A Little Fun & Local Shopping Never Hurt Nobody

Here it is…the weekend after Thanksgiving and there is so much activity in town!


For starters, we are on day two of the IHSA State Football Championships out at Memorial Stadium. We’ve got some fantastic line-ups today between teams and we invite you to come out and join us for some fun. We’re hosting Tent City in Grange Grove where you can enjoy free hot chocolate, cotton candy, popcorn, coffee and much more. We also have bags to play, a mechanical bull and lots of school spirit throughout the day.


Tonight, Downtown Champaign will be ready for their annualParade of Lights. Before the event, kids can go on a candy cane crawl through downtown businesses, get their pictures with Santa at Big Grove Tavern, or check out entertainment at various locations downtown. The parade kicks off at 6pm, so be sure to have a spot picked out to catch Santa as he heads to One Main Plaza to light the tree.


Another great holiday event is the Nutcracker presented by CU Ballet. Happening next weekend at Krannert Center, this holiday tradition will enchant you with stunning costumes, rousing music and a classic holiday tale. Tickets are nearly sold out, so get yours now.


Beyond events, now is the time to think Shop Local. It is after all Shop Local Saturday, so we have some ideas on where to go.


We have over 250 shops in our various shopping districts? There’s no reason to leave the area or shop online when it’s all right here.


There are so many benefits to buying from locally owned vendors. It makes a big impact on the local economy, supporting jobs and creating local tax revenue. But also, non-profit organizations generally receive an average of 250% more from small business owners.


You can get some inspiration from our Makers section on our website where we feature several craftsman from the Champaign County Area.


A wonderful stocking stuffer, or teacher gift, are the hand-made soaps from The Wright Soapery. You can find them online, but also at the Market In the Square in Urbana every week. These soaps are works of art and very fragrant! You can also get some quirky hand-drawn t-shirts from Scobar. His fun, Shampoo-Banana shirt is a play on Champaign-Urbana and can be found at Bohemia in Downtown Urbana and also online. For your friends and family loving art, check out Prairie Fire Glass in Monticello where artist Jim Downey uses his passion for glassblowing to create stunning pieces of art.


Of course, there are countless local boutiques and shops that have unique finds that will surprise anyone on your list!


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