October planner: The return of Bill Self and Paxton’s ‘Voice,’ Taylor Swift on the big screen, animals aplenty and more

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OCTOBER 1. Confirmed for UI Vet Med‘s open house (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.): 14 dogs, nine horses, eight cows, three snakes, three lizards, two birds of prey, two cats, two halloween hissing cockroaches, a rabbit, an opossum, a tarantula and a turtle.

2. Josh Whitman

OCTOBER 2. One-time Webelo Josh Whitman will be in the spotlight tonight when the Boy Scouts Prairielands Council presents the Illini athletic director with its 2023 Distinguished Citizen Award at Memorial Stadium‘s Colonnades Club.

3. Wiley

OCTOBER 3. Urbana families will soon have a verdict on the oft-debated future of Wiley School. Will it be a sixth-grade learning center? Remain an elementary? A board vote will happen sometime after tonight’s third and final public hearing.

OCTOBER 4. Last chance to apply and receive first consideration for Champaign’s fire chief opening. The job, abruptly vacated by Gary Ludwig in July, offers an annual salary range of $149,759 to $201,895, plus benefits.


OCTOBER 5. If you’ve been waiting 50 years for the sequel to one of the creepiest cult classics of all-time, good news: “The Exorcist: Believer” debuts on the IMAX screen at Savoy 16 today. And there are two more sequels on the way.

OCTOBER 6. It’s now been 1,476 days since a Nebraska football or men’s basketball squad last beat Illinois, the most recent victim being Lovie Smith‘s 2019 bunch — 42-38 at home. No reason to think the streak gets snapped tonight at Memorial Stadium.

OCTOBER 7. Today’s the day for Courage Connection‘s annual domestic violence awareness event — Peace Jam, featuring food, dancing and music from Tony Lindsey & The Smoke Wagon at Urbana’s Broadway Food Hall from 3:30-7 p.m.


OCTOBER 8. This weekend’s your first chance to get a look at the finished version of Champaign’s “The Studio at the Library,” the 8,000-square-foot future home of Edison middle schoolers as soon as the final bell sounds. Open houses are Saturday and today.

OCTOBER 9. Just as “That’s What She Said” has done over 10 years, the mission of its new spinoff — The Power of Storytelling Conference — is to “grow and amplify women’s voices.” Today is Day 2 of the two-day event in downtown Champaign.


OCTOBER 10. Champaign is among 60 tour stops for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” along with New York, Chicago and every other major metro. The format: the movie will be shown on an HD screen at State Farm Center, accompanied by an orchestra, percussion and scratch DJ.

Feed the Farmers

OCTOBER 11. “You feed this world, let us feed you!” is the slogan for the third annual Feed the Farmers giveaway, which runs tomorrow through Saturday. Last year, Realtor Ashley Miller‘s Farmer City-based Red Barn Home Team delivered 400-plus meals areawide.


OCTOBER 12. Next up in the Champaign Public Library‘s “Great Authors” speaker series is a double feature, with best-selling writer and award-winning violinist Brendan Slocumb playing music at 2 p.m. and taking part in a Q&A and book signing at 7.


OCTOBER 13. At last check, Taylor Swift‘s “Eras” tour was on pace to gross a record-setting $1 billion in sales. Now comes another surefire cash cow: the film version of the tour, to be shown on two screens today through Sunday at Gibson City’s Harvest Moon Drive-In.

OCTOBER 14. Among your festive options on the second Saturday of October: Cerro Gordo‘s Fat Hill Fest, the Champaign Park District‘s two-day Flannel Fest at West Side Park and Paxton’s Fall Gathering and Vendor Show.


OCTOBER 15. The “queen of Christian pop” is back in town for a solo show at the Virginia Theatre. Amy Grant, whose last visit was alongside husband Vince Gill in 2014, has won 22 Dove awards and six Grammys over her 30 years in the music biz.

OCTOBER 16. Have a balance due on a traffic ticket or ordinance violation you received a while back in Champaign County? Starting today and ending Oct. 27, you can pay off those fines and others without any late or collection fees attached.

OCTOBER 17. With the first hard freeze of fall likely days away, the Vermilion County Master Gardeners will put on a handy program — how to prepare your garden for winter, set for 6-7 p.m. at the Danville Public Library.

OCTOBER 18. Worth a drive to the Sidney Slab: Countryside United Methodist‘s harvest breakfast, held from 6-8 a.m. every Wednesday throughout October. On the menu: biscuits, gravy, cinnamon rolls, coffee and juice.


OCTOBER 19. Good seats are still available to our Central Illinois Business Magazine Forty Under 40 luncheon, honoring Woman of the Year Ja’Nea Modest, Man of the Year Breaden Belcher and 38 other high-achievers (11:30 a.m., I Hotel).


OCTOBER 20. On tap on Day 6 of homecoming week on the UI campus: a parade (route TBD), pep rally (Grange Grove), men’s basketball exhibition (vs. Ottawa), Class of 1973 50th reunion dinner (Urbana Country Club) and plenty more.

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OCTOBER 21. The tradition continues: For the 30th time, the Greater Champaign County AMBUCS will stage its popular Scarecrow Festival, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at AMBUCS Park in Urbana.

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OCTOBER 22. They played Farm Aid 1 in 1985, the Virginia Theatre 30 years later and the building then known as the Assembly Hall. But Foreigner‘s seventh visit here — part of its “Feels Like The Last Time” farewell tour, at State Farm Center — is it, they vow.

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OCTOBER 23. “The evolution of broadcast news in America” is the topic and former NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams is the featured speaker at a free public UI College of Media event set for 7 p.m. at the Beckman Institute Auditorium.


OCTOBER 24. If you missed Thursday’s performance at Krannert’s Great Hall, the UI Symphony Orchestra is due back for an encore. Also booked for October: the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Sunday) and C-U Symphony Orchestra (Oct. 7).

OCTOBER 25. Back after a three-year hiatus: Halloween Funfest No. 35, a joint production of the Champaign and Urbana park districts set for 5-7 p.m. at Market Place Mall. Bring a bag, kids: You’ll be going home with free sweets.

OCTOBER 26. In downtown Champaign, it’s opening night for Jonathan Larson‘s “Rent,” booked for three productions over three days as part of the “Krannert at the Virginia” series.

27. Hub Burnett

OCTOBER 27. One year ago this weekend, the Rev. Herbert Burnett succeeded his stepdad as pastor at New Free Will Baptist. To celebrate, the church lined up two guest speakers — the Revs. Jordan Simmons (today) and Johnny Harris (Sunday).

28. Gina Miles

OCTOBER 28. Welcome home, Gina Miles. Fresh off her Season 23 win on “The Voice,” the Paxton product is booked for back-to-back shows tonight and Sunday at the Ford County city’s new event center, The Cadillac.

29. Bill Self

OCTOBER 29. Tipping off at 5 p.m. at State Farm Center: good basketball (Kansas-Illini) for a good cause (wildfire-ravaged Maui) and a good opportunity for fans to practice both their cheering (Bill Self‘s back) and jeering (Hunter Dickinson‘s a Jayhawk).

OCTOBER 30. On trick-or-treating eve, Rantoul Recreation promises “a night of thrills, chills and lots of treats” — plus free hot dogs and chips — from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Family Sports Complex.

31. Shauna Green

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OCTOBER 31. Happy Halloween — and happy birthday to Shauna Green. Forty-four years ago today, the coach who resuscitated Illini women’s basketball back in no time was born in Clinton, Iowa.

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