Bud Light Summer Stage event comes to an early end due to weather


Landon Harper, five-year-old Champaign resident, hugs Louie the Alligator at the Bud Light Summer Stage event Saturday, July 26.  

The Bud Light Summer Stage event returned to campus Saturday, making it the third year for the festival to hit campus. Although the event was supposed to take place from afternoon to late evening, rain and thunderstorms forced the festivities to come to an early end.

Located on John Street between Fifth and Wright streets, The Bud Light Summer Stage events began at 3 p.m. The radio station “Classic Hits 107.9” blasted music from the Main Stage’s speakers, and chairs and tables were spread out across the streets for attendees to sit and enjoy the music and festivities.

The brand new Kids Fest started off the event and hosted activities such as a petting zoo, performances by a cast of Mary Poppins, carnival games, performances by the Champaign Park District Dance Arts Program and more.

With the addition of the Kids Fest to the festival, Erin Lippitz, Champaign Center Partnership executive director, said the goal was to bring in more families to the event.

“We wanted to organize it for more of a festival for kids to reach out to families,” Lippitz said. “We don’t see a lot of families on campus. They see it as more of an event for students, and we want to change this perception. We’re hoping the Kids Fest encourages families to get down here and stay for the concert.”

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    Although a few families did stroll in and out of the festival, by 4:30 p.m. people started to leave the event due to rain and approaching storms.

    Champaign Center volunteers began packing up the carnival games, tables and tents that were set up along the streets. The Scovill Mobile Petting Zoo packed up their animals and the ballet dancers of the Champaign Park District Dance Arts Program continued dancing in the light rain until 5 p.m.

    “We need everyone to clear the streets,” said a Champaign Center volunteer over the speakers. “We see bad weather approaching and want to keep everyone safe, so please move off the streets.”

    By 6:30 p.m. the weather had lightened up, but the event still remained empty of people. Fat Sandwich, where the eating contest was supposed to be held, only had two customers by the 6:45 p.m. starting time, and no winners of the contest were announced. The Champaign Center volunteers started packing up and putting away the main stage, signaling the event had come to a close.

    By 7 p.m. Fifth and John streets were open to cars to drive through.

    “We’re calling it a day at the Bud Light Summer Stage,” tweeted the Classic Hits 107.9 Twitter account. “Thanks for joining us, and stay safe.”

    Christine can be reached at [email protected].