Festivals introduce Midwestern culture
August 20, 2019
As a person who has lived in the Midwest for the past 20 years, I have grown to love the culture and the people of the region. From the corn obsession to the widespread hospitality, there can be so much to love about living here. I find Midwestern people possess a certain attitude, something hard to find in different parts of the country. A neighborly attribute that makes us lookout for one another. You have the people who would walk your dog if you broke your foot. The neighbor who would shovel your driveway during the winter if you were feeling sick. I could go on and on with examples of kindness. I would even go as far as to describe Midwesterners as the “Canadians” of the United States.
As a person who has lived in the same house my entire life, I cannot begin to wrap my head around the concept of moving to a different country at 18 by yourself. Out of all the places you could have chosen to go to college, however, the Midwest can be an excellent home away from home. Here are a couple of things that could help not only immerse you in Midwestern culture but Illini culture as well.
Urbana Sweetcorn Festival
The first weekend of college in your new digs can seem especially intimidating. A great way to make C-U feel more like home could be to get to know the area, and one of the best ways to do this is through the annual Sweetcorn Festival that happens in downtown Urbana, home of several bars and restaurants of its own.
Taking place over the weekend before classes begin on August 26, it can be a great way to distract yourself from homesickness as well as help experience the Midwest with its love of corn!
Japan House Matsuri Festival
The Matsuri is an event generally held on one of the first Sundays in September. Located at the Japan House and Arboretum in Urbana, Matsuri is a great event for students of all years. A festival of live music, authentic food and shop vendors can add up to be a wonderful night with your dorm friends. Matsuri also consists of different cultural events, such as traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, origami — traditional paper folding — as well as Ikebana — flower arranging. No matter what your interests are, there is something at the festival for everyone who goes.
As an obvious event for all incoming freshmen to attend, Quad Day is a right of passage. With almost every organization on campus having a stand, you can really get a grasp for the clubs or activities that might be worth taking part in. It also can be a great place to make friends with similar interests.