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Champaign is getting a moonshine shop

That's right — Shiners Moonshine will open on Neil Street sometime soon. According to Facebook, they will serve 14 different kinds of moonshine, vodka, bourbon, and rum. The moonshine flavors are interesting: oatmeal cookie, bananas foster, apple pie, lemon, chocolate, French toast, among others. 

Follow along on Facebook for updates and opening information. 

Shiners Moonshine
809 S Neil St
Champaign

Top photo by Patrick Singer

Word

Strawberry Fields and World Harvest is turning two

The marriage of Strawberry Fields and World Harvest is about to be two years old. The merging of the two stores into one appears to have been a success. You can get a bunch of hot food and vegan treats as well as all your imported dry goods in one spot. 

To celebrate, the store is having an anniversary sale April 12th through 14th. Details below:

Celebrate two years of World Harvest and Strawberry Fields Café

April 12, 13, and 14

World Harvest Foods and Strawberry Fields Café is celebrating our 2-year joint anniversary, and we’d love for the community to celebrate with us!  Join us on April 12-14 for vendor demos, samples, raffle prizes, and sales.  Saturday, April 13, we will be featuring Moroccan and Tunisian food prepared in-house by our talented chefs, as well as welcoming local band The Young and the Fretless to play in our café from noon-2.

Until April 15, 2017, there had been two local food stores: one that focused on health trends, and one that focused on international and gourmet products.  Now we are World Harvest Foods and Strawberry Fields Café – a one-stop shopping location for cheeses, olive oils, chocolates, gourmet ingredients, fresh-baked bread, restrictive-diet staples and health and wellness resources, as well as an in-house café that serves great coffee, deli salads, and hot foods with an international flair.

We are committed to representing local businesses, and we are proud to carry several products from small growers, producers, and makers from all over east-central Illinois.  Notable brands include Ludwig Creamery, Ropp Jersey, Kilgus, and Prairie Fruits Farms in our dairy department, Piemonte Sausages and Halal meats from Arthur in our frozen department, and A Toffee Tale products in our chocolate department.  We are also home to Sugar by Sarah, a small-batch baker who specializes in French macarons, decorated sugar cookies, and celebration cakes.

World Harvest Foods and Strawberry Fields is open Monday-Saturday from 9am to 8pm, and Sunday 10am to 6pm.  We are located at 360 W Springfield Ave, Urbana, and can be contacted at 217-328-1655.

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The Orpheum’s Animal Expo is set for April 27th

Take the kids and immerse yourself in all the animals at this annual event hosted by Orpheum Children's Science Museum. From the press release:

The Orpheum Children's Science Museum's “Animal Expo” will feature live animals, animal-themed activities and displays, and representatives from organizations that work with animals everyday. From tarantulas and cockroaches to parrots, reptiles, cats and dogs, there will be plenty of live animals to see, pet, and learn about. Kids can also get crafty with animal-themed face paint, art activities, coloring pages, and games.

The event, which lasts from 2 to 4 p.m., happens with help from lots of local organizations: Champaign County Humane Society, Wings of Wonder Avian Rescue, Hospice Hearts, Wildlife Medical Clinic at Illinois, and more. Be sure to check out their Facebook event for updates on those participating, and what activites and animals will be available. 

It's just $5 for general admission, free for museum members, and discounts are available for military families, seniors, children under two, ASTC/ACM reciprocal members, and income-eligible families.

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Smile Politely seeking Arts writers

Whether it's visual or performance art, literature or film, C-U has a vibrant arts scene, and this is your opportunity to be a part of it. There are constantly new artistic endeavors happening all over Champaign-Urbana, and as an Arts writer, you'll be able to have your finger on the pulse of the local art scene.

We're looking for some writers for this particular section, and in order for this to really work, you must have at least a mild grasp what's happening locally, and preferably a grasp on art as a whole as well. Don't worry, you don't have to be a perfect writer — we'll help with that part.

If this sounds like something you're interested in, fire an email off to info@smilepolitely.com.

Word

Here are the dates for spring leaf collection in Urbana

Urbana residents will have one week for leaf collection this spring, April 22-26.

Here are the guidelines:

Residents must follow these requirements:

  1. Please leaves into 30 gallon paper lawn & garden bags. NO PLASTIC BAGS.
  2. Paper bags must be placed at the curb or along the roadway edge before 6:00a.m. on your U-CYCLE collection day.
  3. Only leaves and non-woody plant materials will be collected. No brush, tree limbs or garbage.

Bagged leaves may also be taken to the Landscape Recycling Center (344-5323) at 1210 E. University Avenue, Urbana for a small disposal fee. The site is open for recycling of yard waste year-round.

Photo by Addison McClure

Audio / Link / Word

Rapper, actor, screenwriter, and social activist Tamer Nafar is coming to Allen Hall on Monday night

Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar will be presenting My Life in Song for free on Monday night, which will include a performance and discussion in addition to Mediterranean/Levantine cuisine. This show is open to the public, and is an wonderful example of how rich and diverse the music scene in Champaign Urbana truly is.

Nafar grew up in the particularly turbulent town of Lyd (Arabic spelling; also known as Lod, Hebrew spelling), in Israel, and his experiences there have shaped his music and informed his activism. Monday’s show is an excellent opportunity to learn more about how Nafar has situated himself as an artist amid the relative chaos of national and international tension. You can check out his sound before the show on Spotify.

Tamer Nafar
Allen Hall
1005 W Gregory Dr
Urbana
7 p.m.

 
Link / Word

Youth Lit Festival to feature free community day, March 30th

The 2019 Youth Literature Festival, co-sponsored by the College of Education at Illinois and the University of Illinois Library, will feature a free community day on March 30th.  Held at the I Hotel, this family-friendly event will feature face painting, arts and crafts, live music, storytelling and puppet performances, youth author talks and book signings and Super Why! from PBS Kids.

Find out more  here

Photo from the Youth Literature Festival Facebook page. 

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Rantoul (re)launches The Downtown Mural Project

Rantoul has (re)launched a new initiative to create artwork on their buildings: The Downtown Mural Project. Although the project has been dormant for a few years, it appears as though they are moving forward, commissioning local artist Madelyn Witruk (you've probably seen her work for Visit Champaign County's mural in the Blind Pig beergarden). This article discussed the project back in 2016, though it seems to have some new life in 2019.

Read our article about public art in C-U while you're at it.

Top photo from Downtown Mural Project's Facebook page

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Ye Olde Donut Shoppe will open on Neil Street

Ye Olde Donut Shoppe, your favorite doughnut vendor with all the extra -Es, will open a storefront on Neil Street in Stadium Plaza. The signage has been up for some time now; no hard date on an opening quite yet, though. 

By this non-native C-U resident's count, this is the fourth storefront for Ye Olde; it used to be on Lincoln and University in Urbana, as well on Green and First in Champaign, and then on Sixth and Peabody on the U of I campus. 

Check out some old(e) photos here and here

And until it opens, you can read our most recent review of the doughnuts here.  

Top photo by Rachael McMillan; store photo by Patrick Singer

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Parkland will be hosting a Human Library event on April 5th

This will be the first time an event of this sort will happen at Parkland, though it's not the only time it's happened in C-U, as it's been a part of Pygmalion for a bit. But the more the better, I say. From the press release:

As part of the Human Library™, a worldwide movement for social change, the Parkland College event will allow readers to 'borrow' real people, referred to as 'books', for 20-minute chats about their lives. The real stories of these human books are meant to challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue, according to the humanlibrary.org website.

Hooray for any opportunity to hear from real people about real issues. 

Parkland's Human Library will be April 5th from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Student Union. If you're nterested in "checking out" some "books" then just email benefits@parkland.edu with the subject line: Human Library. Then you will receive a link to register and choose your books.

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Have you been to the Weiner Wagon yet?

The Weiner Wagon is a new food truck parked on Prospect and Sherwood just south of Bradley Avenue. It's in the parking lot near the Meat Mart, adjacent to Judah Christian. 

The food truck, unsurprisingly, serves hot dogs, as well as burgers, chicken, pork tenderloin sandwiches, mac and cheese sticks, and other fried delights. Looks like this truck serves Vienna Beef hot dogs, for those of you who prefer all-beef. 

Check out the menu:

Photos by Patrick Singer