Bands, bags and bubbles: Rantoul to host downtown event every Friday evening

RANTOUL — Spread out. That’s been the mantra for social distancing during this year of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is also the philosophy for Freedom Friday activities in downtown Rantoul as the chamber of commerce-sponsored celebration will be spread out during the summer.

“Instead of having one large event with so many people there, we wanted to break it up and have 10 smaller events,” Chamber Executive Director Amanda Vickery said. “That way families can come out and feel safe in doing so.”

A different activity will be on tap every Friday beginning this one, July 3, and running through Sept. 4. To start each weekend, there will be live music and family-oriented activities — all running from 6 to 9 p.m. Bags tournaments will be held, and there will be bubbles. Lots of bubbles.

The public is invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and games. Social distancing is a must, and people are encouraged to wear masks.

“Now that things are opening back up, a lot of bands are getting booked very quickly,” Vickery said.

Musical acts each Friday will include:

— July 3, All Nighter

— July 10, Big Guns

— July 17, Love Sign

— July 24, Cougar Trap

— July 31, Vintage 69

— Aug. 7, Mank and Sass

— Aug. 14, House of Cards

— Aug. 21, Zach Dable Experience

— Aug. 28, Recka Sto

— Sept. 4, Filthy Janes

For the youngsters, Joyful Bubbles out of Danville will be on hand for free bubble play July 10 and Aug. 14. The special bubble solution and bubble wands will also be sold so youngsters can also enjoy the fun at home.

Chalk art contests will also be held the third Thursdays of July and Aug. — the 17th and 21st.

Anyone can play. There will be two age groups for the contest — ages 8-16 and 17 and older. If a child younger than 8 has a great interest in art and wants to compete, email the chamber office at

Each Friday there will also be free yard games, including Jumbo, Jenga, Jumbo Checkers and Bowling.

Bags tournaments will also be held this Friday as well as July 31, Aug. 7 and 28 and Sept. 4.

Sign up for the bags tournament with the chamber.