Families keep an ear open for Streetfest

Families and friends gathered in downtown Champaign on Saturday evening to hear live music played in the streets and to enjoy Champaign bars and restaurants.

This event marked the second Streetfest this summer, with the first held back in June and the third coming up in August.

This summer’s three events mark the sixth year Streetfest has taken place in Champaign.

Tony Oligney-Estill, special events manager at the Champaign Park District, said the event was held to promote the local businesses.

“We have been doing this for several years,” Oligney-Estill said. “We do it in combination with the city of Champaign; it is an opportunity to provide live music and also to bring business to the downtown area.”

He added that this second installment of Streetfest drew at least 5,000 people to the downtown Champaign area to hear the live music. From 7 to 9 p.m., Cassandra and the Gravel Road Band performed on stage. Starting at 9 p.m., Fools for Rowan performed rock music for the audience.

Oligney-Estill said even the first year of the event was successful and had overwhelming crowds, causing them to continue holding it.

“It was (a) pretty big draw just because it was live music downtown outdoors where a lot of people could congregate,” Oligney-Estill said.

In the middle of the Streetfest crowd, one table featured a college graduation party. Holley Thomas, a recent graduate from Indiana University at Bloomington, appeared excited while sitting with her family.

Thomas came to her hometown of Champaign to visit family and celebrate her graduation.

Thomas said the festival has been a great addition to her graduation party.

“It’s great, we are having a good time,” Thomas said. “We did not know that the Streetfest was going on so it is a pretty pleasant surprise.”