The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Urbana South Candyland Drag Show excites, entertains

The Urbana South residence halls, composed of PAR and FAR, held their annual drag show on April 26, creating a fun and immersive event open to all students.

The crowd lined up at the PAR dining hall’s main entrance around 7:30 p.m. The lobby was decorated with this year’s Candyland theme. Alongside candy-shaped balloons and colorful stickers were posters explaining common drag terminology and the event’s history.

The emphasis remained on the LGBTQ+ community, with multiple pride flags hung up both in the lobby and behind the stage, setting the backdrop for wonderful performances.

At 8 p.m., the doors finally opened, revealing an even more colorful set-up. Big plastic gummy bears and ice cream cones adorned the food service bars, containing a plethora of food, all themed after the Candyland board game.

Music was played by DJ Silkee, who also happened to be the first female DJ the drag show has ever had.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Students enjoyed Mama Ginger Tree’s Sticky Chicken Wings, Jolly’s Garlic Parm Sweet Potato Tots and more, alongside trays of candy. Healthy options were available, too, in the form of fruits and vegetables.

For some students, this event was their first time at a drag show.

“I’m kind of excited to see all the outfits,” Cole McKeever, freshman in FAA said. “I don’t really know what to expect, so I’m just kind of here to see what happens.”

According to a poster at the event, the Urbana South Drag Show was first held in 2009 after a group of paraprofessionals and their advisor, Liz Elsen, began working to bring more LGBTQ+ events to students living in dorms. While originally hosted in the FAR multipurpose room, the event’s wild success required a much larger venue, relocating to the PAR dining hall.

“I started this show, at this campus, 15 years ago; that’s how long we’ve been doing this,” Ceduxion Carrington, the first performer of the night and local drag queen, said.

This year, she stunned in a lip sync to “Goodies” by Ciara, setting an exciting tone for the night. The incredibly packed dining hall yelled and cheered for her throughout the performance while laughing at her hilarious jokes.

The second performer was DaéShaun Carrington, a male impersonator and Ceduxion Carrington’s drag grandchild. His performance was a lip sync to a mashup of classic hits, including “I Want You Back” by *NSYNC and “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

His outfit further encapsulated the Candyland theme as he danced in a pink shirt and pants decorated like a candy heart.

From there, students were told to move to the other side of the hall, where a second stage was set up for the other two performances. Despite commands from volunteer staff, the excitement of the crowd was clear as students ran and stampeded across the dining hall to get good seats.

Venus Carangi was the next performer. Dressed in a peppermint-themed outfit, she took to the stage doing multiple flips, turns and jumps to “Lollipop (Candyman)” by Aqua. The crowd continued their cheering throughout the performance.

Apollo Summers followed, starting in a horror-inspired costume and lip-syncing to Billie Eilish’s “bury a friend.” Before long, however, the song changed into a mashup of famous Nicki Minaj raps alongside “Sour Candy” by Lady Gaga and BLACKPINK. Summers revealed a stunning blue outfit before performing countless acrobatics, raising the energy in the room.

After a quick break and a second round of performances, the performers gathered for a Q&A session with the audience at around 10:20 p.m. They talked about how they started to drag, what the hardest part of perfecting their craft is, how long it takes them to get ready for a show and more.

“I ended up starting drag because I wanted to help fundraise for our community,” Carangi said.

The Q&A also included an impromptu performance by Gary Cheng, freshman in Engineering. After being encouraged to sing by Ceduxion Carrington, who heard him singing along to the dining hall’s music, Cheng gave a rousing performance of “Sway” by Michael Bublé.

In a later interview, Cheng admitted that his favorite part of the night was when he got to sing. “But aside from that, I like the acrobatics,” Cheng said.


[email protected]

More to Discover
ILLordle: Play now