Out With the Old, In With the New, Year. Basketball, Food, and New Year's Fun!

As we inch closer and closer to the coldest parts of winter, Illinois weather has not stayed true to form, reaching well into the 50s for much of December. Weather appropriate for light clothing has pushed many of the winter homebodies out of the house and into the State Farm Center for Illini sports, events, and activities. This weekend may not reach 50 degrees but no matter how cold it gets; the Fighting Illini Men’s Basketball team will be heating up the hardwood as they take on the Grand Canyon Antelopes on Saturday. While other areas wind down after the holidays, here in the greater Champaign County area, we’re just heating up! 

The winter wonderland that is the greater Champaign County area is best seen at night. The night before the game you can go to the Allerton Park & Recreation Center’s for the Kirby Winter Wellness Walk. Allerton Mansion lights up the night creating the perfect winter backdrop for a walk in nature. 

The warmer winter weather still too cold for you? Well the Market IN The Square is back in Lincoln Square before the game. From 8:00 a.m.­–1:00 p.m. shop for local produce, meats, dairy, artwork, or even clothing, if it’s local, it’s there. Whether you’re looking for some organic snacks to fuel up on before the game, or you’re searching for that one rare cheese you can never find, your search is sure to end here. On top of all the local food, Market IN The Square also offers a wide variety of arts and craft supplies, as well as paintings and clothing from local artists. No matter what your tastes or needs after the holidays, you’re sure to find it here. 

After the game, there is no shortage of great food available for even the most discerning tastes. With Champaign County Area Restaurant Week just a few short weeks away, now is the chance to stop in to and have a late lunch or early dinner after the Illini game. With ten Restaurant Week restaurants located within a mile of the State Farm Center, you can experience a small taste of what’s to come and solidify your plans for Restaurant Week.

 The food keeping you around an extra day? Stay around Sunday and celebrate New Year’s Eve here in Champaign County! A kid-friendly New Year’s celebration isn’t far as the Noon Day Drop rings in the new year at noon. A balloon drop, noisemakers, and a long list of activities for all ages make this an exciting family event for the entire family. Didn’t’ bring any kids along? Spend the noon day hour at Riggs Beer Company and enjoy brats, pizza, nachos and beer served fresh from the brewery. Amazing live music by the Feudin’ Hillbillys headlines the City Center’s New Year’s Eve bash. Not looking to spend the night out? There’s always something for everyone here in the greater Champaign County area, Soma Ultralounge brings Chris Schlichting to headline their New Year’s Stand Up Comedy Show.

This weekend will be one of celebration, an Illini win, great food, and a new year on the horizon. Don’t miss out on a thing, check out our website for a complete list of all the great events happening this weekend and beyond.