Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation

Q&A with Krannert director Mike Ross

The 2008-09 season at Krannert Center will usher in the start of Mike Ross's 11th year there as director. He's been recognized internationally as an arts presenter, and has turned Krannert Center into the village square. So we thought it was time to ask him some questions. He provided his answers by e-mail:


Krannert Center's schedule is huge on artistic diversity

If you want a microcosm of what's coming up in the 2008-09 Krannert Center season, check out the monthlong opening wave of events.

They reflect what Tammey Kikta, assistant director for artistic services at Krannert, calls the most diverse season ever at the performing arts center.

Four women to compete in queen pageant

MELVIN – There are four contestants for this year's Miss Ford County Fair Queen Pageant, which will be held July 8 at the fairgrounds in Melvin.

The pageant will begin at 7 p.m. in the dance building on the fairgrounds. Mistress of ceremonies for the evening will be Nicole Kirkpatrick, with broadcasting by WGCY Radio, Gibson City.

YMCA officials to ramp up publicity on fund drive

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign County YMCA's capital campaign has new leadership, and the new campaign chair vows the community will see increased publicity in coming weeks.

Kay Machula said she assumed the chairmanship when former chair David Hood stepped down about a month ago. She said she and a core group of six other YMCA board members plan to "hit the ground running" in the next week or so.

Vermilion fair highlights include pageants, demolition derby

DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Fair & Expo starts Tuesday with the beginning of a series of livestock shows, general project awards and the queen and Little Miss pageants.

The 4-H general projects will receive recognition at 6 p.m. Tuesday, including in the agriculture products; culinary, education and natural history; hobbies; junior hobbies; junior textiles; culinary and textile; and fine arts categories, with ribbons and best of show awarded. Those moving on to the state level of competition will also be announced.

Fundraiser off to savory start

CHAMPAIGN – The economic downturn didn't sour the appetites of visitors at this year's Taste of Champaign-Urbana.

Opening night brought in about $45,000 in ticket sales, the second-best day in the event's history, said Executive Director Bobbie Herakovich.

High gas prices, high water could put crimp on rodeo

MONTICELLO – Cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the Midwest are expected to gather in Monticello this weekend for the 54th annual Piatt County Trail Blazers Rodeo.

This year's event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Trail Blazers' facility just north of Lodge Park in Monticello.

New owners update Rockome Gardens

ARCOLA – The historic Rockome Gardens, west of Arcola, has undergone a change in ownership that has returned Amish cooking to the restaurant, and is bringing events that range from historical re-enactments to cowboy camps to glass-blowing demos to the site.

The new owners of Rockome Gardens have updated the Amish theme park into what they call a historical and event park.

Newman's Freedom Festival will go on without fireworks

NEWMAN – Despite the rain and recent flooding problems, the Newman Freedom Festival will be held this weekend, although fireworks are being postponed.

Festivities started Thursday night and will run through Saturday.

Tolono T-ball field to honor girl who died in 2007

TOLONO – A new T-ball field in Tolono will be dedicated Saturday to a 9-year-old girl who died last year.

The Mary Kate T-Ball Field in West Side Park will be dedicated in memory of Mary Kate Douglas at 9 a.m. Saturday. Mary Kate was a Unity West Elementary School third-grader who died Jan. 26, 2007, and who loved playing in the local T-ball program.