Looking for something fun to do with the family this Christmas Season?

reindeer ranch

Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul is always a local favorite this time of year!  Just a $4 fee to get up close and personal with the reindeer.  The staff lets visitors pet and feed them while they provide a brief history about reindeer and answers any questions.  A lot of fun for the little ones! 

Hardy’s also has a very cozy gift shop….a great place to stop in from the cold. You can sit around a potbelly stove sipping hot cocoa that’s for sale and browse through the lodge and gift shop.

You can finish up your day at their Christmas tree farm. They have a pre-cut selection or you can cut your own if you prefer.

Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch: 1356 County Rd. 2900 N. – Rantoul, IL

Christmas Hours

November 22nd through December 23rd: 10 am – 7 pm daily

Christmas Eve: 10 am – 2 pm ( Closed Christmas Day )  

After Christmas hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily.   Our Last Day: December 28th

5 Nights of Hitch at The Virginia

Five Nights of Hitch

It is Halloween and the perfect time for some Alfred Hitchcock thrillers. And the setting for this weeklong Hitchcock film series is the lovely restored Virginia Theatre in the heart of downtown Champaign.

Tickets for the Hitchcock series can be purchased online or at the door and they are only $5. Shows are at 7p and 10p every night this week through Halloween.

Uncorked at Krannert Tonight

Krannert Uncorked

The James Jones trio kicks of Krannert Uncorked tonight at 5p at KCPA on the U of I campus.

The Thursday after work event at KCPA is back for another season and it get rolling tonight at Krannert on the University of Illinois campus. The Uncorked at Krannert show (and drinks) start at 5p in the spacious lobby and its free. The series extends through the school year each Thursday afternoon.

Tonights kickoff group is The James Jones Trio is traditional blues band from nearby Danville. James Jones will whail away as you sip wine after work–don’t miss it!


2nd Annual Grease Sing Along

courage connection fundraiser

Grease is the feature at the second annual sing along fundraiser for Courage Connection.

Fundraiser for Courage Connection

It was a huge success last year–raised lots of money and was fun. Now it is back for the second annual and lets hope it goes on year after year. In just 10 days the storied confines of the historic Virginia Theatre  in downtown Champaign will be echoing with the much loved music of Grease.

Here are the details: Tickets can be purchased at the Virginia site or at http://courageconnection.org/ . The event is October 11 at 7:30 with VIP party at 6p.


Fighting Illini Football Lightning Delay

It was a first ever for Memorial Stadium at the U of I–a lightning delay. There were few fireworks on the field, just a few from the corners as the Illini scored, but lots of lightning in the skies. As the tailgaters gathered into Memorial Stadium, a few clouds formed in the west–a harbinger of a long afternoon–and evening!

NCAA regulations require that when lightening occurs within 6 miles there must be a delay of 30 minutes. University of  Illinois regulations set it at 8 miles, so for almost 2 hours the Texas State game was delayed. Here are some photos from our cub reporter:

University of Illinois

The game started with a TD for Illinois on the first play from scrimmage.

Texas State vs Illinois

Then a few clouds gathered and the fans expected a bit of rain as forecasted. Lets hope the Illinois Nebraska game can go on without rain–our Illini need to be able to pass the ball in order to have a chance!

Texas State vs Illinois

Quickly, clouds formed, sprinkles dropped and lightning was heard in the west.

Tailgating parking

The stadium was emptied, the clock was frozen in the second quarter and 1000s of fans stood under the east and west stands.

Tim Beckman at Illinois

The new south scoreboard at Memorial Stadium made it clear–you must leave the stands. and take cover.

U of I

University of Illinois police and other law enforcement people made sure all was clear before the crowd was allowed to return to Memorial Stadium.

This weekend Illinois plays Nebraska in Lincoln and rain is forecasted–lets hope no lightning!

Chicagoscapes, Larry Kanfer


Larry Kanfer’s new book “Chicagoscapes” will be the feature of a show at his gallery starting next week.

Larry Kanfer is one of Champaign Urbana’s great artists.  He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 and promptly opened his gallery which for many years was in Round Barn Center. The Larry Kanfer Gallery is now at  2503 S. Neil St.  in Champaign.

Larry’s photography comes from around the world, but in his six books, there are many that were shot in the Champaign Urbana area.

Now Kanfer has a new book, “Chicagoscapes” and it is the feature of an upcoming show at his gallery. According to 40 North, this new collection of photos carries the grit, sophistication, and friendliness of the Windy City.

The show runs September 17-27 with a launch and book signing at 5p on the 18th.

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival This Weekend

University of Illinois

Downtown Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, 2014

The annual end of summer hoorah is here–the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival !

This is the  39th Annual Urbana Sweetcorn Festival and it is just around the corner: Friday, August 22nd and Saturday August 23rd!

This year’s festival is as usual in the heart of downtown Urbana on Main Street (watch out curbanas!) on Friday, August 22nd, 5:00–11:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 23rd, 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. The draw is expected to be 55,000 corn eaters from Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities in central Illinois. The festival also serves as the official welcome for incoming and returning University of Illinois students.

Taste of Champaign-Urbana

downtown champaign

Taste of Champaign Urbana is this weekend!!!

This is the 44th annual “Taste of Champaign” and this grand event is a benefit for area youth. Taste runs Friday, August 15, 5-11p and Saturday 11a-11p at Westside Park. The host is the Champaign Park District and all kinds of restaurants, not for profits and performing acts are involved.

Friday you can see Craig Russo Latin Jazz, Beat Kitchen, Prince Night, and 90’s Daughter.

Saturday the main stage features Dreamfakers and Reverend Peyton’s Bi Damn Band among others.

There will be beely dancing, puppets, comedy and lots and lots of food and drink.

Taste of Champaign 2014

Taste logo 2

You have to love the name of this iconic festival –Taste of CU– now in it’s 44th year!

But wait–that logo above came from the current Facebook page for Taste of Champaign Urbana–but it is wrong on the dates. Taste of CU has been moved back and is coming up this weekend.

Here are the correct dates:

Friday, August 15 • 5–11pm
Saturday, August 16 • 11am–11pm

Be there at Westside Park–food, entertainment, and hopefully no rain.



Champaign County Fair

The Champaign County Fair opens today with a full schedule and some new features. The stage has been revamped and the ever popular “beer tent” has experienced a makeover.


The Champaign County Fair sprawls across the fairgrounds in Urbana–just behind Carle.

There will be the good ole demo derby, livestock shows, horse races, queens on display, Democrats and Republicans, and lots of cotton candy.

One highlight this year on the main stage is “Blackjack Billy”–Friday night.