Fall Festivals in Illini Country

Maybe you’re coming for a Saturday football game and are looking for some fall fun when visiting the Champaign-Urbana area for the weekend? Crisp cool air, live music, hearty bountiful food and plenty of activities for the whole family can be found in Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding countryside this fall. Check it out!

Photo courtesy of Urbana’s Market on the Square.

Farmers Market on Historic North First Street
Date: June-September
Time: Thursdays, 3-7pm
Where: North 1st Street, Champaign
Admission: FREE

Seasonal farmers market full of fresh produce, weekly activities, cooking demonstrations and a children’s garden!


Market at the Square
Date: May-November
Time: Saturdays, 7am-12pm
Where: Outdoors on the corner of Illinois & Vine Streets in Downtown Urbana
Admission: FREE

Since 1979, vendors have been coming from all over the state to sell their Illinois grown produce, dairy products, meats, baked goods and plants. Local musicians perform, there are hands-on arts activities for the kids, and local craftsmen also sell jewelry, art and handmade clothing.

Urbana Sweet Corn Festival. Photo courtesy of News-Gazette.

37th Annual Urbana Sweet Corn Festival
Date: August 24-25
Time: Friday, 5pm-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm
Where: Downtown Urbana, on Main St. between Race and Vine Streets
Admission: FREE

All the local Illinois sweet corn you can eat is the main attraction at this festival! There will also be live music both nights as well as a showcase of vintage automobiles. For children and families there are inflatables, a rock climbing wall, indoor laser tag, pony rides and a petting zoo along with quality merchandise and delicious food from vendors.

Sangamon River Music Festival

Date: August 24-25
Time: Friday, 4-11pm; Saturday, 10am-11pm
Where: Mahomet
Admission: FREE

Music all day long on both days, with plenty of carnival rides and food to mix into your stay!


Mr. Turtle’s Backyard Bash. Photo courtesy of Athletic Business.

Mr. Turtle’s Backyard Bash
Date: September 1
Time: 11am-9:30pm
Where: Centennial Park and Sholem Aquatic Center, 2200 W. Sangamon Drive, Champaign
Admission: Half Price Aquatic Center Admission ($5-7)

Imagine having a wild waterpark, loads of lawn games, bundles of inflatables, great tasty food and a live band all in your backyard! After the water-filled day, top it off with a dip into a movie with Finding Nemo to watch while the sun sets.

40th Annual Amish Country Cheese Festival

Date: September 1-3
Time: All Day for Three Days
Where: Arthur
Admission: FREE

Family fun for the whole weekend. Eat a corn dog, sample the Free Cheese, take in a tractor pull, watch a parade, listen to some music, visit an Amish farm shop, shop the sales in town… just enjoy yourself. That’s what a visit to Amish Country is all about!


Amish Country Cheese Festival. Photo courtesy of arthurcheesefestival.com

42nd Arcola Broomcorn Festival
Date: September 7-9
Time: Opens at 10am each day; Check Schedule for Additional Times
Where: Arcola
Admission: FREE

Welcome to the “broomcorn capital of the world!” Visitors come from all over for numerous broom activities, unique arts and crafts, free entertainment and great food. The festival’s parade is Central Illinois’ largest and is home to the world famous Lawn Rangers, who twirl and toss their brooms.


AMBUCS 20th Annual Scarecrow Festival and Car/Motorcycle Show
Date: September 8
Time: 9am-3pm
Where: Urbana
Admission: FREE

Bring the family to enjoy food and beverages, music and entertainment, kids games, hayrack and barrel train rides, scarecrow costume contest, flea market and vendor booths and even a car/motorcycle show… all while supporting a great local non-profit organization!


Pygmalion Music Festival. Photo courtesy of the Daily Illini.

Pygmalion Music Festival 2012
Date: September 27-29
Time: Check Schedule for Show Times
Where: Champaign-Urbana
Admission: $15-120 (Single shows and festival passes)

Like having a Lollapalooza all over again, this time in the fall and on a college campus. Big and small names alike come together to have a three day festival of music throughout Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois’ venues.


Apple & Pork Festival
Date: September 29-30
Time: 9am-5pm
Where: Clinton
Admission: FREE

A fill-your-belly festival with history lessons to boot. Unique homemade goodies can be enjoyed while doing some arts and crafts, listening to music or going for a tractor ride. Also check out a tour of some famous Abe Lincoln landmarks; you’ll love it, honest!


Photo courtesy of life123.com

Halloween Funfest
Date: October 26
Time: 6-9pm
Where: Marketplace Mall, 2000 N. Neil Street, Champaign
Admission: FREE

Kids can enjoy trick-or-treating even before Halloween and have some spooks inside the comfort of the mall while venturing into the haunted house.


Nightmare on Grove Street
Date: October 31
Time: 5-8pm
Where: Douglass Park, Champaign
Admission: FREE

A great way to spend Halloween in a fun fall festival on All Hallow’s Eve! Games, treats and scares are in store for a night at the park; spooktacular for the whole family!


Folk & Roots Festival. Photo courtesy of Urbana Business Association.

Folk & Roots Festival
Date: November 2-3
Time: Schedule Coming Soon
Where: Downtown Urbana
Admission: FREE, Donations Welcomed

Hosted by a not-for-profit organization, this festival gives local musicians of all genres the chance to play a tune for all to hear.

About: Lexi Shurilla

Sports and writing are two of my passions, and mixing them together with being a die-hard Illini fan only begins to describe me. I am now a University of Illinois Alum with a degree in News-Editorial Journalism after graduating in May 2012. Promoting my school is something I do best, and my enthusiasm and loyalty shine brightly.