Illini Street Fest to Return on Football Saturdays

Illini Street Fest will feature live music, food vendors and games for all ages.
Illini Street Fest will feature live music, food vendors and games for all ages.

Aug. 20, 2012

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- An old fan favorite will return to football Saturdays this fall, as Illini Street Fest will kickoff each game day starting with the season-opener against Western Michigan on Sept. 1. In the hours leading up to each University of Illinois home football game, Champaign-Urbana's largest street party will open for tailgaters at a new location on First Street between Kirby Avenue and Irwin Drive.

"The return of Street Fest prior to Fighting Illini football games gives our fans a chance to create a festive pregame atmosphere around Memorial Stadium," Illinois director of athletics Mike Thomas said. "We consider the tailgating atmosphere at Illinois one of the best in the nation and Street Fest only enhances the game day experience."

The Illini Walk will start two-and-a-half hours prior to game time at the corner First Street and Kirby Avenue, serving as the official kickoff for Street Fest at each home game. Led by the Marching Illini and Illini cheerleaders, the football team will walk through the Street Fest area down First Street to Irwin Drive, then along the north end of Memorial Stadium. Following the Illini Walk, the Marching Illini and Illini cheerleaders will perform briefly for tailgaters as Street Fest gets underway.

During each Illini Street Fest, a free, public concert will be held at the main stage on the corner of First and Irwin facing south. A different band will perform each game day prior to kickoff. Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets will be the featured band for the Sept. 1 season-opener against Western Michigan. The remaining schedule of bands will be announced at a later date.

September 1: Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets
September 15: Boat Drunks
September 22: Brett Eldredge
September 29: The Brat Pack
October 27: Decadents
November 10: Ryan Ideus and the Feudin' Hillbillies
November 17: Tons O' Fun Band

In addition to the concert, Illini Street Fest will feature several family-friendly, free activities at each game, such as inflatable games, a mini golf course and face painting. Vendors will also be available for fans to purchase food and drink. In addition, an Illini information booth will be set up for fans to get posters, plus Kids Club, I Fund and other Illinois Athletic information will be available. Illinois athletic teams will make appearances and sign autographs at selected games.

First Street, between Kirby Avenue and Stadium Drive, will be closed prior to each game for Illini Street Fest. Only patrons with a Lot 36 or 37 parking pass will be allowed to enter from the north on First Street prior to the game. Patron with a Lot 31 parking pass must enter off of Oak Street. After the game, First Street will become one way going north, between Kirby Avenue and Green Street. Memorial Stadium Parking Map

The Illini open the 2012 season by hosting Western Michigan at 11 a.m. on Sept. 1, the first of seven home games. Season and single-game tickets are on sale now. Single-game tickets for the first three non-conference games, including a prime time 7 p.m. start against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 22, are only $25.