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Thursday, May 23, 2013 04:27 pm

Summer Picks


Old Capitol Farmers Market
8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through October

Fresh cheese, bread, meat, spices, herbs and locally grown produce can all be part of your summer menu thanks to this year’s Old Capitol Farmers Market. Presented by St. John’s Hospital and Downtown Springfield, Inc., the market opened for the season May 15.

The Market accepts LINK, debit and credit card transactions for the purchase of market tokens for $1. The market token station will be located at Development Services Group on 401 E. Adams and available 8 a.m. to noon each market day. Vendors will also continue to accept cash, checks, WIC and Senior Coupons. DSI received grant funding again from LINK UP Illinois to provide double value tokens for LINK cardholders. LINK UP Illinois is a program of Experimental Station, in partnership with Wholesome Wave and the Illinois Farmers Market Association. LINK customers may receive a maximum of $10 of double value tokens per market day until grant funds are expended.

Every Wednesday and Saturday through October, browse three downtown blocks on Adams Street between Fifth and Second and discover ways to enhance your home dining experience. Whether it’s the chef with an advanced palette, a family looking to add some flavor to their diet or the Saturday morning shopper, there is something for everyone.

Each third Saturday of the month, the market fills with artisans, chef demos and live music. Through Oct. 19, local juried artisans will display and sell their original artwork every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the parking lot at the southeast corner of Adams.

While some get their art fix, fresh produce fans won’t want to miss “Super Saturdays.” Each third Saturday there will be chef demonstrations by Chef Michael Higgins of Maldaner’s Restaurant and the following live entertainment 10 a.m. to noon: June 15 – Elvis Himselvis, July 20 – Black Magic Johnson, Aug. 17 – Skibbereen, Sept. 21 – Don Smith Band and Oct. 19 – Thornhill. In an effort to host more live, local music, Midwest Family Broadcasting, “Alice 97.7 Saturday Stage,” has partnered with DSI to help schedule additional bands on available Saturdays.

This growers-only event gives local producers a chance to showcase their most glorious greens. As new vendors join the market they will have the opportunity to be part of the “Grower of the Week” radio program. The program highlights individual vendors and will again be hosted by Bob Murray of WTAX-AM on Wednesday mornings. Due to the increased number of vendors and interest, Midwest Family Broadcasting is offering to conduct additional vendor interviews on “The Farmers Market with Jim Leach, WMAY” airing on Wednesday mornings at 8:50 a.m. as scheduling allows.

Longtime sponsor St. John’s Hospital understands the importance of fresh, locally grown produce to help people live healthier lives. The hospital promotes healthy lifestyles, distributes informational materials and offers health screenings and programs, such as a body fat analysis and interactive educational programs to help children and adults learn about the importance of proper nutrition. St. John’s also provides free blood pressure tests and other tests periodically during the season.

For more information, phone 217-544-1723. For a complete list of market vendors and market map visit www.downtownspringfield.org.


Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, making this year’s Juneteenth festivities extra special. The 20th annual celebration will take place beginning June 15 and continue on June 16 at Comer Cox Park at Capitol Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

On Friday, June 14, there will be a showing of the movie Hotel Transylvania. Bring a chair or blanket. The free film viewing is sponsored by the Springfield Park District.

Saturday will officially begin the Juneteenth Celebration with the kickoff parade at 10 a.m. starting at Martin Luther King Drive and making its way down Brown Street. The two-day event will feature a variety of vendors and entertainment on two main stages. Plus the 3-on-3 Springfield Gus Macker basketball tournament returns both days. See www.macker.com for more info.

Running both days from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., you’ll want to bring your family to all the free events. It’s open to the public and fun for all.


Taste of Downtown and American Music Show
July 12-13, Friday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

More than 20 of your favorite downtown restaurants serve up tasty dishes of ethnic, eclectic and classic cuisine for Taste of Downtown to the benefit of all your hungry, and perhaps neglected, taste buds.

Consider just some of the items on the mouthwatering menu: jerk pork taco, antipasto plate, meatloaf cupcakes, blackened salmon slider, cannoli, turkey cranberry cream cheese pretzel slider, fried oyster po’ boys, gyros, fruit fizzy, apple pecan chicken salad sandwiches, New England crab roll and grilled marlin burger. Which will you select to sample? Which will you vote on for the People’s Choice Award for favorite food at the Taste? Admission is $5. Children 12 and under get in free. Food and beverage tickets are $1.

In association with the Taste of Downtown, the American Music Show provides some great jams to listen to while munching on all the scrumptious cuisine.

The lineup for Friday night rocks. ZZ Tripp plays ZZ Top tunes at 6 p.m. Hipbone Sam takes the stage at 7 p.m., with Josh Catalano & the Dirty Thoughts at 8 p.m., The Heard at 9 p.m. and a to-be-announced headliner at 10 p.m.

Starting out Saturday’s musical entertainment are local favorites Josie Lowder Band at 3 p.m. and Emerald Underground at 4:30 p.m. Harmony Deep plays at 5:30 p.m., Debbie Ross Band at 7 p.m., Hurricane Ruth at 8:15 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m. from Tupelo, Miss., Headliner Paul Thorn Band.

The Taste will also feature the Artification Mural Project this year. Artist Michael Mayosky is painting the side of the Alamo building, one of several to-come downtown murals. Make sure to check it out at 115 N. Fifth Street, at the northwest corner of the festival.

If you really want to make it a complete weekend, consider a special downtown overnight package that includes admission and food and beverage tickets to the Taste of Downtown with your hotel room booking. For more information on the festival, phone Downtown Springfield, Inc. at 217-544-1723.


Decatur Celebration
August 2-4, Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 10am-11pm, Sun. 11am-9:30pm

A massive street party that is free awaits you in downtown Decatur. From the Civic Center to the Decatur Arts Council, there’s block upon block and three days of family fun at the Decatur Celebration.

As organizers boast, there are “five festivals in one” at the Decatur Celebration – music, arts and crafts, carnival, film and food.

The entertainment stage features an awesome lineup of headliners, including Vertical Horizon (double Platinum early 2000s rock band), Blind Melon (quadruple Platinum 1990s alternative rock band), Naughty by Nature (Grammy-award-winning Platinum hip-hop trio), Foghat (double Platinum ’70s rock band), Ce Ce Peniston (’90s dance club music diva), David Nail (Grammy and ACM-nominated country artist), Kevin Fowler (country comedian), Casey Abrams (season 10 “American Idol” finalist), Building 429 (Dove award winners), For King and Country (Christian duo), Tyler Farr (emerging country music star), Lisa Haley and the Zydekats (Grammy-nominated), Heartache Tonight (tribute to the Eagles), and The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (voted best band of Warped Tour).

Music and more rolls out on nine other show stages and at the Back Lot where Indie music and art by emerging local musicians and artists can be experienced. There will be an art exhibition, craft beer tasting and lots more.

Once again three blocks of the festival will house arts and crafts, while the Wine Garden returns with a premier selection of boutique wine on Merchant Street. Cool sounds of blues will emerge from nearby Cabaret Stage. Decatur Showcase is where you can catch amateur acts of all ages who have signed up to wow you.

And what’s a festival without a carnival? Exciting rides are housed at the Decatur Civic Center parking lot. All You Can Ride wristband night is Thursday, Aug. 1, 4-11 p.m. Wristbands are $20. There’s also a full block of fun for the kids. This area features children’s games and shows that will impress and inspire your youngsters, and there are prizes, too. And everyone loves a parade, particularly the well-known and loved Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes parade. The procession kicks off Saturday’s Decatur Festival at 10 a.m.

Another popular attraction at the Decatur Celebration is the award-winning Land of Lincoln Credit Union 21 Film Project. The film fest will screen top submitted films from local filmmakers and award-winning films from national festivals. Don’t miss the film awards ceremony.

And to complete your days at this enormous street festival, there will be some of the best fair food for your taste buds to explode. You’ll need to buy a Band Together wristband to purchase food and drink. But each band costs only $5 for the weekend if you buy in advance. They are $6 on site. And that ticket price helps pay for all the free entertainment and free admission.

Details and maps for the Decatur Celebration are located at decaturcelebration.com.


Illinois State Fair
Aug. 8-18, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., buildings open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

As summer approaches, anticipation grows for one of Springfield’s biggest events. This year the Illinois State Fair welcomes visitors with the theme, “Where Illinois Comes Together.”

The fair highlights Illinois agriculture and unique style and has much to offer for you and your family. Each day at the fair has a theme so whether you’re a senior, a veteran, a music lover or agricultural enthusiast, there’s something for you.

The 10-day fair begins Aug. 8 and runs through Aug. 18. Fairgrounds will be open 7 a.m. to midnight and buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Preview night is Aug. 8; it’s free and you will learn everything the fair has to offer. Adults, ages 13 to 59, pay $7; children 5 to age 12 pay $3; and children age 5 and under are free.

Headliners such as award-winning singer and songwriter John Mayer and upcoming rap star Ke$ha, country crooner Toby Keith and rock legend Journey are among this year’s musical guests. So come check out to the Illinois State Fair. You don’t want to miss it. For more information visit http://www.agr.state.il.us/isf/general.htm.

Old Capitol Blues & BBQs
August 23-24, Friday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Savory and sizzling barbecue tops the weekend menu while hard-driving, toe-tapping blues music rocks the stage at the Old Capitol Blues and BBQs the last full weekend of August, Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24. Located at Fifth and Washington streets in downtown Springfield, this will be a yummy and entertaining end-of-summer party.

Featuring more than 40 BBQ competitors and vendors, you’ll be able to sample the best-of-the-best in barbecue made in the Midwest. Be sure to vote for your favorites. Two award categories return, Most Festive Booth and BBQ Hospitality.

Local and national blues talent is featured alongside the barbeque fest. The Illinois Central Blues Club Challenge begins at noon Saturday. The winner of the band challenge receives $1,000 in travel money to represent the ICBC at the Blues Foundation’s 30th annual International Blues Challenge, scheduled to take place next year in Memphis, Tenn.

A separate competition for a solo/duo act takes place on the same day. The winner of the solo/duo contest receives $500 in travel monies. These acts will have at least one member who belongs to the Illinois Central Blues Club.

Headliners for Friday’s music include Tombstone Bullet at 6 p.m., Black Magic Johnson at 8 p.m. and James Armstrong at 10 p.m. Saturday’s lineup is Murder of Crows at 4 p.m., Shakedown 66 at 5 p.m., Brooke Thomas and the Blue Suns at 6 p.m., Backpack Jones at 7:30 p.m. and at 9:30 p.m. from Memphis, Tenn., Delta Crush with Plantation All Stars Band.

Admission to listen to the blues is $5. Ages 12 and under are admitted free. Free entertainment for your kids is presented on Aug. 24 from 1-6 p.m. Food and beverage tickets are $1.

Special downtown hotel overnight packages are offered for Old Capitol Blues & BBQs. They include admission and food/beverage tickets with your hotel room booking. Walk to and from the festival. For more information about this or the festival, visit DSI online or phone 217-544-1723.

Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival
Aug. 23-25 – Friday, 3:30-11 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.,
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The town of Lincoln puts on a grand three-day festival each summer. Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 23, with a lights-and-siren parade at 3:30 p.m., snaking from downtown to the Logan County airport. Basically, the airport is where the balloon part of the festival takes place; the downtown square is where the art part of the festival takes place.

Out at the airport, a sea of colorful balloons will wow you. Organizers encourage guests to walk among the balloons and talk with the pilots. But you’ll really want to grab a seat for balloon launches and glows, or better yet, go for a ride. You can pay for a trip up in a balloon early on Saturday and Sunday morning. Make your reservation now via the Chamber, 217-735-2385. Rides are available on a first come, first served basis and are $250. Tethered rides are also available for $15 starting at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Or watch all 34 hot air balloons launch Friday and Saturday night at 6 p.m. and Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. Or view the majestic glows at dusk on Friday and Saturday night. Balloons inflate remaining tethered to the ground as an announcer interacts with the pilots who in turn light up their balloons.

Even though the balloons are a main attraction at the airport, there’s an array of other activities on the grounds. Live entertainment takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings. For the family, there’s a carnival, including fun games and rock climbing. The beer garden is the perfect setting for adults to view the balloon glows and entertainment. Seating is also available throughout the airport and in the hospitality tent. Admission to the activities at Logan County Airport is $5 and $1 for kids 10 and under. Admission wristbands are valid for Friday and Saturday. Parking is $1.

Downtown Lincoln holds its share of entertainment and activities also. A free fine art fair, craft fair and flea market provide a great opportunity to find treasures old and new. Bring a lawn chair for live entertainment on Saturday and Sunday. Or partake in the Up in Smoke on the Square barbeque, a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned cook-off. Also, sip some wine at The Art of Wine tasting area, see some cool cars at the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club cruise-in, or find activities and kids’ games including a dual bungee jump. Other attractions are a used book sale, free trolley rides around downtown and a farmers market. If you need a ride at the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival, a free shuttle will be running between the airport and downtown.

Make sure to check out the Lincoln and Logan Chamber of Commerce website at www.lincolnillinois.com. Maps and schedules are posted along with answers to almost any question you might have about the event.

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