May has finally graced us with its presence and it brings wonderful events along with flowers and sunshine just before (and some after, for those of you sticking around) graduation. We’re going to avoid having graduation itself on this list so those of you ignoring its ever-looming presence may be at ease and are instead going to focus on some of the lighter and less real-life-inducing things you can do around town this month. With events ranging from the swansong of a local music staple to the always pleasant opportunity to take in some nature, we hope we’ll find a little something for everyone this month.
For those of you graduating, we wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors and we thank you for sharing some of your time at the U of I with us here at the UGL. Congratulations to the class of 2016!
Sometimes it seems like the only way to make it through finals is to have an other-worldly type of focus and power like The Force from Star Wars. Lucky for you, the good folks at the Illini Union are going to screen the latest Star Wars film for those of you looking for a bit of heroic inspiration or looking to take a break from all that cramming. We’ll avoid spoilers for those of you that may have missed it when it was in theaters, but let’s just say you’re going to feel pretty awesome going into your exams if you have a mindset like Rey or Finn in this movie.
Many of the events blogs we’ve posted in the past have featured glimpses into the deep musical soul of our twin cities and many of those past events have been hosted at one of CU’s finest local music venues: Mike N Molly’s. As the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end” and May 13 will be the final night for locals to bask in the glorious sounds that can be found emanating from the glorious green bar in Downtown Champaign. Local giants Withershins will play the final set ever and while we would advise seeing them anytime they’re playing around town, we think this performance will be even a bit more special. It’s a night that will be remembered for many years to come just like the ceremony happening the days following it.
If you’ve never been to the Arboretum over near the intersection of Lincoln and South Florida Avenues, anytime in May would be the perfect time to visit. The Japan House is a serene spot where you can simply sit and watch an afternoon slip on by or if you head toward the back of the Arboretum you’ll find yourself lost in the flowers of the Selection Garden, sure to be in bloom by the end of finals and offering more colors than you can imagine in one place. The Idea Garden is another beautiful spot to spend some time in and overall, we think you’ll find some sense of inner peace when walking around on a sunny day. And after finals, that may be just what you need.
Champaign-Urbana is chock full of lovely parks that are a great place to spend a summer day and the Parks District is looking to bring even more people to them this summer with their Sounds at Sunset Concert Series. May 22 will feature the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project, a group that is sure to play some lively and intricate tunes that could be the cap to a perfect weekend. The parks department encourages you to bring chairs and refreshments, so put on your weekend shorts and shades and listen to some great music as the sun goes down before another work week.
Summer and all its sunshine and warmth will hopefully be in full swing by the end of the month and the best way to cool off is to hit the pool. Sholem Aquatic Center will be celebrating its opening day and for only $9 for admission, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to beat the heat.