Press Room

Press & News 

Stay tuned for the upcoming news about what's happening in the greater-Urbana area!


Visit Champaign County Promotes Community Pride through Fall Campaign

Visit Champaign County is launching a new campaign, “Your Places. Your Spaces. Our Community.” to encourage residents to share their favorite experiences in the area.  From restaurants to shops to parks and attractions, the destination management organization is wanting to see and share photos and video directly from area residents.

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New Community Ambassador Program to Welcome New Residents & Recruits

Chambana Welcome Crew, a new community ambassador program, launched today with a goal of attracting and retaining new residents to Champaign County by creating a welcoming environment and a sense of belonging.

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HOT ROD Power Tour Returns to State Farm Center

Visit Champaign County is excited to give the local economy a boost this summer by safely bringing the popular HOT ROD Power Tour presented by HP Tuners and driven by Continental Tire back to Champaign County on Friday, August 27, 2021, the fourth time it will pass through Central Illinois.

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New Experience Guide Highlights Community Experiences

After a year of digital-only content, Visit Champaign County published their annual Champaign County Area Experience Guide. The 60-page publication, released each July/August, shares compelling editorial and useful information for residents, visitors, and students so they can explore all the community has to offer.

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Visit Champaign County Foundation to Honor Local Tourism Trailblazers at Annual Toast to Tourism

The Visit Champaign County Foundation will celebrate the hospitality industry, alongside stakeholders and partners at the 8th Annual Toast to Tourism, July 28 from 5:00–7:00 p.m. at the Venue CU. During the event, the foundation will honor five trailblazers with Tourism Impact Awards for their contributions in making the greater Champaign County area a better place to live, work, and visit.

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You’re OUT! Highlights the Advantages of Filmmaking in Champaign County, IL

Growing up in the 80s, Sandy De Lisle, owner of Stay the Course Productions, was enamored with John Hughes films like Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Home Alone. Many of Hughes’ films were shot on the North Shore, not far from De Lisle’s native Deerfield. However, when it came time to choose the location to shoot her independent comedy film, You’re OUT!, she decided Champaign County was the perfect spot. 

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Beep Baseball to Hold First Tournament for Blind in Champaign County

Colbert Park in Savoy will host four teams for the inaugural Champaign Beepball Tournament, July 10–11, 2021. Hosted by the National Beep Baseball Association and supported by the local Lions Clubs, the tournament is an adaptive version of baseball for the blind, low-vision, and legally blind.

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Visit Champaign County Celebrates the Power of Travel During National Travel & Tourism Week

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry, held May 2–8, 2021, will spotlight the critical role that travel will play in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward through the theme “Power of Travel.”

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to underscore the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 38th NTTW arrives at an opportune moment to recognize the importance to the U.S. economy of initiating a post-pandemic travel recovery.

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Visit Champaign County to Sponsor AJGA Junior All-Star at Urbana American Junior Golf Association event to be held July 19–22, 2021

Visit Champaign County joins the AJGA again in 2021 in sponsoring the AJGA Junior All-Star in Urbana. The 78-player field hosted at Urbana Country Club will bring together the top 12 to 15-year-old junior golfers from around the world.

The AJGA Junior All-Star Series is a collection of events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12–15 years old. The competition provides an opportunity for younger AJGA members to develop their skills and build Performance Based Entry Status to earn entry into Open and Invitational level tournaments.

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HOT ROD Power Tour Makes a Safe Return to State Farm Center

Visit Champaign County is excited to give the local economy a boost this summer by safely bringing the popular HOT ROD Power Tour Driven by Continental Tire back to Champaign County on Friday, August 27, 2021, the fourth time it will pass through Central Illinois.

The 27th year for the world’s largest traveling car show will have cars cruising into the State Farm Center for the final stop of the tour, which kicks off August 23 at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

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­­Visit Champaign County’s Champaign County Area Restaurant Week Returns for a Takeout Edition

The annual Champaign County Area Restaurant Week, presented by Visit Champaign County, kicks off this Friday, January 29, 2021 for its fifth year. 28 area restaurants will offer specials during the nine-day celebration, with numerous changes in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each menu highlights how customers can access the specials available, January 29–February 6. It highlights online ordering options, curbside pickup, and delivery options. Several restaurants will offer their specials for indoor dining as indicated on their menus, including A Taste of Both Worlds, Baldarotta’s, Big Grove Tavern, Project 47 Smokehouse, Siam Terrace, and Sun Singer Restaurant.

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CU Adventures in Time and Space
Visit Champaign County Foundation Provides Monetary Awards for Hospitality Workers

The Visit Champaign County (VCC) Foundation has awarded over 30 monetary awards from the Hospitality Relief Fund to individuals in the hospitality industry who have either lost their job or are facing significantly reduced hours. These workers were nominated by business owners and general managers from restaurants, hotels, event venues, and retail.

The fund was relaunched in response to strict mitigation efforts that continues to severely impact the hospitality industry, following the initial launch in April 2020 that provided direct financial support for former hotel employees who had formerly worked in the greater Champaign County area as housekeepers, caterers, cooks, front desk staff or anywhere in our hotel partner operations.

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Visit Champaign County Foundation Brings Back Hospitality Relief Fund

In response to strict mitigation efforts that continue to severely impact the hospitality industry, the Visit Champaign County (VCC) Foundation will relaunch their Hospitality Relief Fund during the holiday season.

The Foundation is seeking nominations from business owners or general managers from businesses with hospitality workers in food & beverage, lodging, event venues, and attractions.

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Tourism Reaches Record Growth in the Greater Champaign County Area Prior to COVID-19

Tourism to the greater Champaign County area flourished in 2019 with significant increases in jobs, payroll, state and local tax receipts, and visitor spending. Prior to COVID-19, people continued to discover the benefits of living and working in the greater Champaign County area, while visitors contributed to the economic growth, spending over $448.7 million at hotels, restaurants, shops, attractions and more.

This 6.2% growth in spending is reinvested in the local economy, bringing in $8.2 million in local taxes to our communities, contributing to improvements in infrastructure and saving local families an average of $1,300 on their annual taxes.  In 2019, our community supported 3,270 people working in travel and tourism businesses, generating $98.1 million in payroll, a 7.6% increase from 2018.

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Digital Experience Guide Highlights Community Experiences

Visit Champaign County unveiled a digital version of their 2020–2021 Champaign County Area Experience Guide on their website. The annual publication, released each August, was reimagined to share the community story amidst a pandemic.

The guide highlights stories in local agriculture, food & drink, arts & culture, local history, outdoor experiences, sports, family activities, and local shopping. Area experts share their tips for how to engage in these sectors including: Taidghin O’Brien, The Land Connection; Jessica Hammie, Smile Politely; Kelly White, 40 North | 88 West; TJ Blakeman, Champaign County History Museum; Pam Leiter, Champaign County Forest Preserve District; and Laura Bliell,

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and their Board of Directors announced that the IHSA Boys State Basketball Tournament will return to the State Farm Center in Champaign for three years: March 11–13, 2021, March 10–12, 2022, and March 9–11, 2023.

“We are ecstatic to welcome the IHSA Boys State Basketball Tournament back to its original home at the University of Illinois,” exclaims Jayne DeLuce, President & CEO of Visit Champaign County. “Our community has evolved into a much broader vision incorporating sports, education, technology, and a place of diverse culture that will provide incredible experiences for all involved. We are ready to embrace a new tradition of welcoming teams, families, fans, officials, and media for the experience of a lifetime.”

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Visit Champaign County Offers Virtual Experiences

While the state of Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order, Visit Champaign County is offering opportunities for residents and visitors alike to virtually explore the greater Champaign County area.

This new website showcases various amenities in the community—outdoor spaces, arts & culture, museums, agriculture adventures, and breweries—with more to come. Community videos highlighting area makers such as Prairie Fire Glass, Hopscotch Bakery Market, and Wood N’ Hog, as well as videos on the live music scene and making Outside of Ordinary memories are also available.

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Visit Champaign County Foundation Launches Hospitality Relief Fund

Every year, the Visit Champaign County Foundation hosts Toast to Tourism, celebrating people in the hospitality industry who make our community so outside of ordinary.  Due to COVID-19, this year’s event scheduled for May 13, 2020 at the Virginia Theatre has been cancelled. 

In lieu of the expenses associated with this annual celebration, the Visit Champaign County Foundation Board, in conjunction with the Visit Champaign County Board, have created a Hospitality Relief Fund to provide direct financial support for individuals who have immediately formerly worked in the greater Champaign County area as housekeepers, caterers, cooks, front desk staff or anywhere in our hotel partner operations.

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Visit Champaign County Unveils Destination 2023

After nearly nine months of surveys and stakeholder meetings, Visit Champaign County unveiled Destination 2023. The new strategic plan introduces a vision for the greater Champaign County area as a destination, alongside new mission and vision statements that will serve as a guide for the Visit Champaign County Board of Directors and staff.

Led by Bill Geist, Chief Instigator of DMOproz, and 30 year veteran in destination marketing, the strategic planning process brought together stakeholders from across the region. In May 2019, Visit Champaign County launched community and stakeholder surveys, and in-person focus groups with various stakeholder groups to assess community needs. With those results, Visit Champaign County’s Board of Directors and staff created Destination 2023 to chart the course of the organization for the next three years.

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Chambana Proud Launched to Foster Community Pride in Greater Champaign-Urbana Area

Chambana Proud, a joint collaboration with Visit Champaign County, the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, and You’re Welcome CU, officially launched at to bolster pride among residents of the area.  

The initial campaign focuses on Champaign-Urbana t-shirts providing a highly visible outlet for sharing what makes this community special. The t-shirts were designed by local artists in a collaboration with 40 North | 88 West, the Champaign County Arts Council. Artists include: Scott Barber (Scobar); Ralph Roether; Madelyn Witruk; and David Michael Moore.

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Past News Items



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