Illini Union looking to ‘Chow Down in Campustown’ to launch 13 Thursdays



Cars pass the intersection of Sixth Street and Green Street while students wait to pass.

By Yanchao Zhao, Contributing Writer

The Champaign Center Partnership and the Illini Union will hold ‘Chow Down in Campustown’ this Thursday, from 4 to 9 p.m. This is a free event to launch the 13 Thursdays, a summertime promotion of the Campustown area, which is sponsored by several local businesses including Illini Media Company.

“This is the first time we’ve held Chow Down in Campustown,” said Genevieve Kirk, executive director of the Champaign Center Partnership, in an email. “This year our committee decided to launch the summertime promotion with a new food-focused event, ‘Chow Down in Campustown,’ to celebrate the great food offered in Campustown. Our intent is to introduce Chambana residents to the unique culinary options and shopping offered in Campustown during a calm time of year.”

This event includes a self-guided culinary tour, a sidewalk sale shopping and family-friendly programming, including the Chalk the Quad and an outdoor movie.

Kirk said the most attractive event might be the self-guided culinary tour.

“We hope people enjoy it. The self-guided tour features free food samples from over 14 restaurants from 4 to 6 p.m.,” Kirk said.

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    These restaurants will provide different types of food samples, which include pub appetizers, pizza, dessert and a variety of drinks.

    Besides free food samples in supply, all restaurants listed on the map will also have special discounts. Kirk suggested participants pick up an event map at check-in stations from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., which will list the food samples and locations.

    ‘Chow Down in Campustown’ is the beginning of the 13 Thursdays, which lasts from May 24 to August 16. During this time, people can get a free Campustown passport by in any participating Campustown business or print it themselves. Coupons for over 20 Campustown businesses will be printed on this passport.

    People can get their passports stamped each time they eat in one of these businesses on Thursdays between May 24 and August 16. If they can submit their passports with at least 13 stamps at the end of summer, they can enter a drawing. One winner will get a $250 gift card to the Illini Union Bookstore.

    Sidewalk chalk art on the Main Quad is another activity of ‘Chow Down in Campustown,’ which is open from 4 to 8 p.m.

    “Chalk the Quad is sidewalk chalk art drawn by event attendees. We encourage participants to have fun and find their inner artist,” Kirk said.

    In evening, the cartoon movie “Peter Rabbit” will be shown at 9 p.m. on the Main Quad as a part of the Summer Quad Cinema Series.

    “The Illini Union is our event sponsor. Each summer they organize the Summer Quad Film Series. I understand they selected ‘Peter Rabbit’ to appeal to a family-friendly audience,” Kirk said.

    Kirk said she overall hopes ‘Chow Down in Campustown’ will encourage more local residents to visit the Campustown area.

    “Our main audience is Chambana residents and families that typically do not frequent Campustown when the University is in session. We invite students who are here for the summer to come out and enjoy as well.” Kirk said.

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