2.50 per person or $5 per family. Registration is required.

For information, call 586-2612

An evening under the stars: See the heavens through the largest public telescope in east central Illinois at the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society’s “Skywatch” event, 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the group’s observatory southwest of Champaign.

Weather permitting, other Skywatch sessions are scheduled for June 19 and July 17 and Aug. 7. (Skywatch sessions are canceled if the weather is cloudy.)

Directions: Take I-57 south to the Monticello Road exit. Go west on Monticello Road for 1.4 miles to crossroad 700E. Go south for 1 mile and you will see a sign for the observatory.

For information: Call 351-2567 or visit

Is that the Big Dipper? Explore the familiar night sky at the show “In My Backyard” from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Parkland College William M. Staerkel Planetarium, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C.

Through use of story-telling, poetry and songs, children are encouraged to participate in the show while learning about the seasons, Ursa Major, planets, meteors, and the Moon. The show is narrated by Fred Penner. Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for children.

For information: Call 351-2568 or 351-2446 (show hotline), or visit

DNA fingerprinting: If you’re concerned about your child’s safety, a free “DNA LifePrint Child Safety Event” will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Worden Martin Nissan and Subaru of Champaign County, 1404 N. Dunlap Ave., Savoy.

It will offer free “biometric fingerprinting” for children, the same technique used by federal agencies and law enforcement, which allows children’s fingerprints to be immediately submitted into the FBI data base as soon as a child is reported missing.

The event’s sponsor will keep no records on file; all information will go home with parents. They will receive their child’s 10-digit fingerpint profile, a high-resolution color digital photograph of their child, a child safety journal to give law enforcement officials vital information, and a home DNA identification kit.

For information: Call 352-8910

Closing note
. The Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center will be closed for maintenance for two weeks, from Sunday through June 5. The pool will reopen June 6.

News-Gazette file photo: A galaxy is projected on the dome of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Thursday afternoon for upcoming family friendly events, pulled from our News-Gazette online calendar, e3 magazine and other sources. I’ll also do a quick radio update of our “Family Picks” at 4:50 p.m. every Thursday on WDWS-AM 1400.

Do you have an item you'd like to submit? Email me at, or use the N-G online calendar. Look for it on the upper right-hand side of the News-Gazette home page,

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