List of upcoming community events (Dec. 10, 2014)

Santa Claus to visit Champaign
CHAMPAIGN — Santa Claus will be in downtown Champaign on three Wednesdays in December. Children can visit with Santa at the former Bank Champaign location in the M2 Building downtown from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. Santa will take pictures with each visitor (parents should bring their own camera), and every child will receive a candy cane. Children are encouraged to bring their holiday wish lists to share. The former Bank Champaign location in M2 is located at 301 N. Neil St.

ACT Theater Company to present ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’
GIBSON CITY — The ACT Theater Company will present “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play” at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, and 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at Father Kirk Hall, 534 N. Wood St., Gibson City. The show is based on the 1946 holiday classic film by Frank Capra. Set in Bedford Falls, N.Y., it tells the story of George Bailey and how he, with help from his “guardian angel,” gets to experience what the world would be like if he had never been born. The production presents the story through the unique lens of a 1940s radio studio. Actors are portraying actors, and the audience gets the full experience of what it was like to be part of and participate in an authentic radio broadcast. The show is under the direction of Ann Spangler. The sound engineer is Todd Thomas. Music is provided by Megan Whitehouse. The cast features  Amanda Broaddus, Shelbie Butler, Gracie Conover, Andrea Dunahee, Dan Kearfott, Gideon Kerber, Jordan Kerber, Jim Killian, Aleka Seneca, Austin Seneca, Mac Seneca, Todd Thomas, Cathy Walker-Steidinger, Phil Whitehouse and Walker Willis. Tickets cost $10. Reserved tickets can be purchased by calling 217-641-3000.

Tri-County Players to hold auditions for ‘Noodles’
PAXTON — The Tri-County Players will hold auditions on Dec. 11, 13 and 15 for the comedy “Noodles” by L. Don Swartz. The cast is comprised of five men and six women ranging in age from 20-30 to 70. Older teens are welcome to audition for the younger roles.    The story revolves around the Boodle family. Ned, son of Ma and Pa Boodle, brings his new girlfriend, Elaine, home to meet his “colorful” family. Ma is a June Cleaver-type, while Pa is clueless. Grandpa manages a cat (rescue) house, and sister Lulu is a hypochondriac with an equally germ-o-phobic boyfriend. Ever-helpful Jack is a homeless man who resides in a cardboard box in the Boodle living room. Wacky neighbor Mrs. Doodah-Doodah and others round out the cast. Open auditions will be held at the Market Street Theater, 120 N. Market St. in Paxton. Times are Thursday, Dec. 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon. Actors will participate in a cold reading from the show script.  Call or email director Tom Janowski at 649-2861 or to schedule an appointment for the evening of Monday, Dec. 15, if unable to make the open audition dates.  Show dates are Feb. 13-15 and Feb. 20-22. Rehearsals begin the week of Dec. 15.

PBL Booster Club to hold merchandise sale
PAXTON — The PBL Athletic Booster Club’s annual merchandise sale will take place Friday, Dec. 12, during the PBL High School boys’ basketball games and Tuesday, Dec. 16, during the PBL Junior High boys’ basketball games. Both sales start at 5:30 p.m. and end around 7 p.m.

Informational meeting on new farm bill set for Dec. 12
GILMAN — Area farmers who have questions about programs included in the 2014 farm bill are invited to attend an informational meeting held at the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau building in Gilman at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12. During the meeting, Doug Yoder, senior director of affiliate and risk management for the Illinois Farm Bureau, will provide all the necessary information and examples to help farmers make the best possible decisions for their individual operations, and will cover payment limits, eligibility, and deadlines to meet when making various decisions. Yoder also will discuss programs included in the new farm bill, including price loss coverage, agricultural risk coverage — county and individual — and the supplemental coverage option, which is a new supplemental crop insurance program available only to farms choosing price loss coverage.  Landowners’ one-time option to update payment yields and/or reallocate base acreage will also be covered.  Farmers who have questions or who are interested in attending the informational meeting can contact the Farm Bureau office at (800) 424-0756 or There is no cost to attend the seminar.

Santa to visit Sibley
SIBLEY — Santa Claus will visit St. John’s Lutheran Church’s Parish Hall in Sibley from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 13.

Food bank to distribute food to families Dec. 13
GIBSON CITY — A truckload of food from the Eastern Illinois Foodbank will be distributed to low-income Ford County families on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, Gibson City. Ford County residents who meet income-eligibility criteria can receive food. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or  a maximum of $3,677 per month for a family of four, $3,051 for a family of three, $2,425 for a family of two and $1,799 for a family of one. Those attending are asked to bring bags or boxes to transport food. 

Breakfast with Santa to take place Saturday, Dec. 13
PAXTON — The Paxton Park District’s Breakfast with Santa will take place Saturday, Dec. 13, from 8:30-11 a.m. at the Civic Center. Santa will be available for pictures and to take any last-minute gift requests. Breakfast will include scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, french toast, fruit, coffee, milk, and juice. Holiday coloring activities, as well as raffle prizes, will also be included with breakfast.  Admission is free.  Pre-registration is not required.

Santa train to pass through local towns
The Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad Santa Train will pass through a number of area communities on Saturday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 14. The train, carrying Santa, will not depart from each town until all of the waiting children get to visit with Santa. The train will make stops on Dec. 13 in Gibson City (8-11 a.m.), Melvin (11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.), Roberts (1:15-2:30 p.m.), Thawville (3-4:30 p.m.) and Gilman (5-7 p.m.).  The train will make stops on Dec. 14 in Onarga (9-10:30 a.m.), Danforth (11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Ashkum (1:30 to 3 p.m.) and Clifton (3:30-5:30 p.m.).

Free church concert offered Sunday, Dec. 14
PAXTON — Jake’s Boys Musical Ministry will perform a free concert from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 14, at Full Gospel Christian Fellowship Church, 619 S. Railroad Ave., Paxton. A free-will donation will be collected. For more information, call the Rev. Terry Cooper at 781-4758.

CLHS to offer Christmas feast Sunday
BUCKLEY — Christ Lutheran High School is hosting a Christmas feast on Sunday, Dec. 14, that will raise funds to buy food baskets for needy families in the Buckley area as well as renovations at St. John’s Lutheran School. The feast is set for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the school’s Crusader Hall. It is being sponsored by the CLHS Secret Service. The dinner will include turkey, ham, potatoes, green-bean casserole and desserts. The cost of the meal is a donation. Delivery of meals to homes in Buckley can be arranged by calling 217-781-1348.

Loda Library to host story hour Monday, Dec. 15
LODA — The Loda Township Library is hosting a Christmas story hour at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec 15. Children ages 3-11 are invited to attend.  Younger children will need an adult to stay with them.  There will be Christmas stories, crafts and treats.  Anyone seeking more information can call the library at 386-2783. 

Rules of the Road review course offered Dec. 18
PAXTON — The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office is offering a free Rules of the Road review course for residents of the Paxton area from 1-3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at the Paxton Civic Center, 601 S. Fall St., Paxton. 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.

Prayer meeting to take place Saturday, Dec. 20
CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign County National Day of Prayer Task Force will hold its monthly breakfast/prayer meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, in the private dining room of Denny’s Restaurant, 702 W. Town Center Blvd., Champaign. Attendees may order from the menu or just enjoy a cup of coffee while fellowshipping with Christians from all across East Central Illinois. The “Community of the Month” prayer focus is the village of Savoy. For more information, call 480-6671.

Loda church to offer worship service Sunday, Dec. 21
LODA — The Loda United Methodist Church will offer a Blue Christmas service at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, followed by a brief time of light refreshments and fellowship.
The service is for individuals and families experiencing a difficult time this holiday season. Persons struggling with unemployment, finances, the loss of a loved one, broken relationships, illness and loneliness are invited to attend the service.
For more information, call 737-4948.



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