There are certain things that Chambana families should do to make the most of a Midwest summer, and we try to do as many of them as possible. Curtis Orchard apple cider doughnuts? Definitely. The Urbana Market at the Square? Absolutely. Local swimming pools, parks, and libraries? Check, check, check. But one of my favorites on our summer list? The Taste of Champaign-Urbana.
It's an event we attend every year. Millie goes for the more mild cuisine of macaroni and cheese, but there is something for everyone. Picture a buffet of all your favorite restaurants in town. It's so fun to pick our own meals and sit down at the park bench with a smorgasbord of ten different things. I didn't get to sample the craft beer last year because I was a week away from having Walter, so I'll make up for that this year!
For food, I'll be hitting up The Pop Stop and Ye Olde Doughnut Shop to get an in-between snack, and The Empanadas House food truck for dinner. I'm also eager to visit the Tryptich booth for some local pale ale, and JT Walker's for some orange and blue brew. However, food is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are dozens of activities for the little ones including a magic show, a juggling act, inflatables, a rock climbing wall, a sing along show...and did I mention zucchini car racing? Millie loved the balloon animals last year, and taking a break at the West Side Park playground, as well as the lemon shakeups we shared. Is there anything better than a lemon shakeup on a humid Illinois day? (The answer is no.)
And for the adults, in addition to the craft beer I mentioned, there are booths featuring art and handmade items for sale, a slew of fun bands playing both days, the Second Annual Pie Run, and a raffle for a new car. This isn't a dine and dash evening. This is a two day, take-your-time, relax and hang out event. And we love it.
The 2014 Taste will run Friday from 5-11pm, and Saturday from 11-11pm, so there is plenty of opportunity to stop by, sample some local favorites, shop for crafts, and listen to the great bands on stage. Make sure you use the hashtag #tastecu when posting pictures. (Even I will!) And be on the lookout for a way to text to vote for your favorite food vendor this year.
My friends at the Champaign Park District are generously giving away $25 of Taste of C-U food vendor tickets to one lucky reader! The contest will run until Friday at noon, so you will be able to use your tickets Friday evening and/or Saturday. Enter below, and good luck to everyone!
Disclosure: I was provided Taste of C-U tickets in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own.