Brilliant Stories

Looking Ahead: 10 Outside of Ordinary Events in September

August 29, 2019

This time of year, there is an electricity in the air around the greater Champaign County area. Between fall festivals, community events, and arts and culture celebrations, there is so much to do in September!


September 5-7

This year’s ELLNORA features nearly 30 performances, including 15+ free events, across seven stages. In addition to the four indoor theatres of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Center’s expansive 1.5-acre lobby is perfectly suited to hosting performances—both informal and formal—that showcase the festival’s impressive range. This incarnation of ELLNORA includes 13 ticketed events including performances by award-winning blues legend Buddy Guy, French-born gypsy jazz musician and ELLNORA alumnus Stephane Wrembel, ever-revolutionary musical influencer Pat Metheny, and more.

Matsuri 2019

September 8

A family-friendly event, Matsuri will feature a variety of entertainment including martial arts demonstrations and musical performances, local craft vendors, Asian-inspired food and drink, children’s activities, as well as the crowd favorite Masaji Terasawa, "Candy Man", a Japanese street performer whose amezaiku creations are truly ephemeral art pieces. This year also introduces India as part of Asia with food, performances and henna artists.

Prairie Sky Music Festival

September 20

Drift into fall on a bluegrassy breeze during Allerton’s Prairie Sky Concert, presented by the U of I Community Credit Union! Enjoy live music, festive food and drinks, activities, and more on the Gate House Lawn to embrace the changing seasons during this special celebration of the Autumn equinox.

Fall Festival at Prairie Gardens

September 21

It’s hard to beat shopping and feeling seasonal at Prairie Gardens this time of year. Come on the 21st for a Fall Festival full of family fun! Enjoy Pony Rides, a Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Kids Games & More. Plus, scope out fall décor and feature pieces that will transition your home or bedroom gently into the cooler, breezier time of year in Champaign County.

Monticellobration 2019

September 21

An annual street festival in historic, downtown Monticello, highlighting the things that make our community unique! Food trucks, vendor shopping, our beloved brick-and-mortars, and all kinds of pop-ups and entertainment! Visitors love the kiddie tractor pull, two magicians, an exotic petting zoo, multiple bounce houses, an antique Hodge-hand car train ride for kids, face painting, balloon artist, LIVE music and so much more!

3 Disciplines Illinois State Triathlon Championships

September 22

Returning after an incredible event last year, the 3 Disciplines Illinois State Triathlon Championships return to Lake of the Woods! The bike course will take you out on slightly rolling farm roads with less than a dozen houses along the route, so roads will be lightly travelled. The swim in the lake will be flat, and a two-loop affair for the long course. The run will come to be one of the best run courses in the state encompassing the entire park including a run through the covered bridge, in and around the botanical gardens before finishing next to the lake where the post-race party will await your finish. 

Fall Opening Night at the Krannert Art Museum

September 26

Celebrate opening night for KAM’s newest exhibitions, with a special welcome at 6:15 by Museum Director Jon Seydl, and Marci Uihlein and Sara Bartumeus Ferre, faculty in the Illinois School of Architecture and curators of Revealing Presence: Women in Architecture at the University of Illinois. Exhibitions include: Art Since 1948All this Beauty and Color: Highlights of the WPA and Revealing Presence: Women in Architecture at the University of Illinois. Visitors are also invited to explore the completely reinstalled European and American art collections in the Bow and Trees Galleries.

Pygmalion 2019

September 26-28

This festival features a mixture of components that have been curated over the decade-plus of its existence: music, comedy, literature, technology & hacking, and handmade goods. 2019 brings headliner and comedian Eric Andre to the stage along with other leading names in entertainment such as comedienne Michelle Wolf, Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, indie rockers Japanese Breakfast and the New Pornographers, Where else can you watch a Tesla coil in an amphitheater, laugh until you cry, and listen to live music and a poetry marathon in one culture-filled weekend?

Music Barn Festival

September 27

Join the University of Illinois School of Music during this candlelit weekend of crickets, cocktails, and rich music in Allerton’s idyllic Music Barn. It’s an incredibly unique venue for music, and the talent coming from the U of I’s music program is top notch. Overall, it’s one of the most engaging musical events of the Fall!

CU Pridefest

September 27

This family-friendly event is the largest Pride celebration south of Chicago and the only celebration in September. Complete with a colorful parade through the streets of downtown Champaign, a drag brunch, community vendors and evening parties, this weekend-long festival puts our pride on full display for all to enjoy.

As always, this is just a few of the many events and festivals happening around the greater Champaign County area. For a full list of events, check out our events calendar, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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