List of upcoming community events (Dec. 7, 2012)

CHURCH EVENTS

Church to host gathering
ROBERTS — The annual Ladies Christmas Gathering will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at Living Word Church, 110 E. Illinois 54, Roberts. The event will be a gathering of “Christmas cheer and festive entertainment,” featuring performances by the Watseeka High School show choir and vendors selling homemade baked goods and other Christmas items such as candles, according to a news release. The theme of the event is “Candles in the Windows.” The cost to attend is a canned good for the Roberts Area Food Pantry. Doors open at 5 p.m. for shopping.

Church of Christ to offer candlelight service
PAXTON — The Paxton Church of Christ will hold a candlelight service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Lutheran church to host Christmas dinner
GIBSON CITY — The American Lutheran Church will host its 37th annual Christmas Day Dinner at noon Tuesday, Dec. 25. The menu consists of turkey or ham and dressing, vegetables and potatoes, desserts and beverages. No tickets are necessary. A free-will offering will be taken. Reservations can be made by calling 784-4841.

‘A Country Christmas’ to be presented in Loda
LODA — “A Country Christmas” will be presented at the Loda United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, with music presented by     Messenger, Prairie City, Ginny Jeffers, Mike Krumwiede, Ted King, Andrew Kaufmann, Terry Cotrell and the Loda United Methodist Church men’s choir.
Following the program, refreshments will be served.

Local church to hold toy, clothing drive
PAXTON — The Paxton Church of Christ will hold its annual toy drive and clothing drive in December. The clothing drive is set for Friday, Dec. 14, beginning at 2 p.m. and ending around 7 p.m. The toy drive is set for Saturday, Dec. 15, with doors opening at 9 a.m.  The clothing/toy drive is open to families in need of clothing or toys for the holidays. All items are free. “We have been doing this for several years,” said organizer Kaye Harper. “We are still accepting donations — particularily toys and monetary donations. We try to help everyone have a merrier Christmas.” Volunteers are being sought to assist in the program. Also, anyone who would like to leave a donation of money to be used to buy toys for next Christmas can call Harper at 841-0068 for more information.

 MEETINGS

Library to host Christmas Story Hour

LODA — A children’s Christmas Story Hour will be held at the Loda Township Library at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10. Children ages 4-11 are invited to attend. Pajamas are optional. There will be a Christmas story, crafts and treats. If planning to attend, call the library at 386-2783.

Tim Johnson to be honored at Rebublican luncheon
PAXTON — The Ford County Republican Women and the Ford  County Republican  Central  Committee are sponsoring a farewell luncheon in  honor of retiring U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana. The event will be held at noon  Friday, Dec. 28, at the Country Thyme Tea Room in Paxton. Reservations must be made by Dec. 20.  For information about the cost of tickets, call Gwen Ennen at 379-4935. Checks should be payable to the Ford County Republican  Women and sent to Tom Bennett, 540 Clover St., Gibson City, IL 60936 or to Gwen Ennen, 1001 S. Vermilion St., Paxton, IL 60957. Johnson  has served the area for 24 years in the Illinois House of Representatives, followed by 12 years as a congressman.

Ford County Republican Women to meet
PAXTON — The Ford County Republican Women will meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 in the small courtroom at the Ford County Courthouse in Paxton.

SPECIAL EVENTS

PRIDE to host firehouse cookoff

PAXTON — PRIDE in Paxton’s annual Firehouse Cookoff Contest will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the firehouse on North Market Street. People can submit their favorite recipes to be judged by Paxton’s volunteer firefighters during the event. This year’s theme is “Your Favorite Country Home Cooking Dish or Dessert.” Judging begins at 6 p.m., and all entries should be at the firehouse by 5:45 p.m. Entries should be provided in disposable containers. For more information, call Rhonda Blackford at 379-4245.

Loda Lions to sponsor Wonderland Dance
LODA — The Loda Lions Club will offer its first Winter Wonderland Dinner Dance from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Loda American Legion Hall. Tickets include drinks and cuisine. The menu consists of lasagna, Italian salad, cakes and Christmas treats, beer, soda, water and apple cider and sweets during the dance lineup. Providing musical entertainment will be the Slammer Jazz Trio from Indianapolis, which specializes in Big Band-era sound, easy jazz, and soft 1950s and ‘60s rock and Christmas music.  During the dance, there will be six raffles for a decorated, lighted, all-white  Christmas tree and stuffed snowman decorations.Tickets can be purchased from any Loda Lions Club member or at the admission door. Proceeds will be put into the club’s building renovation fund.

Rules of the Road Course offered at Civic Center
PAXTON — The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office is offering a free Rules of the Road review course for citizens in the Paxton area from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Paxton Civic Center, 601 S. Fall St.  The purpose of the course is to help participants pass the Illinois driver’s license renewal examination. The course prepares applicants for the general written and road exams and provides information on the vision screening.

U of I Extension to co-host crop management conference
COVINGTON, Ind — The Purdue University and University of Illinois Extension Bi-State Agriculture Programs group are hosting a Crop Management Conference at 9:15 a.m. EST at the Beef House Restaurant, located at 16501 Indiana State Road 63. Everyone interested in corn and soybean production;and the weather and agricultural market forecasts are welcome to attend.  The morning topics and presenters include, among others, “The Worst and Best of Times – 2012 Soybeans,” by Shaun Casteel, Purdue Soybean Specialist. Further inquiries can be resolved by calling Phil Cox, Purdue Extension Vermilion County ANR Educator, at (762) 492-5335. Pre-registration can also be found at that number, and is required for the event and must be filled out by Thursday, Dec. 6.

SCHOOL EVENTS

PBL to host holiday concert

PAXTON — The annual District-wide Holiday Concert will be held at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School on Sunday, Dec. 9.  The following is a schedule of grade-level performances:
— Kindergarten and first grade, 2 p.m. (Parents are encouraged to park in the front of the high school).
— Second and third grades, 3 p.m. (Parents are encouraged to park in the rear lot).
— Fourth and fifth grades, 4 p.m. (Parents are encouraged to park in the front lot).
— Sixth, seventh and eighth grades, 5 p.m. (Parents are encouraged to park in the rear lot).
— Ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grade, 7:30 p.m. (Parents are encouraged to park in front lot). The high school concert should be done by 9 p.m.

PBL FFA to sponsor blood drive
PAXTON — Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s FFA chapter is sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the school.
For an appointment, call the high school at 379-4331. Walk-ins are also welcome.

THEATER

Theatre to hold auditions for comedic play

PAXTON — Auditions for the comedy “Drinking Habits” by Tom Smith will be held at the Paxton Market Street Theatre, 120 N. Market St., on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon, and Monday, Dec. 10, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. or by calling 766-1174 for an appointment. The cast consists of five females and three males; one male and female should preferably be under age 30. Show dates are Feb. 14-17 and Feb. 22-24, and rehearsals begin Jan. 7. Tammy Belanger will direct the comedy.

ACT Theater to host third showing of Christmas musical
GIBSON CITY — Due to an overwhelming response and ticket sales, the ACT Theater Company has added a third show for Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas — The Musical.”    The newly scheduled performance will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. This matinee performance is in addition to the originally scheduled shows to be performed Dec. 14-15 at 7 p.m. at Father Kirk Hall. The hall is located south of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church at 534 N. Wood St., Gibson City. The cast list for the show is:  Rachel Aupperle, Karley Bridgwater, Amanda Broaddus, Darrin Brown, Haley Brown, Andrea Dunahee, Alex Duquette, Lauren Duquette, Taylor Engel, Sydney Funk, Haven Hathaway, Dan Kearfott, Gideon Kerber, Jordan Kerber, Alex Killian, Megan Moody, Austin Seneca, Meaghan Sharp, Ann Spangler, Katie Spangler, Brian Steidinger, Jeremy Steidinger, Katie Steidinger, Jacob Thomas, Phil Whitehouse and Brooke Wilfong.   The show is under the direction of Phil Whitehouse. Assistant director is Ann Spangler.   Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas — The Musical” is based upon the ParamountPictures Film.   Tickets can be purchased by calling 641-3000. For additional information, visit the ACT Theater Company-Gibson City fan site on Facebook or www.acttheatreco.org.

ACT to present “White Christmas”
GIBSON CITY — The ACT Theater Company will present Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14-15, at Father Kirk Hall, located at 534 N. Wood Street. Based on the timeless film, the musical adaptation features 17 Irving Berlin songs. The ACT cast features local talent from ages 7 and up.  The show is under the direction of Phil Whitehouse. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 641-3000.  More information can be obtained by visiting the ACT Theater Company-Gibson City fan site on Facebook or at www. acttheatreco.org.

Market Street Theatre to host Christmas play
PAXTON — “Caroling in the Country,” a Christmas variety show, will be performed at the Market Street Theatre in downtown Paxton on Friday, Dec. 21, and Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. both nights. The show will feature music and comedy for the family. The cast comprises residents of Buckley, Gibson City, Loda, Ludlow, Melvin and Paxton. Tickets can be purchased by calling 649-2861. They may be purchased at the door as well.

SOCIAL SERVICES

Food bank to distribute to area families

GIBSON CITY — The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will distribute a truck-load of food to area families in need Saturday, Dec. 15, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, Gibson City. Eligible residents of Ford County needing food are welcome to attend. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level — $3,554 per month for a family of four, $2,943 per month for a family of three, $2,333 per month for a family of two or $1,722 per month for a family of one.

OPEN HOUSES

Nursery school to host open house

PAXTON — The Paxton Community Nursery School is holding an open house in its new location at the Paxton Civic Center on Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 6-7 p.m. Country Thyme Tea Room has donated refreshments for the event.

MUSEUMS

Museum open for winter

PAXTON — Starting in November, the Ford County Historical Society’s water tower museum will be open on the fourth Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. The next date the museum will be open is Dec. 23. Beginning in April, the museum will be open each Sunday from 2-4 p.m. The museum, which is located behind City Hall in Paxton, is also open by appointment.  More information can be obtained by calling 379-3723, 379-4111 or 379-3212.

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