During the decades that Chanute Air Force Base was in operation, thousands of men and women spent time here training in fields such as weather, fire fighting, and military equipment maintenance. Today those people and their achievements are chronicled at the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum. In fact, the museum offers visitors a comprehensive picture of many aspects of military service.
For the next several years, Rantoul is scheduled to be the home of the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships. In the inaugural year of the event, spectators saw competitive flights, as well as launches of special shaped balloons, evening balloon glows, fireworks, concerts, and an airshow. A huge carnival entertained hundreds of folks each day and dozens of booths offered traditional and not so traditional fair foods. The balloon competition lasts one week and is held annually in August.
Also in August the University of Illinois football team holds its preseason training in Rantoul. Daily practices are usually open to the public.
Two annual community events draw lots of visitors to town each year: the Chamber of Commerce sponsors Independence Day in Rantoul, a celebration that includes a parade, carnival, and fireworks, and the day after Thanksgiving, the Rantoul Business Association sponsors Santa Claus arrival in town with a Christmas parade and Santa house.
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