There’s nothing like summertime in central Illinois!
We have so much to do now that the kids are out of school, the pools are open, and the sunshine is plentiful. McLean County has so much to offer regardless of your tastes. Speaking of tastes, summer is the best time for some the best food and drink you’ll find in our community — especially the sweet corn.
As a lifelong resident (or townee), I’ve made many memories here over the summer season. I jotted down a quick list of some of my favorite summer activity and events. Hope you enjoy and feel free to leave me a note and let me know your favorites.
- The Normal Cornbelters — Does anything say summer better than baseball? Like many of you, I was ecstatic when we learned a few years ago that professional baseball was coming back to Bloomington/Normal. A night out at the ballpark with the Cornbelters is fun for the whole family. In addition to some great stadium food, there is a kids area complete with bounce houses and activities. The home opener is Friday, May 13th. Looking forward to seeing you there!
- Prairie Aviation Museum — I’m always a bit surprised when fellow residents tell me they’ve never been to the Prairie Aviation Museum. This local gem has been a part of our community for over 30 years! They do a lot of great community events but our favorite is open cockpit day. The next open cockpit day is on Saturday, May 21st.
- Miller Park Zoo — This year Bloomington’s Miller Park Zoo is celebrating its 125th anniversary. And the folks over at the Zoo have quite a birthday bash planned. The party’s taking place on Saturday, June 11th from noon to 3pm. It’s guaranteed to be a great time for kids and adults alike.
- Make Music Normal — I remember the old downtown Normal and yes, there are some fine moments of nostalgia. But the renovated and rejuvenated Uptown Normal is becoming one of the best hubs for music and arts in the entire state! Watch and listen as Uptown comes alive with the sounds of music (sorry couldn’t resist) on Saturday, June 18th. Various locations throughout Uptown will be participating and it should be a memorable day/evening.
- Sugar Creek Arts Festival — Once again Uptown Normal is on display with this annual arts extravaganza. The Sugar Creek Arts Festival brings varied artists from all over the country to central Illinois. The event is produced by the McLean County Arts Center, one of the oldest arts organizations in the Midwest. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, July 9th and Sunday, July 10th.
- Danvers Days — There’s no small town that knows how to throw a festival better than Danvers, Illinois. From Friday, August 19th thru Sunday, August 21st you’ll make your way to Danvers Days. You’ll find a carnival atmosphere with rides, food, raffles, live music, and prizes. Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to miss this one!
- Bruegala — If you’ve never made it out to Bruegala before, allow me to explain it to you. You get to sample the finest in craft beers, microbrews, and imported beers while listening to fantastic awesome music. And the best part? Proceeds go to benefit local charities. I’ll raise a glass to that! This year’s Bruegala will be held at the Corn Crib (home of the Cornbelters) on Friday, August 26th and Saturday, August 27th.
- Sweet Corn and Blues Festival — In my humble opinion, this is the best way to capstone your central Illinois summer. The Sweet Corn and Blues Festival is a celebration of everything our community has to offer from great music, great food, arts and culture, and of course just gathering around with friends and family. The festival will take over the entire Uptown Normal area on Saturday August 27th and Sunday, August 28th. The food is amazing, including the buttered sweet corn on a stick, and you can even enter a sweet corn eating contest.
Well, this is just a quick list of some of my favorites. Drop me a leave or leave a comment sharing some of yours. Hope you have a great summer!