A folksy Family Picks (warning: Christmas events included)

A folksy Family Picks (warning: Christmas events included)

If you love music, dance and folk arts, this is the weekend for you. Downtown Urbana will be rockin' with the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival. And it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas events are sneaking in with craft shows and a holiday walk. Too early for you? Take a tour of Japan House or see a rodeo!

Folk music: Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival, Friday and Saturday, downtown Urbana. Mix of free and ticketed events.

With music, dance and folk arts, this festival is designed to celebrate American traditional arts and engage people across generations and ethnic communities in participate. Events are scheduled at The Iron Post, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, The Rose Bowl, 88 Broadway and more. All morning and afternoon activities on Saturday are free, with workshops, jams and family events.

A $25 festival wristband covers all ticketed events. (Children 12 and younger are free.) Tickets for single venues are $5-$10 at the door.

Some highlights for kids (all free, no wristband necessary):

Thumbs-up Puppets! Red wagons, puppets (including Ferdinand the Bull) and fun stories for all ages with Mimi Larson. 10 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at 88 Broadway at Lincoln Square.

— Try-it Tent: Stop by outside 88 Broadway for mini-lessons on a variety of instruments, taught by experienced local folk musicians. Different instruments are featured every hour. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

— Knitting: Any child 7 and up can learn how to knit and perhaps make a great holiday gift in the process. Local textile artist Lisa Clemons will introduce beginners to knitting. All ages welcome. 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Independent Media Center.

— Musical Mayhem Parade: Gather at the Try-it tent outside 88 Broadway for a zany parade led by the Deep Fried Pickle Project. Bring instruments, costumes, puppets, floats and a sense of humor. Gather at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, parade at 3:50 p.m.

— Folk Art for All Ages: Join artist Lori Caterini in making and decorating a festive Day of the Dead sugar skull to take home. Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Independent Media Center.

— Folk Dance Try-It Sessions: Sample a wide variety of fun folk dances led by members of local community dance organizations, including Yiddish Dance, Polka, English Country Dance, International Folk Dance. 2 to 4 p.m., Independent Media Center.

— Storytelling: Hear stories new and old from storytellers Kim Sheehan, Camille Born, Hal Southern, Elaine Bearden and Ben Rosenfield. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St.

For information: Call 493-4654 or 352-5570 or visit www.folkandroots.org or this page for specific events.

Chris Cringle Crafts Sale: 3 to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, University of Illinois Assembly Hall, 1800 S. First St., C. Admission charge.

The 32th annual sale will feature more than 150 booths on all three levels of the Assembly Hall, with handcrafted items by local and area artists. Includes free coat check and package check, a rest area, and a refreshment stand with sandwiches and drinks.

Admission is $5, which includes parking and five entries for door prizes. Children under 6 are admitted free, and strollers are allowed. (Fair warning: This event tends to get crowded, so navigating the aisles with a stroller can be tricky.)

For information:  Call 333-5000 or visit the Assembly Hall website


Georgetown holidays: 21st annual Holiday Gathering. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Georgetown. Free.

Follow the green Christmas trees, pick up your map and get a start on your Christmas shopping at this annual event, which continues next weekend. Enjoy the shops, artisans and food. Sign up for free drawings at each Christmas tree both weekends. And this weekend only, visit the Kris Kringle Treasures Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Georgetown Community Center, 220 E. West St., Georgetown.

For information: Call 662-2720 or visit the event's Facebook page


Yee-haw! Central States Rodeo Finals, 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Gordyville USA Auction Arena, 2205 County Road 3000 N, Gifford. Admission charge.

Performances include top rodeo cowboys & cowgirls from surrounding states. A western trade show will kick off each evening at 5 p.m. and Sunday at noon, with food vendors & western apparel. Brushfire, a band that has opened for Lady Antebellum and Alan Jackson, will play Friday and Saturday night after the rodeo.

Tickets are $5 for children ages 5-12 and $10 for adults, in advance; $6 and $12 at the door; children under 4, free.

For information: Call 568-7117 or visit www.gordyvilleusa.com

Japan House: Fall open house, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, University of Illinois Japan House, 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., U.  Free.

Have you visited this Asian oasis in the UI’s Arboretum? Get a tour of the outdoor gardens with designer and builder James Bier at 1 and 3 p.m. See a presentation on kogo, the tiny Japanese incense containers used in the tea ceremony, by A. Doyle Moore, professor emeritus and tea master, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tea ceremonies will be performed throughout the day, and you can buy a ticket to participate for $5 at the door.

For information: Call 244-9934 or visit the Japan House website


Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Friday for weekend family-friendly events. 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. For more local events, exhibits and things to do, check out Thursday’s e3 magazine.


Becca Denno of Homer gets a lesson on bass playing from Jim Hand of Tolono at the 2010 Champaign-Urbana Folk & Roots Festival in downtown Urbana. Robert K. O’Daniell/The News-Gazette

Amy Greer of Chilicothe hangs s snowman ornament at her Covered Wagon Crafts booth before doors open to the public at the 2007 Chris Cringle Craft Sale at the Assembly Hall. Heather Coit/The News-Gazette

A crowd of nearly 300 watches Japan House director Kimiko Gunji (left) and Sumie Burten during a tea ceremony commemorating the victims of the Japanese disaster at the Japan House last March. Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette


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