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

City of Champaign unveils new Market Street Entertainment District

The Beat organizers, including the mayor, city manager and city council members cut a ribbon in front of the stage. The city organized downtown festival districts for the summer with live music and legal alcohol consumption.

Champaign officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Market Street Entertainment District on Friday. The city launched “The Beat: Downtown Champaign,” an initiative aimed at revitalizing downtown festivities with live music, entertainment and culture.

The Market Street Entertainment District is one of two recurring downtown festivals in Champaign this summer, along with the Friday Night Live Festival District. Both festivals allow patrons to purchase alcohol from participating downtown restaurants and bars and consume it within designated outdoor areas and timeframes. 

Downtown festival districts are set to take place every Friday and Saturday evening. More information, including dates and times, can be found on the city’s website.

Champaign city manager Dorothy Ann David began the ceremony by acknowledging the community for their efforts in launching the downtown festival district.

“We are standing here on the shoulders and the history of long lines of entertainers, creative people and our hospitality industry,” David said. “These are the people who have worked tirelessly year after year so that we can come together as a community.”

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David then introduced the Champaign mayor, Deborah Frank Feinman, who further recognized various city departments that helped plan and develop the summer festival districts. 

“The equity and engagement department, our police and fire departments, our public works department, the liquor commissioner and the planning and development department have spent the last 60 days working like crazy so that we could start the summer in downtown Champaign,” Feinman said. 

After Feinman’s recognition, Champaign city council members read a proclamation of the new district, essentially a formal statement acknowledging the project.

“We, the members of the city council of the city of Champaign, do hereby issue this proclamation in recognition of the grand opening of The Beat: Downtown Champaign,” one member of the council said.

Following the formal proclamation, the city council, the city manager, the mayor and organizers for The Beat used oversized scissors to cut a red ribbon which was strung across the stage. 

To celebrate the ribbon cutting, David welcomed local rapper and University alumnus Jarrel Young to perform a theme song, known as “The Beat Anthem,” aiming to amp up the crowd in preparation for the downtown festivities.

To conclude the ceremony, David invited Kelly White, a Parkland College art history instructor and executive director of 40 North, a Champaign arts organization which organizes Friday Night Live, to the stage. White has previously coordinated projects for the city, such as Downtown Champaign: Art & Sol, an outdoor performance series and Sight Specific, a series of storefront exhibits. 

White thanked the title sponsor of The Beat, Jason Fowler — co-owner of Champaign bar Pour Brothers — as well as the city for helping to organize the downtown festival district. 

“Let’s all have a great summer and kick off the downtown festival district,” White said. “Live at The Beat!” 


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