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The public is invited to attend Wednesday evening Advent services on Dec. 4 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sibley, Dec. 11 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Anchor and Dec. 18 at the American Lutheran Church in Gibson City. A simple bread and soup supper begins at 6:15 p.m., and worship follows at 7 p.m.

The Elliott Amvets are holding an all-you-can-eat mountain oyster fry from noon to 4 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month.

The Saybrook American Legion Post #427 will host a chicken and fish fry on Dec. 13, Jan. 10, Jan.  24, Feb. 14, Feb. 28, March 13 and March 27. The menu includes chicken, whole catfish, all-you-can-eat walleye, baked potato, baked beans, cole slaw and a drink. Serving starts at 4:30 p.m. and continues until 6:30.

The Saybrook Sons of the American Legion will host a spaghetti supper from 5 to 7 p.m. on the first Friday of each month through April at the Saybrook American Legion Hall. The next one is Dec. 6. The cost for the meal is $7. Served will be spaghetti, garlic bread and salad.

A Senior Fit exercise program is available at the Paxton Church of Christ, 400 W. Ottawa Road, every Monday morning at 9. The program is especially designed to help seniors with strength and balance for daily living. The low-impact exercises can all be done while sitting in a chair. All area seniors are invited to attend.

The Foosland Sportsman’s Club will host splatterboard shooting events on Jan. 1, Feb. 9 and March 8. Breakfast, cooked to order, starts at 6 a.m., with the splatterboard shoot starting at 8. An Annie tournament begins around 10 a.m. The events are open to the public. For more information, people can visit www.fooslandsportsmensclub.com.

The Corn Belt Shrine Club, based in Gibson City, will be serving ribeye steak sandwiches with chips and a drink for $9 each from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays at Jay’s Place at 115 N. Sangamon Ave. in downtown Gibson City. Also, each evening the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School Booster Club will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets.

The Elliott Amvets will hold Family Night meals on the first Friday of each month: Dec. 6, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, March 6, April 3 and May 1. The meal includes fish and chicken plus two sides for $10. Also available for purchase are $1 sodas, $2 beers and $4.50 mixed drinks.

Cheney’s Grove Township Library in Saybrook is open from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 2 to 5 p.m. each Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon each Saturday.

The Ford County Historical Society’s Water Tower Museum is closed until Saturday,  April 18, but visits or tours of the museum may still be scheduled by calling 217-379-4111 or 217-722-2227.  

The PBL Area Community Food Pantry is open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays at 785 S. Railroad Ave. in Paxton. The food pantry serves residents of the Paxton, Buckley and Loda communities.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. each Monday at the United Methodist Church, 219 S. Margaret St., Piper City.  Visitors are always welcome to attend — including preteens, teens and adults, both male and female. Their first meeting is free. TOPS is a nonprofit, weight-loss support and wellness education organization with thousands of associate chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Members learn about nutrition, portion control, food planning, exercise, motivation and more at the weekly meetings.   For details, people can call Brenda Hemp at 815-954-8835, visit www.tops.org or call TOPS headquarters at 800-932-8677.

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meets from 9 to 11 a.m. on the third Friday of each month at the Paxton Church of the Nazarene, 302 W. State St., Paxton. Each meeting includes breakfast, crafts and discussion on relevant topics, with childcare provided. The group is open to mothers of all experience levels. Annual dues cost $31.95. To register, people can visit www.mops.org and type in code “KSIZ.” For more information, people can contact Julie Foster at 618-304-4092.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets from 5 to 6 p.m. each Monday at the United Methodist Church, located at 219 S. Margaret St. in Piper City. The public is welcome to come and visit; the first meeting is free. TOPS is a nonprofit weight-loss support, education and wellness organization. For more information, people can call Brenda Hemp at 815-954-8835, visit www.tops.org or call TOPS headquarters at 800-932-8677.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. each Monday at the First Lutheran Church, located at 301 S. College St. in Paxton. The public is welcome to come and visit; the first meeting is free. TOPS is a nonprofit weight-loss support, education and wellness organization. For details, people can call Virginia Lafray at 815-668-1728 or visit www.tops.org.

Fisher Odd Fellows Lodge No. 704 meets at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Odd Fellow Hall, located at the corner of Sangamon and Third streets in downtown Fisher. Oddfellowship is a service organization dedicated to the betterment of mankind. Anyone interested in membership information may call 217-897-6544 or stop in at the Free Book Exchange, where pamphlets are available.

Celebrate Recovery sessions are being held at 6:15 p.m. on Thursdays at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, 107 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City. Food and fellowship will be offered from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., followed by worship from 6:45 to 7 p.m., a lesson from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and “open share” groups from 7:30 to 8 p.m. Childcare is available. For more information, call 217-784-8673.

A GriefShare support group meeting and seminar is held at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, Gibson City. GriefShare features nationally recognized experts on grief and recovery topics.  Seminar sessions include “Is This Normal?,” “The Challenges of Grief,” “Grief and Your Relationships,” “Why?” and “Guilt and Anger.” For more information or to register, people can call Bonnie at 217-784-5702 or email gcbiblec@gibsoncitybible.org.

Yarns and Threads, a group of people who enjoy knitting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery and all other sewing crafts, meets  on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. at the Paxton Carnegie Library, 254 S. Market St., Paxton.

Junebug Crafty Gifts, a new store at 165 S. Market St. in downtown Paxton, is holding a grand opening Dec. 4-8. The store sells handmade gifts for all occasions, including American flags, coffee tables, trays, wooden signs, bottles, Mason jars, lights, indoor/outdoor furniture, bars, specialized single wood stands, bath bombs, candles, pillows, magnets, tiki torches and lazy susans. Special orders are welcome. A portion of sale proceeds goes to the Humane Society. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s next general meeting is at noon Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Gibson City Bible Church. Marc Petersen will be preparing a Christmas meal with all the trimmings. The chamber will be selling raffle tickets, with proceeds going to a worthy cause, and will also be giving away gifts to attendees. The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School chorus will be performing holidays songs. Reservations were requested by Tuesday, Dec. 3, and can be made by contacting Jackie Rusk at jackie.rusk@gapho.org or 217-784-2249.

The Loda American Legion post is hosting a fish/chicken fry from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Legion Hall, 107 E. Adams St., Loda. The cost of the all-you-can-eat meal is $10, with children under age 8 eating for free. Served will be pollack fish or chicken, livers, gizzards, french fries, cole slaw, baked beans, green beans and potato salad.

The Ford-Iroquois Retired Teachers Association will have a Christmas gathering from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Dec. 6, at the Creekside Community Center, 510 Prairie Lane, Cissna Park. Rolls and coffee will be furnished. Those who attend are asked to bring the addresses of retired teachers who are homebound, as Christmas cards will be addressed to them. The cards and postage will be supplied by the group. No reservations are required to attend. Questions can be directed to Sandy Rudin at 815-222-1669 or by sending an email to sandyrudin@yahoo.com.

The Tri-County Players will present “The Christmas Bus” by Robert Inman on Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13-15 at the Market Street Theatre, located at 120 N. Market St. in downtown Paxton.  The Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7 p.m. A Sunday matinee on Dec. 15 will start at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. To make reservations, people can call the theater at 217-379-7028. Walk-ins are welcome.

Paxton’s annual bag sale/Christmas open house weekend is set for Friday, Dec. 6, through Monday, Dec. 9, at participating businesses. More than 1,500 bags, featuring coupons and marketing materials for local businesses, will be printed and distributed locally during the course of the city’s Christmas parade and at local businesses.

The Illinois Santa’s Elf Patrol will visit eight towns in the area from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 8, including Onarga (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6), Gibson City (8 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7), Melvin (noon to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7), Roberts (1:45 to 3 p.m. Dec. 7), Thawville (3:30 to 5 p.m. Dec. 7), Gilman (6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7), Danforth (10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 8) and Ashkum (1 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8). The stop in Gibson City will be at Corn Belt Ag, formerly Specialty Grains, 231 N. Sangamon Ave. Children attending will be greeted by Santa and his elves. There will also be doughnuts and hot chocolate provided by the Gibson City Lions Club.

The Sibley Business & Historical Association will host a “Night on the Town” event from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in Sibley, featuring carriage rides, Santa Claus, “4 to Go” singers, a slideshow presentation, refreshments and much more.

PRIDE in Paxton’s Christmas Parade has been rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in downtown Paxton. Line-up for the parade  begins at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Taft and Orleans streets. The parade will move east on Orleans Street before turning onto Market Street. It ends at the intersection of Market and Pine streets. Paxton-based WPXN-Radio will broadcast the parade live and announce entries. For more information, call Teri Hancock at 217-379-4245.

The third annual Jingle Bell Junction will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Wesbein United Methodist Church, 113 N. Main St., Saybrook. The event is a special shopping experience for anyone who wishes to buy inexpensive items for their families and friends. Gifts and items for all ages will be available for purchase. There will also be a bake sale and homemade craft items to purchase. Also, a free lunch will be provided from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meals will last until the food is gone.  

The Piper City Public Library is hosting an Illinois I-Cash event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 7. Everyone is welcome to come and discover if they have unclaimed property from old bank accounts, uncashed paychecks, unpaid insurance benefits and other unclaimed property. One in four Illinois adults discover property to claim when they do the search. People can check out the library’s nickel-and-dime book sale while there! For more information, people can call the library at 815-686-9234.

The Ludlow Fire Department will hold its annual Lunch with Santa from 11 to 1 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the firehouse. Lunch will be provided.

Santa Claus will be arriving at the Saybrook Community Center by firetruck at noon Sunday, Dec. 8. After he arrives, Santa will be listening to children’s Christmas wishes from noon until 4 p.m. There will also be a craft and vendor fair to help with holiday decorating and gift needs. A chili lunch will be served to benefit the Stars and Stripes committee. In addition, a local 4-H club will be having a bake sale and a craft make-and-take for the kids. The Saybrook Community Center is located at 105 W. Locust St., Saybrook.

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will host a Christmas concert, soup supper and dessert bake sale on Tuesday, Dec. 10. The soup supper runs from 5 to 6:15 p.m., followed by the concert at 6:30 p.m. Freewill donations will be accepted. The dessert bake sale will be available all evening. Proceeds will go toward the school’s music department for refurbishing its handbells and music supplies.

Workshops to help clarify and guide farmers through the decision-making process for commodity programs in the 2018 Farm Bill are scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau in Gilman and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Piper City Community Building. Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in these meetings should contact Tammy Hubert at 815-432-3946, Ext. 2, Charlene Neukomm at 217-379-4388, Ext. 2, or the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 at least three days prior to the meeting date.

Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s Madrigal Singers will present their annual Madrigal Dinners at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church, 260 S. Union St. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $20 each and include dinner and the show. Tickets can be reserved by emailing dougbeck@email.com or texting 217-637-5649.

An open house will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at Hartke Engineering and Surveying Inc.’s newly remodeled office at 101 W. Ottawa Road in Paxton. The building formerly was occupied by Moore Surveying and Mapping. Working out of the office will be Adam Boothe, who received his Illinois professional surveyor’s license this year. Boothe and his wife reside a few miles west of Paxton. A few months ago, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation approved the Paxton office’s professional design firm registration to provide land surveying services. Hartke Engineering and Surveying Inc.’s other office in Ogden has nine employees.

The Paxton Park District’s annual Breakfast with Santa event is scheduled for 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Paxton Civic Center, 601 S. Fall St. A free breakfast will be served by board members, and Santa will be in attendance to take photos with children.

The American Lutheran Church, located at 905 E. First St. in Gibson City, will be hosting its 44th annual Christmas Day Dinner at noon Wednesday, Dec. 25. The free meal includes turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetables, desserts and beverages. A free-will offering will be received.  No tickets are necessary; however, reservations should be made by Wednesday, Dec. 18, to ensure there is enough food.  To make reservations, people can call the church’s office at 217-784-4841 and leave their name, the number in their party and their phone number. People can also call the office to arrange for home delivery if they are homebound and have no transportation. Those who desire home delivery should leave their address, and their meal will be delivered between noon and 2 p.m. Dec. 25.

A benefit for Lyle Adkins, who is currently on the liver transplant list through Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Roberts Gym on Weldon Street in Roberts. Dinner will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. for a donation of $10 per plate for adults and $5 per plate for children. Donations for the meal also cover the night’s entertainment. Attendees have the option to reserve a table seating up to eight people for $200. A silent auction will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., and 50/50 drawings will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. A live auction begins at 7 p.m. At 9 p.m., winners of raffle drawings and the silent auction will be announced. For more information about the event, to reserve a table at the event or to donate toward the event, people can email parrishpack5@yahoo.com or call or send a text to 217-680-1382. Adkins was diagnosed in June 2017 with NASH (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease), which is the second-leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S.  He has been in and out of the hospital consistently since the beginning of 2019 and as of August has been out of work. The benefit will help to ease some of the financial burdens associated with the liver transplant process and beyond.

St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley will host its annual chicken dinner, auction and carnival on Sunday, Feb. 16. The carnival and auction begin at 3:30 p.m., followed by the chicken dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Dinner tickets cost $10. Dine-in and carryout orders will be available. The school is located at 206 Main St. For more information, people can call the school’s office at 217-394-2422.