Community events to get involved in

Jason Finkelman performs in front of Ten Thousand Villages in Champaign at the Boneyard Arts Festival on Friday.

It can be easy to fall into the same pattern during your first year of college. You’re new to campus and most likely can now get into bars for the first time in your life. While the bars are fun, you don’t want to forget that there is a community here beyond campustown. Champaign-Urbana offers many events that will help you branch out to the community.

The Pygmalion Festival

The Pygmalion Festival is one of C-U’s most popular music festivals that strives to bring relevant artists to Champaign. In the festival’s past decade, performers have included Of Montreal, Janelle Monae, Iron & Wine and many more. Last year the festival expanded to include The Pygmalion Literary Festival, a two-day literary event featuring a broad range of award-winning and emerging authors. The Made Fest was also added, which is a two-day, curated and open-air marketplace featuring handmade and vintage sellers.

Pygmalion will take place Sept. 25 through 28 this year in the Krannert Center District in Urbana and downtown Champaign. Artists announced so far include CHVRCHES, American Football (originally from Champaign-Urbana!), Panda Bear and more. Festival passes cost $85 plus a handling fee while individual tickets prices range depending on the artist.

Boneyard Arts Festival

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Students can connect to the community through the arts at the Boneyard Arts Festival every spring. This four-day event hosted by 40 North | 88 West aims to bring together local artists, business and organizations to showcase the art of the community. The festival includes all of Champaign County with over 100 traditional and non-traditional venues, including theaters, cafes, galleries and even salons and retail stores. All kinds of visual artists are welcome along with musicians, actors, dancers, poets and other performers.

Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon

Combine exercise and community with the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Over 18,000 people gather every April to run this flat and fast course through downtown streets, tree-lined residential neighborhoods and paved park trails. Registration for this year’s marathon opened on July 7 and will remain open until April. Runners can sign up for a marathon, half marathon, wheelchair half, marathon relay, 10K and 5K. There is a registration fee, but the earlier you sign up the cheaper the fee. Additionally, prize money is given to the top three female and male participants in the marathon and half marathon.


The Roger Ebert Film Festival was founded in 1999 by the late film critic and University of Illinois alumnus Roger Ebert. The film festival celebrates films that haven’t received the recognition they deserved during their original runs. Filmmakers and actors are also invited to speak on panels after their films are shown. Last year, Brie Larson, Spike Lee, Patton Oswalt and Oliver Stone were just a few filmmakers in attendance. Past actors have also included Tilda Swinton and Shailene Woodley. The festival is held every year in the historic Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, one of Ebert’s favorite theatres growing up. Festival passes are $145 but tickets are sold individually as well. However, the festival is always looking for student volunteers who are often permitted to watch the films for free if there is available seating.

Karyna is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].