CI weekend planner: Welcome fall, guitar royalty and all things Asian this weekend
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Japan fest, Second City comedy, and other things to do Sept. 6-8

So everyone’s back in school, and Urbana is putting on a couple of stellar events to welcome back students and faculty at the University of Illinois flagship campus, but towns from Arcola to Peoria have plenty of other arts & entertainment offerings competing for your attention.


Matsuri Festival

The fifth annual Matsuri festival may be put on by Urbana’s Japan House, but it aims to be a Pan-Asian celebration — this year more than ever, with the participation of the local Indian community. But of course you can still find just about anything Japanese at the fest, including all-female rockers the 5. 6. 7. 8’s! It all starts Sunday at noon.

Guitar heaven

ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival

ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival is one of those events so massive there’s no way anyone could take it all in: 30 shows, panels and workshops packed into three days. But the dizzying array of global music on display means there’s something for every taste, many of the shows are free, and although blues legend Buddy Guy’s Saturday gig is sold out, you could still make it into the other ticketed events last we checked. It’s all happening at the Krannert Center from Thursday evening through Saturday night; here’s our ELLNORA pocket guide.

Fall ushers in …

Fall Into Fall Super Saturday

Welcome harvest season in Illinois Amish Country at the Arcola Broomcorn Festival, going on all weekend in Arcola.

49th Arcola Broomcorn Festival schedule of events

And kids can learn about the science and art of fall through crafts, games, and activities in Springfield at the Illinois State Museum’s Fall Into Fall Super Saturday from 11 am-3 pm.

Tons of new art exhibits


We’re not kidding. Decatur’s First Friday Art Walk, held from 5 pm-7:30 pm, includes the opening reception and artist demonstration for “Pulp Landscapes” by Indiana-based Terry Lacy at the Madden Arts Center, and the opening reception for Decatur native Alec Goss’ “Psychopomp” exhibit at The ArtFarm.

Renderings: Garret McFann
By Garret McFann

Bloomington has its own First Friday event going on from 5 pm-8 pm, during which several art galleries will be hosting Ask an Artist events. Meanwhile, the McLean County Arts Center will be hosting receptions for three new exhibits from 5 pm-7 pm: “Renderings,” a series of box-framed paintings by California-based Garret McFann; a retrospective of the work of retired ISU professor Richard Finch; and an homage to the late Bloomington fiber artist Naomi Towner.

Cynthia Merrill: Sgraffito: Scratching Through The Surface
By Chynthia Merrill

The First Friday onslaught continues at the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria (CAC), where you can visit with resident artists from 5 pm-9 pm, in addition to attending the opening reception for “Hot CIAO VI,” a group exhibition showcasing the work of artists who are current members of CAC and the Central Illinois Artists’ Organization, and check out “Sgraffito,” the new exhibit by Peoria ceramic artist Cynthia Merrill.

On the stage

The Second City Touring Company

Cue the mic drop! Chicago’s legendary The Second City comedy group is coming to Springfield’s Hoogland center for the arts on Saturday at 8 pm. If you prefer humor of a more subtle kind, head to Bloomington for Community Player Theater’s revival of Neil Simon’s rom-com Barefoot in the Park. And for family entertainment there’s Peoria Player Theatre’s Tarzan the Musical, based on the 1999 Disney film.

Central Illinois Buzz

Written by Central Illinois Buzz

Covering the good life in central Illinois.

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Here's your pocket guide to the 2019 edition of ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival

Photos: Matsuri 2019

Photos: Matsuri 2019