Want to get outside this weekend? Family Picks has it covered

Want to get outside this weekend? Family Picks has it covered

You have no excuses for staying indoors this weekend, with a gorgeous forecast and lots of outdoor events. From music to sweet corn to a crazy obstacle course, it’s time to get outside! Top it off with a kid-friendly concert Sunday afternoon.

Sweet corn! 36th annual Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, downtown Urbana. Free.

Feast on 30,000 ears of sweet corn, lots of food vendors, family activities (including inflatables and baby animals from Decatur's Scovill Zoo), professional wrestling, the annual Motor Muster Car Show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and three stages of musical entertainment.

The main stage includes The Brat Pack, Tons ‘O’ Fun Band and the Boat Drunks on Friday and Survivor, Lou Dibello Band and the Feudin’ Hillbillys on Saturday.

For information: Call 344-8224 or 344-3872, visit the festival website or check the special pullout section in Thursday’s News-Gazette.

Farm progress show: Half Century of Progress, through Sunday, National Aviation Center Airport, Rantoul. Free admission.

Gates open at 7 a.m. daily for the 2011 show, which will feature “Double Trouble” (also known as “Big Blue”), a 20-ton custom-built tractor, as well as music, parades, horse pull, vendors, raffles, demonstrations and drawings.

Family highlights include the parades at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; a kids pedal tractor pull at noon Saturday; and “Big Blue” demonstrations at 2 p.m. Friday.

For information: Call 595-5000 or visit www.halfcenturyofprogress.org

Listen to the music: Sangamon River Music Festival, Friday and Saturday, Main Street, Mahomet. Free.

Head to downtown Mahomet for carnival rides, bingo, a car show and lots of music. Don’t miss the parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by the Ronald McDonald Magic Show at 11:30 a.m. The American Legion will also host a fish fry on Friday and a pancake-and-sausage breakfast and pork chop dinner on Saturday. Bands include King’s Highway and Ryan Ideus and Feudin’ Hillbillys on Friday evening, and ApologetiX, Renegade, Pop Rocks and The Blooze Brothers on Saturday.

For information: Call 586-3165 or visit www.mahometchamberofcommerce.com

Bats at the Bridge: 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, Elks Lake Pavilion, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 109 S. Lake of the Woods Road, Mahomet. Admission charge.

Learn about these fascinating and often misunderstood mammals. A short presentation will be followed by a drive to the covered bridge to look for the bats living there.

Registration is required, and the cost is $2, or free for children 2 and younger.

For information: Call 896-2455 or visit the forest preserve’s website

What sayest thou? Illinois Renaissance Festival. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Ellsworth Park, 10 Oakwood Ave., Danville. Admission charge.

Step back in time to hear performers dancing and singing, smell the aromas of the marketplace and see knights on horseback in the joust. Activities include a catapult contest, monkey rope bridge, dragon stories, wine and cheese,  jousting and more.

Admission is $6, and free for children under 5 and active duty/retired military with IDs.

For information: Call 799-2053 or visit www.illinoisrenfaire.com

Quilts! 50th annual Arthur Mennonite Relief Sale, Saturday and Sunday, Otto Center, 1 mile south of Arthur.

This annual sale features auctions with handmade quilts and locally crafted Amish wood furniture and lots of good food (pulled pork dinner, pancake and sausage breakfast, barbeque chicken lunch). For the kids, activities starting at 8 a.m. Saturday include a train ride around the grounds, a space walk, and a children’s auction at 10 a.m.

Proceeds support the Mennonite Central Committee, a cooperative relief and service agency in Akron, Pennsylvania.

For information: Call 543-2994 or visit http://arthurreliefsale.mennonite.net/

Car-X Crazy K: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Champaign County Fairgrounds, Urbana. Admission charge

In this new twist on a 5K fundraiser, participants will race over, around, under and through 5 kilometers of varied obstacles and challenges at the fairgrounds. All proceeds will benefit eight local charities. Runners and spectators can enjoy live music by The Brat Pack, The Boat Drunks and Sister Groove and the Cross Town Jam, plus food and drinks.
Spectator passes are available for $20 and come with a voucher for a free meal by Seven Saints, Jupiter's or Billy Barooz.

For information: Visit http://carxcrazyk.com/

Are you ready for some football? Illini Fan Appreciation Day, 10 a.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Champaign. Free.

Fans can enter at 10 a.m. and watch the UI football team's "game-day rehearsal" from the west stands and see the Marching Illini perform.They can then get autographs and take photos with players from approximately 11 a.m. to  12:30 p.m.  in the Great West Hall of the stadium.  Team posters will be available for players to sign, or fans can bring their own items.

Free parking will be available in the northwest lot of Assembly Hall.

For information: Visit this website

Giant (remote) planes! Champaign County Radio Control Club Giant Plane Fly-in, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Radio Control Club field, U.S. 150 about 2 miles west of Mattis Avenue, Champaign. Free.

Come see the giant radio-controlled planes and the International Miniature Aircraft Association District VI “Mini Fest."

For information: Call 355-6153 or visit www.ccrcc.info

Family, Fun and Fitness Walk: 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana. Free.

Join C-U Safe Routes to School Project for a free, fun walk through the park starting at 10 a.m. Lots of free activities and giveaways, including goodie bags to the first 150 people to arrive, free snacks on the trail and free ice cream treat after the walk. A DJ and inflatable fun will follow the walk.

For information: Call 898-2809 or visit www.cu-srtsproject.com

Weekend Wizard: “Do It Yourself Weekend Wizard,” 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. 346 N. Neil St., C. Admission charge.

Make, create and collaborate on do-it-yourself projects and science experiments. The event is free with membership, or pay $2 to $3 admission (children under 2 free).

For information: Call 352-5895 or visit www.orpheumkids.com

Vintage Base Ball: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Kennekuk Meadows, Kennekuk County Park, 22296-A Henning Road, Danville (follow the baseball signs).

The Vermilion Voles Vintage Base Ball Club will have its final home game of the season against the St. Louis Brown Stockings. It’s the last chance this season to see baseball as it was played in the year of its birth, 1858.

For information: Call 333-9436 or visit www.volesvbbc.org

Rock on! Rock Art for Kids, 2 to 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St., U. Free.

Let your imaginations fly and create art on a rock! Bring your own rock (the size of your fist or smaller) and the library will supply paints. Event is for children age 5 and up.

For information: Call 367-4069 or visit www.urbanafreelibrary.org

Free books! 1:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, FriendShop Used Book Store, Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., C.

The Library Friends invite all students, from elementary to college to lifelong learners, to visit the FriendShop and choose one regular-priced book to take home free on Saturday and Sunday. No purchase is necessary, but the giveaway does not include individually priced “special books.”

For information: Call Champaign Public Library Friends at 403-5395 or visit www.champaign.org

Kids music! Justin Roberts and the Not-Ready-For-Naptime Players, 3 p.m. Sunday, SODO Theatre, 114 S. Neil St., C.

This interactive concert, sponsored by Chambanamoms.com, should be fun for kids and adults alike, with lots of audience participation and improv. Roberts, 41, an Iowa native who now lives in Chicago, is one of several alternative-rock musicians who've released albums for kids.   His seventh and latest album, “Jungle Gym,” earned a Grammy nomination. 

Tickets are $10 per person, with family four-packs priced at $35. Tickets are available online at this website http://bit.ly/nCKtcc

For information: Visit www.justinroberts.org or www.chambanamoms.com

Gospel Jazz Fest: 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Hessel Park, Champaign. Free.


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. To submit an item, e-mail me at jwurth@news-gazette.com, or use the calendar on the News-Gazette home page, www.news-gazette.com.


Top: UI students Dylan Bloomquist and Mark Colgan empty a freshly cooked batch of corn into a serving bin at the 2010 Urbana Sweet Corn Festival in Urbana. Robert K. O'Daniell/The News-Gazette

Members of the Paragon Jousting and Adventure Theater group, Aurora, N.Y., will bring its knights and horses to demonstrate the skill of jousting at this weekend's Renaissance Festival in Danville. Furnished by Illinois Renaissance Festival

Jim Barden Jr. of Urbana holds back his plane as Chris Boley of Urbana runs up the engine prior to a flight at the 2006 Champaign County Radio Control Club Giant Scale Airplane Fly-in west of Champaign. Robert K. O'Daniell/The News-Gazette

Greg 'Legs' Green shows off his Vermilion Voles Vintage Base Ball Club uniform in this 2006 photo. Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette

Justin Roberts photo copyright Todd Rosenberg 2010


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