A little bit of everything in Family Picks
Talk about an eclectic lineup this weekend: football, physics, bubbles, jazz, Latin rhythms, dachshunds, dungeons and dragons. And of course, the Lawn Rangers. Need I say more?
Jazz Walk: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Meadowbrook Park, Windsor Road and Vine Street, Urbana. Free.
Experience great live music in the Wandell Sculpture Garden at Meadowbrook Park. Several jazz combos and soloists will play alongside the district’s collection of large outdoor sculptures at this free family event.
Parking is available at the Race Street entrance of the park or next door at Stone Creek Church, at the corner of Windsor and Race. (Event will be rescheduled for Saturday night if it rains.)
For information: Visit www.urbanaparks.org
Bubble Blast! Champagne in Urbana Festival, 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, south entrance of Lincoln Square Village, Urbana. Free.
Kids of all ages are invited to get soaked and soapy while having sudsy fun. The library's popular Magic Reading Carpet will be available to sit and listen to stories about bubbles!
For information: Visit www.urbanafreelibrary.org
Latin rhythms: Tiempo Libre, Opening Night Party at Krannert, 7 p.m. Friday, Krannert Center Lobby, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U. $5 per person.
A great price to enjoy Miami's Tiempo Libre, the Grammy-nominated Cuban/modern band that fuses electric Latin jazz with the rhythms of traditional songs. The group has performed at Lincoln Center, Ravinia and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, as well as Italy, Greece and Turkey. The group also opened Krannert's season in 2006.
Free activities in the lobby include balloon sculptures, caricatures from Dan Wilde, and an interactive experience called Festividad Digital, where you can play with cutting-edge creative technologies.
The event includes outdoor food tents with local specialties from Manolo’s Pizza and Empanadas, Siam Terrace, Holy Land Mediterranean Grill, Great Harvest Bread Co., Mirsung Indian Fast Food, Edible Arrangements, Mas Amigos and more.
For information, call 333-6700 or visit www.krannertcenter.com (Doors open at 6 p.m.)
Go for the sweep! 40th Annual Arcola Broom Corn Festival, Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m., Main Street, downtown Arcola.
Arcola celebrates its heritage as the "Broom Corn Capital of the World" with this annual festival, featuring broom activities, arts/crafts, free entertainment, food and 5K/10K races. It's held the weekend after Labor Day to commemorates Arcola's position in the late 19th century as a center of broom corn production.
Not to be missed: the parade at 3 p.m. Saturday with the World Famous Amazing Lawn Rangers, a "precision lawn mower drill team" that marches in formation with brooms and mowers. Humor columnist Dave Barry marched with the rangers in 1995, and Barack Obama joined the team in the 2003 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago. They were later invited to march in the 2009 Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.
For information: Call 268-4530 or visit www.arcolachamber.com/festivals.html
Are you ready for football? Illini vs. Southern Illinois University, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium. Admission charge.
Tickets ($25 to $45) are still available to the first home game of the season, an unusual night game complete with fireworks. Game-day ticket booths open at noon Saturday, or you can buy them at the Assembly Hall ticket office. Everyone needs a ticket to enter, but you can get a $5 "lap ticket" for children ages 2 and under.
Even if you don't have tickets, you and the kiddos can enjoy the pre-game tailgate festivities west of the stadium. Listen to the Marching Illini band on the steps of the steps of the stadium, check out the cool Red Grange statue, or just bring your burgers and dogs for an outdoor picnic.
Hot dog! 14th Annual Midwest Dachshund Festival, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Vermilion County Fairgrounds, Oakwood.
Couldn't resist this one: doggie parades, costume contests, wiener races, raffle baskets, vendors, hot dogs and more! Sponsored by Dachshund Delights and Dachshund Rescue of North America.
For information: Call 417-394-9914 or visit http://midwestdachshundfestival.com/
Dungeons & Dragons: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, The Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St., U. Free.
It's Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day, and you're invited to come play at the library. If you've never played the classic fantasy game (like me), don't worry: they'll teach you. Bring a pencil and they'll supply the rest.
For information: Call 367-4405 or visit http://urbanafreelibrary.org/
Physics is Fun: 2 to 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., C. Free.
Science is fascinating and fun when the Physics Van stops by for a program of high-energy demonstrations! The van is an outreach project of the University of Illinois Physics Department.
For information: Call 217-403-2030 or visit http://www.champaign.org
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 email@example.com, or use the N-G online calendar. Look for it on the upper right-hand side of the News-Gazette home page, www.news-gazette.com.
Photo: Terry Overman of Gibson City pushes his "Honest Abe" mower as he and other members of the Lawn Rangers prepare for the 2009 inauguration parade in Washington, D.C. News-Gazette file photo by John Dixon