It won’t be quite the same as strolling through a crowd on a warm summer day, listening to live music, sampling restaurant foods and nibbling on ears of sweet corn, but two popular local festivals are proceeding in a pandemic-safer virtual way.
Coming up first will be next week’s 50th Taste of Champaign-Urbana, set to run Aug. 10-16.
Up next will be the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, set for Aug. 21-22.
Instead of Taste of Champaign-Urbana vendors setting up in Champaign’s West Side Park, the Champaign Park District will be providing a virtual guide and sending people to participating vendors.
Included are 14 food vendors, nine artists, four bands and two other businesses, all to be featured in the guide with descriptions of each, according to Zoe Southlynn-Savage, the park district’s special-events manager.
Some of the participating restaurants will have specials for Taste week, but that will vary.
Southlynn-Savage said the park district is leaving what participants want to offer up to each one, rather than requiring them all to provide certain things.
“Times are hard enough,” she said.
The Urbana Sweetcorn Festival will feature a cook-it-at-home sweet-corn drive-thru from 2 to 7 p.m. Aug. 21 or while supplies last.
The drive-thru will be held in the southwest parking lot at Lincoln Square, according to the Urbana Business Association, which is sponsoring the event.
Executive Director Darius White said details on how much corn will be available were being finalized Thursday.
“We’re hoping to have at least 100 dozen,” he said.
A $5 donation will include, along with uncooked sweet corn, a limited edition virtual festival tote bag and a face mask.
The drive-thru is intended to get people out of their homes, “to still have a piece of the sweet-corn festival,” White said.
Day two of the festival will be a day and evening of videos of past performances available on the festival’s Facebook page from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
White said there will also be spotlights on local businesses featured throughout that day, because the in-person sweet-corn festivals of years past helped remind the public of what businesses there are in downtown Urbana.
“We still want to highlight downtown businesses,” he said.
Those planning to go to the sweet-corn drive-thru are asked to enter the Lincoln Square parking lot at the south entrance at Illinois and Broadway. Participants will be guided to exit the parking lot at Race and High streets.