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It is officially the first day of Spring! Warmer weather is ahead and plants and flowers will soon begin to blossom. The Champaign/Urbana area is home to great outdoor recreational spots to enjoy the first couple weeks of spring and throughout the warmer months of the year. Be sure to check out our favorite spots to explore nature and have fun in the sun this spring!

 

 

Meadowbrook Park  (2808 South Race Street, Urbana)

Come discover all that Meadowbrook Park has to offer. There are great natural spaces to explore along the walking and bicycling trails. The park is dedicated to restoring habitats that are native to central Illinois. These areas include the Timpone Ornamental Tree Grove, McCullough and Douglas creek corridors, and 80 acre prairie. Spend time in the park’s plant and herb gardens, as well as the amazing Wandell Sculpture Garden. The highlight of the park is PrairiePlay, a 13,000 square foot play structure!

 

University of Illinois Arboretum (1800 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana)

A favorite outdoor spot in the Champaign/Urbana area, the Arboretum covers 160 acres of the University of Illinois’s south campus. While it serves as a spot for university students to learn, it is open to the public to explore. Visitors love spending time in the arboretum’s numerous Gardens, which boast a wide variety of plant life. Be sure to swing by the Idea Garden and nearby Japan House. The arboretum is truly one of our area’s most peaceful and beautiful spaces to spend time outside.

 

Crystal Lake Park (206 West Park Street, Urbana)

Crystal Lake is a community park filled with spectacular amenities. Everyone in your family will find something they love in this park. Residents that enjoy spending time exploring natural landscapes should visit the Anita Purves Nature Center and wander through Busey Woods. If you prefer spending time in or on the water, be sure to check out the Family Aquatic Center for swimming or the park’s lake for boating and fishing.  This park also offers a playground and picnic areas for a family fun afternoon.

 

River Bend Forest Preserve (1602 Mid America Road, Mahomet)

Spend time in the great outdoors in this beautiful forest preserve. Covering over 280 acres, there are ample opportunities to view wildlife and marvel at the natural landscape. There are several miles of trails to enjoy throughout the forest. Visitors can also spend time on crystal clear waters on one of the preserve’s two lakes. Boating and fishing are available on both.

 

Allerton Park & Retreat Center (515 Old Timber Road, Monticello)

Allerton Park is considered one of Illinois’s Seven Wonders. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city within the 1,500+ acres included in this spectacular park. With 14 miles of hiking trails, 500 acres of contiguous forest, opportunities for bird watching, 30 acres of prairie land, and part of the Sangamon River, there is much to explore this spring. Be sure to also stop by the Formal Gardens, which houses some of the most beautiful flowers and sculptures you have ever seen.

 

Great Events coming up for Champaign/Urbana!

by Rose Price

It's the last month of Summer but there are still plenty of fun activities for you and your family to enjoy. Savor these warm days in Champaign/Urbana by exploring all that our great area has to over. Here is a list of the top events we recommend to keep you entertained over the next week!

 

Friday, August 5th

40 North's Friday Night Live

Time: 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Location: Downtown Champaign - intersections of Neil & Church, Neil & Park, and Walnut & Chester

This amazing free street side performance is a summertime favorite in Champaign. Held every Friday during the summer, it features the talents of some of the best local musicians. Whatever your musical tastes, there is something you will love to hear during August 5th’s performances. At Walnut & Chester, blues musicians Jeff Arrigo and Reverand Robert will be performing. Swing by Neil & Park, to check out indie rock band Northern Border and R&B/Reggae band Nfinite Soul. For those that prefer Americana or country music, head to Neil & Church to hear Riders of the Golden Maize and the Caleb Cook Band.

 

Rogue Flyer's Art Show Opening Reception

Time: 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Location: Gallery 217, 9 East University Avenue, Champaign

Come to the opening reception for the upcoming Rogue Flyer’s Art Show, which will be on display August 6th through 28th. The show features the work of local artists Hugh Bridgeford and Kelly Hieronymus. Later this month, catch a special artist talk with them both on August 17th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

 

Oklahoma!

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: The Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign

Come to this spectacular historic venue to see the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company perform Oklahoma! with live musical accompaniment. See your favorite songs from this beloved award-winning musical. Purchase Tickets.

 

Dreamgirls

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana

Talented local performers from the Banks Bridgewater Lewis Fine Arts Academy will be presenting Dreamgirls, the story of the trials and tribulations of a 1960s R&B female group. To purchase tickets, please call the box office at (217)333-6280 or stop by in person.

 

Saturday, August 6th

Read in the Park

Time: 2:00 to 3:00 pm

Location: Carle Park, 400 West Indiana, Urbana

Grab your favorite book and a blanket for this awesome free event. Join other book lovers of all ages as you enjoy quiet reading time for 45 minutes. Afterwards, you will have a chance to socialize and delicious treats.

 

Midsummer’s Night Swing

Time: 5:00 pm

Location: Courthouse Square, 101 West Washington Street, Monticello

Put on your dancing shoes and swing the night away at the 4th Annual Midsummer’s Night Swing. From 6:00 to 9:00 pm, enjoy live music from Peoria band Jim Markum Swing Band. This free event will be fun for the whole family!

 

Adult Swim Party

Time: 8:00 to 10:00 pm

Location: Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center, 1401 North Broadway, Urbana

Adults want a day at the pool too! Beat the summer heat and come to the Adult Swim Party. This event is for ages 18 and up. Admission is $4 for residents and $5 for nonresidents. Wondering what to do with the kids as you splash around? A special late night event will be held for them at Anita Purves Nature Center from 8:00 to 10:30 pm. Cost is $3 per child and includes a snack.

 

Wednesday, August 10th

Tour the Virginia Theatre

Time: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Location: The Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign

Get unique access to this national historic landmark during a free one-hour tour. Learn the history of this newly restored movie palace and live performance space, including information about the amazing 1921 Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

 

Thursday, August 11th

Sunset Paddle

Time: 7:00 to 8:30 pm

Location: Homer Lake Forest Preserve, 2573 South Homer Lake Road, Homer

Watch the sunset as you enjoy a canoe ride at the beautiful Homer Lake Forest Preserve. All equipment will be provided. Admission is $8 per person. Children must be at least 8 years old to participate and accompanied by an adult.

Photo Credit: Patrice Raplee

Illinois Fighting Illini Football is Back!

by Rose Price

Our beloved University of Illinois Fighting Illini Football season kicks off on September 3rd at Memorial Stadium (1402 South 1st Street, Champaign)! Cheer our team on as the take on Murray State at the season opener. Games will be every Saturday through December 3rd, with a bye-week on Saturday, September 24th. Here is the 2016 Fighting Illini Football Schedule! Whether you make it down to the stadium or are watching from the comfort of your home, it's time to support our boys in orange!

 

Coach Lovie Smith and the rest of the UI coaching staff have developed an impressive team for the 2016 season. Here are 5 of the top players to keep your eye out for on the field:

 

1. Hardy Nickerson, Middle Linebacker: A senior transfer student from California, Nickerson is expected to make big plays this season. A master of tackling and for causing turnovers, he will help strengthen the Illini's defensive line.

2. Wes Lunt, Quarterback: The backbone of the team, this quarterback is an excellent passer. As a senior, Lunt has much experience behind him and is ready to lead the team to victory on the field.

3. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Running Back: Getting a team high of 6 rushing touchdowns last season, Vaughn is expected to make big plays once again. Now that the team also has a fullback, this player will have any more opportunities to run the ball.

4. Dawuane Smoot, Defensive End: An opposing quarterback's nightmare, Smoot is excellent at getting the sack. With a coaching team dedicated to the defensive line, we expect this player to improve from his impressive season last year.

5. Desmond Cain, Wide Receiver: This young player is expected to continue to be a favorite target for Lunt. His ability to get open on the field for passes will help lead the team to success in the end zone.

 

 

We wish the Fighting Illini much success in this upcoming football season!!!

The Great Farmer's Markets of Champaign County!

by Rose Price

Summertime means the return of fresh produce to Champaign/Urbana and the surrounding communities. There is a FARMER'S MARKET throughout the area almost every day of the week!! These great weekly events connect local farmers and artisans to the community, help economic development and promote a healthy lifestyle. Stop at any of these markets to stock up on fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, baked goods, flowers, handmade goods, and so much more!!!

Tuesdays

Land Connection Farmer's Market

When: Every Tuesday afternoon from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, May through October

Where: Downtown Champaign in Parking Lot M (310-330 North Neil Street)

 

Wednesdays

Rantoul Farmer's Market

When: Every Wednesday afternoon from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, June through October

Where: Rantoul Market (133 South Gerrard Street)

Homer Farmer's Market

When: Every Wednesday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 pm 

Where: Caboose Park (Corner of Main Street and First Street)

 

Thursdays

Sustainable Student Farm

When: Every Thursday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (or when supplies run out), May through November 

Where: University of Illinois Quad (1401 West Green Street)

Paxton's Market on Market

When: Every Thursday afternoon from 4:00 to 7:00 pm 

Where: Majestic Park (135 South Market Street)

Monticello Farmer's Market

When: Every Thursday afternoon from 3:00 - 6:00 pm, June 16 through October 6th

Where: Corner of State Street and Livingstone Street

 

Saturdays

Urbana's Market at the Square

When: Every Saturday morning from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm, May through November

Where: Downtown Urbana, Corner of Illinois Street and Vine Street

15 Native Plants for Gorgeous Champaign/Urbana Gardens!

by Rose Price

Spruce up the landscaping of your CHAMPAIGN/URBANA HOMES with a garden! After those long winter months, gardens are a great way to add a bit of color and cheer to your yard. You can ensure gardening success during the warmer seasons by turning to plant varieties that naturally grow throughout the Midwest. As an added bonus, native plants require less maintenance. Here are the 15 top native plants for Midwestern gardens!

 

SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia sp) – These perennials will blossom with three-petaled flowers in the spring. They can be placed anywhere throughout your garden, whether in the sun or the shade.

 

SWAMP MILKWEED (Asclepias incarnata) – Attract monarch butterflies to your garden in the summer with these pink beauties. As an added bonus, this resilient plant can thrive in average growing soil.

 

COMPASS PLANT (Silphium laciniatum) – Growing up to 9 feet tall, this stunning plant blooms yellow, sunflower-like petals. Interestingly, the Compass Plant naturally aligns itself north to south allowing it to conserve water throughout the summer.

 

WILD ANEMONE (Anemone canadensis) – Add a lovely border to your garden in the spring with Wild Anemone. This plant grows easily in moist soil and will blossom with lovely, large white flowers.

 

PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea pallida) – With pale pink petals and dark red cones this beauty adds color to your garden in the summer. It will naturally spread across areas of your garden due to the fact that it will self-seed.

 

BLOODROOT (Sanguinaria canadensis) – For shady areas of your garden, plant the Bloodroot. In early spring, there will be beautiful white flowers arranged in the shape of a pawprint. By summer, however, the plant's cycle has ended.

 

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT (Arisaema triphyllum) – Since the Bloodroot goes dormant in the summer, plant Jack-in-the-Pulpit in the same area to maintain interest throughout your garden despite the season. Also thriving in shaded areas, this unique green flower is hooded and reveals little red markings inside. In the fall, red berries also appear for continued color.

 

BUTTERFLY WEED (Asclepias tuberosa) – This resilient plant resists droughts, disease, and pests! Its beautifully bright orange flowers attract butterflies in the summer months.

 

LITTLE BLUESTEM (Schizachyrium scoparium) – This native grass will add beauty to your garden all year round! In the spring and summer, the foliage is blue-green. Starting in the fall and lasting throughout the winter, this plant turns a stunning purple-bronze.

 

POPPY MALLOW (Callirhoe involucrata) – A perfect addition to the front of your garden, this low growing plant blossoms with wine colored flowers. It can grow in dry soil, lasts several seasons, and resists pests!


PENSTEMON (Penstemon digitalis) – Returning every year to your garden in the summer, the Penstemon grows up to 2 feet tall and blossoms white flowers among its burgundy colored leaves.

 

COLUMBINE (Aquilegia canadensis) – Hummingbirds and butterflies will flit among your garden when you add this plant. These delicate yellow and red flowers will flourish in the shade or sun.

 

CULVER'S ROOT (Veronicastrum virginicum) – Make sure to always water the Culver's Root. These white flowers will grow in light shade and attract butterflies.

 

GOLDENROD (Solidago sp) – Keep your garden looking lovely throughout the fall with this plant. The golden-yellow clusters of flowers need full sun and well-drained soil.

 

BLUE SAGE (Salvia pitcheri) – Add this perennial to your garden for a splash of lovely sky blue in the early fall. Blue Sage thrives in growing conditions similar to the Goldenrod.

 

Adding these beautiful blooms to your landscape and gardens, along with stones, ponds and other accents add value to your homes and instant curb appeal! If you're thinking of selling your Champaign/Urbana home, this is one of the areas to plan on spending a little money before putting your home on the market!

 

For more Home Selling Tips  visit my website at http://www.champaignrose.com or call my office to speak with me personally about your home!

Resource: Better Homes & Garden July 2016

Congrats! You’ve decided to sell your house in the CHAMPAIGN/URBANA area! After all the years of love in your home, though, you want to make sure that you get the most for it. All homes go through wear and tear that might not be noticeable to you over the years but will surely stand out to potential home buyers. In order to make the best sale for you and your family, you need to decide what repairs and upgrades should be done before listing your home on the market. It is important to go through each room with a critical eye and see what fixes are necessary. 

Selling your home and negotiating the sale can be a daunting process but you do not need to go through it alone! A great Real Estate Agent is there to assist you along the way. When deciding what fixes should be made, your real estate agent can provide you with crucial help. They will know what changes are absolutely necessary before placing your home on the market and what can be negotiated in the final deal. 

There are several simple things you can do that won’t cost an arm and a leg and will help your home look its best! We have great suggestions on ways that you can maximize your sale. Here are the Top 9 Home Repairs or Upgrades to Make Before Selling Your Champaign/Urbana Home!

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint – The fastest and cheapest way to make your home look inviting to potential home buyers is adding a fresh coat of paint. Go through your home to see which rooms really need it. It is not necessary to repaint every room home. For the ones in need of some sprucing, choose light, neutral colors that will appeal to everyone. Also, make sure to remove all wallpaper! Wallpaper can be a great accent to any room but everyone’s tastes are different. By removing the wallpaper and using light paint colors, the new owners have total flexibility in how they want to make the home their own.

Fill in Nail Holes and Cracks – This one may seem obvious but you should fill in all nail holes and cracks. This simple fix will help any room appear new and will avoid buyers feeling like they have a lot of work that needs to be completed. Spackle the holes and cracks, sand it, and add a fresh coat of paint.

Provide Adequate Lighting – Lighting throughout your home can have it looking its best. Make sure that all of the rooms in your home have adequate lighting. Replace any outdated light fixtures. Ensure that all lights and switches probably work. If needed, fix any potential electrical issues that might kill the sale. Along with lighting, natural light is very important. Use light drapes on the windows that allow for maximum sunlight to come in and really make the room shine!

Hardwood Floors – Hardwood floors are attractive to potential buyers. These floors can also take a beating over the years. You do not need to spend a ton of money replacing the floors though! Make the floors look brand new refinishing or polishing them! 

Kitchen – The kitchen is truly one of the most important rooms in the home and is something that buyers definitely make decisions based off of. Full kitchen remodels are expensive and not necessary when selling your home. It is important, however, to make some simple fixes to make the kitchen look its best. Be sure to refresh the paint and replace any outdated or broken fixtures. If necessary, refinish or paint the cabinets. Granite and marble countertops can help sell your home. If there is money in your budget, replace the countertops to automatically make your home more attractive. Before showing your home, make sure that your kitchen is clean and uncluttered.

Bathrooms – Like the kitchen, the bathrooms in a house can make or break a deal. You want it to look brand new! The first step is a deep cleaning. Scrub the grout and replace any missing tiles. Fix or replace any plumbing issues. Ensure that the lighting in the bathroom is bright.

Maintain Appliances – Make sure that all appliances currently in the home are functional. Appliances are an added bonus for home buyers, but no one wants the stress of knowing they are going to have to be soon replaced. Provide any warranties for the appliances to your real estate agent. By having functional appliances, you are showing pride in your home.

Functionality – Along with functional appliances, make sure that everything else in your home is in working order. Replace broken doorknobs and locks. Have a creaky door? Remove the squeak by applying WD-40 or a natural oil to the hinges. If your home has a garage, make sure that the garage door is properly working.

Exterior – Now that the interior of your home is looking its best, it’s time to tackle the outside! After all, the exterior of your home is the first thing that buyers will see. You want your home to look like you take pride in it! We often get storms in Illinois that can cause wear and tear on the outside of the home. Repaint or replace broken siding. Refinish porches, patios, and fences. Keep the landscaping clean and attractive. You want the buyers to be excited to see the rest of your home as soon as they arrive.

For more helpful Home Selling Tips, give ChampaignRose a call at (217) 202-8843 or check out or website at http://www.champaignrose.com/.

It’s time to celebrate Mom!

THIS SUNDAY is Mother’s Day and if you have not already made plans to celebrate your mom, don’t fret, it’s not too late! A fun and delicious brunch to thank your mom over a mimosa or a cappuccino may just be your perfect solution!

Here are some ideas of fabulous restaurants in the community to take your mom on Sunday:

Minnecis Restaurant in Champaign

Radio Maria in Champaign

JT Walker’s in Mahomet

Milo’s in Urbana

Silvercreek in Urbana

Big Grove Tavern in Champaign

Dublin O’Neils in Champaign

 

A big thanks to all the Mother’s in the community for everything you do!

 

It’s everyone’s favorite day of the year...TAX DAY!!!

Ehh, not so much….

 

For all of you stressing over this infamous day, Marketwatch has some great advice. File an extension!! In an article posted by the news source, there are 7 excellent reasons why many people should consider an extension.

  1. You have a balance due and need more time to save up money to cover it. Give yourself that extra 6 months.

  2. Made charitable donations over $250 to one or more charities and don’t have the proper receipts (which must include the name of the charity, address, taxpayer ID number, and a statement that you did not receive any benefits or items of value for your donation) to submit with your taxes? The IRS is very strict on submitting the required documentation so an extension would give you an extra 6 months to get everything in order.

  3. Have you recently moved homes? Or are you planning to move within the next few months? If yes, it benefits you to submit an extension because the IRS may need to follow up with you on your taxes and they send all correspondence to the address you have on file.

  4. If you are waiting for K-1 forms from partnership entities, S-Corps, estates, or trusts you should file an extension.

  5. Sometimes rushing through your personal or business bookkeeping can cause sloppy or incorrect taxes. Don’t rush and do it right. File an extension to give you that extra time.

  6. Have a large balance this year? Making contributions to your 2015 retirement plan can help reduce that balance. File an extension if you would like to benefit from this. You have until October 15th to open or add to your retirement fund.

  7. And finally…. You still have questions regarding your taxes that you have not had answered. Give yourself some time to get everything settled.

Best of luck this tax season!

March 24th is the 75th anniversary of Chanute Airfield's Tuskegee Airmen! Champaign Illinois was the birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen. These brave men showed incredible heroism and courage at a time of severe racism in our country and a belief that black soldiers were inferior to white, that they didn't have the capacity or fortitude sufficient to fly warplanes into battle. 

It wasn't until 1941 when A. Phillip Randolph pushed President Roosevelt to include Black Americans in combat roles, that they became eligible to fight. However, St. Louis and Detroit were the original designated locations for training sites, but neither city would allow these men to train in their airspace. it was Champaign County that stepped up and supported the program and offered Chanute Army Air Field to host the training.  This historical event took place during the week of March 19-26, 1941 at Chanute Air Field, Rantoul, IL for the Black Fighter Pilots. 

Later that fall, these fighter pilots were transferred to Tuskegee, AL but Chanute Air Field was kept as an integrated base for weatherman, armorers, fire fighters and mechanics.

On March 24, 1945, three Tuskegee Airmen shot down 3 German jets, marking the very first time American pilots shot down enemy jet fighters. 

While only 14 of the original Tuskegee Airmen are still alive today, there are many pilots who helped integrate the Army Air Corps. 

Our Illinois National Guard Armory will host a kick-off celebration on Thursday, March 24, designating Champaign County as the Birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen March 1941.” The program will begin at 11:00 a.m. and last one hour. Following the event, the Champaign County Engineers will install the “Birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen March 1941” signs on all US and IL highways entering Champaign County.

Various Veteran organizations throughout Champaign and Douglas counties will be on hand to commemorate the designation. The public is also encouraged to attend to celebrate the role of Chanute Air Field in this monumental time in our country’s history.

Photo Credit- VisitChampaign.org

Weekend Of Theatre In Champaign IL

by Rose Price

As You Like It
Parkland Theatre’s Second Stage

February 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30pm
February 28 at 3pm

A clever adaptation of As You Like It, secondly titled “Being the record of one company’s attempt to perform the play by William Shakespeare”. Many key scenes from the original are performed while the seven desperate players attempt, often hilariously, to cover all the parts and make some theater magic. Touching and very funny, it is a true tribute to the core theme of As You Like It … All the world’s a stage.
Seating in Parkland's Second Stage goes quickly.  So Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Ticket prices: Adult- $15 Student and Senior (65+)- $13 Youth- (12 and under) $9 Groups of 15 or more- $11 each

Open seating except for groups and those with medical needs.

Reservations

The Little Mermaid at the Virginia Theatre

February 18, 19, 20 

7pm (2pm matinee* on Sat)

Champaign Central and Centennial High School Drama Departments have teamed up in the first ever joint production at the Virginia Theatre in Downtown Champaign.  This inaugural event will feature the full length Broadway Musical.  

Tickets: $15 Adult/$10 Student and Senior/$8 Children 10 and under

The production is being supported by Champaign Unit 4 School District, Central & Centennial drama departments, Champaign Park District, the Virginia Theatre, as well as private donations.

Support The Project!

A Mid Summer Night's Dream Lyric Theatre at Krannert Performing Arts Center

February 19 and 20 7:30 PM

February 21 at 3:30 PM

Benjamin Britten’s music creates enchanting, otherworldly landscapes which are the perfect compliment for the retelling of this romantic comedy. As rustic characters, royalty, and fairies entwine in the mystical woods at evening, love potions and mistaken identities create mischief and disorder which will only be dispelled as dawn arrives. Lavishly imaginative in story and in musical score, this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will surely beguile you!

Buy Tickets

More About the Lyric Series

 

Interested in more of what makes living in Champaign/Urbana so great?  Give Rose Price  a call. She'll be happy to make your dream of owning a home in Champaign/Urbana a reality!.  

Our community is filled with Arts & Cultural experiences of all types! Come and explore what makes the Champaign/Urbana area such an exceptional place to live!

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