Family Picks: Last blast of summer

Family Picks: Last blast of summer

It's a three-day weekend, so take the time to enjoy a last blast of summer: a swim at Sholem Aquatic Center, a cheese festival, or a Symphony at Sunset. And who doesn't love a parade -- especially the one with all the candy?

How much cheese?: 38th Amish Country Cheese Festival, all day Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, all day Monday, downtown Arthur. Free admission.

You can't do better than 600 pounds of free cheese and crackers, not to mention Cheese Eating Nationals and Cheese Curling. Plus lots more: Amish buggy rides, live entertainment, a free sub sandwich giveaway, car and motorcycle show, monster truck rides, 5K and Fun Run, crafts, foods, kids’ zone with clowns, inflatables, pony rides, games and kiddie tractor pull.

For a complete schedule and more information: Call 800-722-6474 or visit

Harvest time! Kids Garden Club Garden Harvest, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Discovery Garden, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 600 N Lombard, Mahomet. Admission charge.

Help harvest the Discovery Garden and take some veggies home. Make spaghetti sauce and eat a plate of pasta. The fee is $5 per child, and registration is required.

For information: Call 586-2612 or visit

One last swim: 11a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday through Monday, Sholem Aquatic Center, 2205 W. Sangamon Drive, Champaign. Admission charge.

The pool closes after Labor Day, so it's your last chance to play in the pools and water slides -- although it could be chilly. Monday may be your best shot, with a high forecast at 84 degrees rather than the 70s on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission is $6 per person ($9 nonresidents), or $4 after 5 p.m. ($6 for nonresidents). Ages 3 and under are free.

For information: Call 398-2581 or visit

Symphony at Sunset: 5 to 9:45 p.m. Sunday, Dodds Park, Mattis Avenue and Parkland Way, Champaign. Admission charge.

Join the Champaign Park District and Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra for an evening of music and family fun. Gates open at 5 p.m.,  and pre-concert entertainment includes an instrument "petting zoo" and The Duke of Uke at 5:45 p.m. The concert starts at 7:15 p.m. with a salute to men and women in uniform. After intermission enjoy music from your favorite cartoons—
Looney Tunes to the Simpsons.

Admission is $20 per vehicle at the entrance. Ice cream, food and wine are available for purchase. Chaired seating is also available for an additional $5 per person.

VIP seating is $60 per person and includes a catered dinner with wine. Tables seat 10. Call the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra office for tickets: 351-9139.

For information: Call 398-2550 or visit

Candy, candy candy! Champaign County AFl-CIO Labor Day Parade and Celebration, 10 a.m. Monday, Urbana. Free.

The parade (my kids' favorite because of all the candy) starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of Illinois and Broadway in Urbana, continues south to Washington Street, then east to Lierman Avenue and north on Lierman to Brookens Drive. One highlight: watching the ironworkers climb the steel beams.

Following the parade, a celebration in Prairie Park on East Washington Street includes inflatable games for children, food, beverages and music by the Kilborn Alley Blues Band.

For information: Call 352-1741


Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Friday for upcoming family friendly events, pulled from our News-Gazette online calendar, e3 magazine and other sources.

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,

Photo:  The Giant Cheese Maze was a new addition to last year's Amish Country Cheese Festival in Arthur, which runs Saturday morning through Monday afternoon. News-Gazette file photo

Blog Photo

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