Gala to raise money for downtown Urbana projects

Local businesses are decorating their storefronts in Urbana as part of an annual fundraiser that helps pay for improvements in the city’s downtown.

The Monument Square District will host its annual Gala and Auction from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the Cheetah Lounge, 211 Glenn Ave. in Urbana. Tickets are $25 each, and proceeds help pay for projects to decorate or improve the downtown business district, said Marcia Bailey, executive director of the Champaign Economic Partnership.

“It’s one of the largest fundraisers that we do,” Bailey said. “Any proceeds go right back into the downtown for the projects we do here.”

That includes paying for continued improvements at Legacy Park, a green space downtown where residents and visitors can meet, eat lunch and learn more about the city. It has also helped pay for decorations downtown during the holidays and other beautification projects.

At least nine downtown businesses are also decorating their storefronts this week to help promote the event, Bailey said. The decorations will be judged Thursday and winners will be announced Friday, with prizes for the businesses with the most creative displays.

The Gala, on Dec. 2, will also include refreshments, a cash bar, and several items available during an auction at the event.

For example, volunteers at the Champaign Aviation Museum are donating flag cases that include small pieces from a B-17 Bomber that is being restored at the museum. The airport is also donating vintage postcards and other items.

This is the 17th year the Monument Square District will host the event.

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