Sounds Of 'Kool And The Gang' Highlight Illini Street Fest


Aug. 15, 2000

The second annual Illini Street Fest, presented by Chevy's Fresh Mex, a celebration of live musical entertainment, delicious food and interactive children's games on Kirby Avenue just outside Memorial Stadium, will kick off the 2000 Illinois football season with the legendary R&B sounds of "Kool and the Gang," featuring J.T. Taylor, on the Chevy's stage prior to the Middle Tennessee game Sept. 2.

From 1979 to 1988, Taylor, performing with "Kool and the Gang," had 18 Top 10 hits, including 10 singles that reached No. 1 in the R&B or pop charts, including the magical hit single "Celebration," a staple at celebratory and sporting events for two decades.

The sounds of "Kool and the Gang" will be kicking off the Illini Street Fest celebration Saturday, Sept. 2 on the Chevy's stage from Noon to 2 p.m. at the corner of Kirby Avenue and First Street on the west side of Memorial Stadium.

Illini Street Fest, surrounded by corporate and group tailgate tents, features food sponsors Chevy's Fresh Mex, KFC, Fighting Illini Pork Club and Park Inn International, along with live stage performances from local, regional and national bands and the traditional Marching Illini street performance. General Motors is also a presenting sponsor of the street activities.

Illini Street Fest, which opens two hours prior to kickoff before every Illinois home game, will also feature the Coca-Cola Family Fun Zone and inflatable games such as the bounce house, giant inflatable slide, football toss, speed pitch and the popular nine-hole minature golf course. There is also free face painting and other specialty entertainment.

Football Plans for 2000 include "Salute to Education" & "Salute to Agriculture"

Illini Street Fest, presented by Chevy's Fresh Mex, is just one of several marketing and promotional efforts planned for the 2000 Illinois football season. The Champaign-Urbana Convention and Visitors Bureau is promoting "Illini Fridays" throughout football season, encouraging residents throughout Champaign County to wear Orange and Blue on Fridays at work and school.

The Sept. 16 California game is the annual Varsity "I" weekend, featuring the return of hundreds of former Illinois letterwinners for a weekend celebration, highlighted by the annual Varsity "I" Recognition Banquet Friday evening. The Sept. 23 Michigan game has been moved to a 6:30 p.m. central kickoff for live national telecast on ESPN2 and hosts the annual "Foundation Weekend" activities hosted by the UI Foundation.

The 90th annual Homecoming game is scheduled for Oct. 14 vs. Iowa with the annual Dad's Day game vs. Indiana Nov. 4. The final home game, Nov. 11 vs. Ohio State, will feature "Salute to Education" and the newly created "Salute to Agriculture." The "Salute to Education" festivities, sponsored by the Divison of Intercollegiate Athletics, the College of Education and the Regional Superintendents of Education in the state of Illinois, feature the presentation of the statewide recipients of outstanding student, teacher, volunteer, parent and administrator, as nominated by Regional Superintendents.

The newly created "Salute to Agriculture" is a joint effort from the DIA, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences to celebrate agriculture and agribusiness in the state of Illinois.

Illinois unveils "Focus on the Zone" merchandise

The University of Illinois has unveiled a specially designed logo to promote the "Focus on the Zone" theme in 2000. The "Focus on the Zone" logo was developed by Phoenix Designs to generate excitement about the upcoming season and to create additional licensing revenue. Illinois' licensing partner, Collegiate Licensing Company, is assisting in licensing and marketing efforts.

The logo will be featured on schedule cards, posters, media guides, advertising, web site, street signs and licensed merchandise. Coca-Cola, a UI corporate partner, is reproducing the logo on five million soda cans throughout Illinois and is also running a statewide ticket campaign with a grocery store chain.

Coca-Cola is also producing 250,000 neck hangers on 2-liter Coke bottles encouraging "Focus on the Zone" merchandise sales. For more information on "Focus on the Zone," contact Marty Kaufmann at (217) 333-2474.