Crystal Lake Park Lake House

The Lake House at Crystal Lake Park in Urbana will be the centerpiece of Saturday’s first-ever Crystal Lake Park Art Fair, starting at 10 a.m. and running until 6 p.m.

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If your eyes are craving some artistic stimulation this long, hot summer, take them to Crystal Lake Park in Urbana this Saturday for the inaugural Crystal Lake Park Art Fair.

40 North and the Urbana Park District are sponsoring the event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., featuring local and regional art vendors that will set up in tents on the park road that runs along Broadway Avenue and exhibit paintings, textiles, ceramics, photography, jewelry, glass, mixed media and more. Parking will be just across the street at the former Washington School, and from there, you’ll be able to browse the creations of more than 30 regional and local artists from Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois as well as here in C-U.

There will be a kids’ make-and-take table area, food trucks, plus the School for Designing a Society (122 Franklin St.) will be running a free mosaics workshop from noon to 3 p.m., with all supplies and tools provided. Featured artists include:

— Eli Brown

— Allison L. Norfleet Bruenger Collections — jewelry and mixed media

— Kim Caisse

— Delcomyn Photography

— Deana Rose Handmade Jewelry

— EKAH (aka E.K.A. Hennequet)

— Fabrikate

— Felt Inspired

— Gathered Illusions

— I Do Windows by Rettaglass

— Hooey Batiks

— J & S Turnings

— Lisa Kesler

— Ladysmith Jewelry

— Marcia Menendez

— Vince Merriman Art Creations

— Amy Millspaugh

— Melissa Monroe

— Sierra Murphy

— Pipapo

— Piper Pottery + Crafts— Lydia Puddicombe

— The Quirky Quiltress

— Red Ember Forge — jewelry

— Fraya Replinger

— Same Street Studio

— Howie Schein Pottery

— Anthony Slichenmyer

— Smiling Snake Shirt Company

— Vinnie Sutherland

— Vashoune Russell

— Richard Veselik

— Liza Wynette

What I'm watching this weekend

To me, the best part about living in this television age of DVRs and web streaming is that it all caters to one of my most prominent character traits — the old “I’ll get around to it when I get around to it” attitude.

Which is why I just started watching Season 3 of the Netflix sci-fi/horror series “Stranger Things” last weekend — at least 21 / 2weeks after its release.So what will I be watching this weekend? Why, the rest of Season 3 of “Stranger Things,” of course.

For one thing, my wife and I only made it through the first three one-hour episodes last weekend. For another, there are only eight episodes in the whole season (which is typical; there were eight in the first season, nine in the second).

The plot, which is set in the summer of 1985 and centers around the new mall in fictional Hawkins, Ind., has yet to grab our interest the way the first two seasons did, but with the excellent cast (including Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown), our hopes remain high for stranger things to come.

That's the ticket: Sevendust at The City Center

Hey, heavy metal fans, have I got a treat for you.

Sevendust, an Atlanta, Ga.-based alt-metal band, brings its All I See Is War tour to The City Center, 505 S. Chestnut St., C, at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, with guests Burden of the Sky and Alborn. The doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets range from $25 to $37.

The band was formed in 1994 by bassist Vince Hornsby, drummer Morgan Rose and guitarist John Connolly. After their first demo, lead vocalist Lajon Witherspoon and guitarist Clint Lowery joined the group (originally called Crawlspace). Several name changes later, they became Sevendust and released their self-titled debut album on April 15, 1997. Since then, they’ve released 11 more albums and earned multiple gold sales certifications, as well as a 2016 Grammy nomination for best metal performance for the song “Thank You.”

They’re currently touring in support of last year’s 12th studio album release, “All I See Is War.” Check out their sound — which Connolly describes as “some kind of heavy and some kind of rock and some kind of metal” — at Apple Music, Spotify, ITunes and Google Play.

Raise the curtain: CUTC's 'The Wizard of Oz'

The Champaign Urbana Theatre Company’s production of the award-winning stage musical “The Wizard of Oz” — with live musical accompaniment — opens its weekend run Thursday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-3, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, with doors opening 45 minutes before each show time. Reserved seating tickets ($10 for children 12 and under; $15 for students and seniors 55 and over; and $19 standard) are on sale at the Virginia Theatre box office, online at or by phone at 217-356-9063.

Presented by the Champaign Park District, “The Wizard of Oz” is directed by Jeff Dare and produced by Lauren Ramshaw, with musical direction by Cheryl Forest Morganson.

First produced for the stage in 1987 by the Royal Shakespeare Company — which adapted the original 1939 film’s screenplay and all of the film’s songs — “The Wizard of Oz” is the beloved tale of a Kansas farm girl who travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home.

The cast includes Colleen Bruton as Dorothy, Nick Hittle as the Scarecrow/Hunk, Jacob Smith as the Tin Man/Hickory, William Curtis as the Cowardly Lion/Zeke, Kari Croop as Glinda/Aunt Em, Jim Dieker as Uncle Henry/Guard, Susan Curtis as the Wicked Witch/Almira Gulch and Lincoln Machula as the Wizard/Professor Marvel.

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Copy Editor/Entertainment Editor

Frank Pieper is a copy editor and entertainment editor at The News-Gazette, and the author of Frank's Faves and Frank's Weekend Faves. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@frp308).