Tickets are being sold for the Melvin fire department’s annual raffle, which will award as prizes either $500 in cash or a choice of one of five guns or a gun safe. The drawing will be held June 29 in conjunction with the Ford County Fair’s demolition derby. Raffle tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased at RTD Auto in Roberts at 217-395-2180, AHW in Melvin, BCS in Gibson City or from any Melvin firefighter.

The Fisher Free Book Exchange, located at the corner of Sangamon and Third streets in downtown Fisher, is open to residents of Fisher and the surrounding area. There are no cards to purchase or fees to pay. Hours are 3 to 6:30 p.m.

Starting May 1, Cheney’s Grove Township Library in Saybrook will be 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 open each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The museum, which specializes in Ford County history, is located at 135 S. Market St. behind Paxton City Hall. There is no charge for admission to the museum. For more information or to schedule visits at other times, people can call 217-379-4111 or 217-722-2227.

The Loda Sportsman’s Club is selling tickets for $2 each for a drawing to be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 4. The first-place prize is either a Savage Axis .308 rifle with scope or $500; the second-place prize is either a SCCY CPX1 9-mm semi-automatic pistol or $250; and the third-place prize is either a Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic pistol or $250.

Loda Township Library board meetings will be held at 5 p.m. in the library’s main reading room on July 15, Sept. 16 and Nov. 18 in 2019 and on Jan. 21 and March 16 in 2020. For more information, people can call the library at 386-2783.

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.

A potluck dinner for persons over age 55 is held on the fourth Thursday of each month through October in Gibson City. It is held in the Senior Center at the South Park. Chicken and a cold drink are provided. Attendees are asked to bring a dish to share and their own dinnerware.

The Paxton Carnegie Library’s board of trustees will meet at the library at 7 p.m. June 5, July 3, Aug. 7, Sept. 4, Oct. 2, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

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. No meeting will be held in April; the next meeting is on May 17. 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.

Divorce Care sessions are being held at 6:30 p.m. each Monday at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, Gibson City. Divorce Care is a weekly seminar and support group that will help people heal from the hurt of a divorce or separation. Participants learn practical information and gain hope for the future. For more information, contact 217-784-5702 or visit www.gibsoncitybible.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.

Celebrate Recovery sessions are being held at 6 p.m. on Mondays at The Upper Room Bible Church, 455 W. Orleans St., Paxton. Food and fellowship will be offered from 6 to 6:30 p.m., followed by worship from 6:30 to 6:45 p.m., a lesson from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. and “open share” groups from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m. Childcare is available. For more information, call 217-379-4189.

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.

The Elliott Amvets will hold a mountain oyster fry at noon Saturday, May 25.  Meals cost $10 per person and include mountain oysters, gizzards and livers.  For more information, people can call 217-419-0247.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, in its parking lot to help raise funds for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church will hold its annual Memorial Day BBQ from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, May 27, at the church, located at 260 S. Union St. in Paxton. The meal includes a choice of pork chops or chicken, along with baked beans, green beans, fruit, cake and a beverage. Dine-in and carryout orders will be available for $8 per meal. Tickets are available at the door or in advance by calling the church’s office at 217-379-3554.

Ford County’s drug court is inviting the public to a graduation ceremony for Nickolas Heisler and Amber Manzke from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, in the courtroom on the second floor of the Ford County Courthouse, 200 W. State St., Paxton. A reception will follow the ceremony. Persons planning to attend are asked to contact Ellen Maxey in advance at emaxey@fordcounty.illinois.gov or 217-379-9450.

An informational meeting for anyone interested in competing in the 2019 Miss Ford County Fair Queen Pageant will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at the Kief Realty office at 103 N. Market St. in Paxton. Parents are encouraged to attend. The pageant will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, at the Ford County fairgrounds in Melvin. Any female at least 16 years old and not older than 21 by Jan. 1, 2020, is eligible to participate. Other requirements are that the individual must either live in Ford County, attend or be a graduate of a Ford County school, or be a participant in Ford County 4-H-sponsored activities. Additional information, including a practice schedule, is available at www.fordcountyfair.org and on the Miss Ford County Fair Queen Facebook page. Practices will begin Wednesday, June 5. The new 2018 Miss Ford County Fair Queen will win scholarship money as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the state pageant in Springfield in January 2020.  Anyone interested in the pageant may contact Ford County pageant directors Alaina Kief at 217-898-6102 or Kirsten Wyatt at 217-649-1540 or email missfordcounty@gmail.com.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Knights of Columbus #8229. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

Stillgrass will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Melvin Community Hall. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10, with children age 10 and under entering for free. Food will be available for purchase from the Melvin Methodist Church. For more information, people can call 217-388-2853.

Champaign County Pheasants Forever will join with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Foosland Sportsmen’s Club to sponsor a Hunter Safety Field Day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Foosland Sportsmen’s Club, located along Illinois 47 five miles south of Gibson City, just south of the Sangamon River bridge. The event will satisfy the field day portion of the hunter safety training class required by the IDNR in order to buy an Illinois hunting license. Before attending the field day, participants must complete the online portion of the class, which is available at www.hunter-ed.com/illinois or www.huntercourse.com/usa/illinois. Participants will have an opportunity to shoot shotguns and .22-caliber rifles. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited to 30 participants. People can register by contacting Curt Sinclair at sinclair@illinois.edu or 217- 762-2741.

The Saybrook Sons of the American Legion Squad #427 will be hosting a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 7. Dinner includes salad and garlic bread. The cost of the meal is $7. Meals are all-you-can-eat when dining in. Carryout orders are also available but are not all-you-can-eat.

Paxton’s townwide garage sales will be held Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8. Residents can sign up for free to have their garage sales included on a map of the townwide sales. To do so, provide the sale address and the times the sale will be open by contacting Erica Grohler by May 25 at egrohler@gmail.com or 217-379-9174.  The maps will be available on the morning of Friday, June 7, at the two Casey’s General Store locations and the Village Pantry in Paxton. The townwide sales, which annually feature about 100 garage sales, draw people from Indiana, Kankakee, Bloomington, Peoria and Champaign-Urbana.

The 67th annual Buckley and Buckley-Loda High School Alumni Banquet is set for Saturday, June 8, at the 103 East in Buckley. Festivities include a social hour at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Classes marking anniversaries are encouraged to ask about reserve seating for their class. The cost to attend is $25 per person. Reservations are required by June 1 and may be made by calling the Buckley State Bank at 217-394-2531. For more information, people can contact Lori Epps at 217-840-0967.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Paxton Emergency Management Agency. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Upper Room Bible Church, located at 455 W. Orleans St. in Paxton, will host Vacation Bible School entitled “Camp Moose-on-the-Loose: Discovering God’s Forever Forgiveness” from 6 to 8 p.m. June 10-14. There will be Bible stories, music, skits, crafts, games and snacks. The VBS is open to children age 4 through fifth grade.Registration forms are available on the church’s website, www.upperroombible.org. Parents can download the form, fill it out and bring it with them on the first night. There is also pre-registration happening, with forms available at the church. The mission project this year is a “stuff the tent” project in keeping with the VBS’s theme.  Campers are asked to bring in non-perishable items through the week, and the items will be donated to the Hands of Christ Food Pantry in Paxton. For more information about the VBS, people can call the church at 217-379-4189.

Gibson City’s citywide cleanup day is set for Saturday, June 15.

The Mad Hatter Tea Party will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15, at the Market Street Theatre, 120 N. Market St., Paxton. The event is for kids in kindergarten through fourth grade. Reservations are required to be made in advance by calling 217-379-7028. Tickets cost $15 each. Children in attendance will have tea with Alice, The Mad Hatter and the rest of the cast of the Tri-County Players’ upcoming performance of “Wonderland,” as well as play games and learn a dance from the musical. They will also recieve one free ticket to the “Wonderland” show.

The annual Buckley Fun Day celebration is set for Saturday, June 15, at the Buckley Lake. Activities include: a 5K race/walk (7:30 a.m.), the Ladies Aid baked goods sale (9 a.m.), a fishing derby (8-10 a.m.), antique tractor show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), golf cart parade (10:30 a.m.), tie-dye shirts (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), food stands (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), a dunk tank (11:30 a.m.), a tractor parade around the lake (noon), a 4-H coloring contest (noon to 2 p.m.), a “mountain climb” (12:30 to 3:30 p.m.), musical entertainment by DJ Miles (1 to 3 p.m.), a pie-eating contest (1 p.m.), bingo games (2 p.m.), egg race (1:30 p.m.), a Penny Hill activity (2 p.m.),  a water-balloon toss (2:30 p.m.), kids tractor pull (3 p.m.) and a duck race on the lake (4:17 p.m.). Baseball games will be played throughout the day, as well as barrel train rides for younger kids.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the United Methodist Women. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Tri-County Players theater group will present “Wonderland! The Musical” on June 21-23 and June 28-30 at the Market Street Theater, 120 N. Market St., Paxton. The Friday and Sarurday performances are at 7 p.m., while the Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. To reserve a seat, people can call the theater at 217-379-7028. Walk-ins are welcome, as well. “Wonderland! The Musical” is an unbashedly silly adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” With a variety of genre of music and dance, it  is an upbeat, coming-of-age story that audiences of all ages will adore. You’ll recognize some of your favorite familiar characters like Alice, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and the Hatter, as well as a few unfamiliars as Alice takes one sqaure at a time through Wonderland to become the next queen. The show is directed by Tammy Belanger and choreographed by Brandon Irish and Sherilyn McIntyre. The cast is comprised of Isabella Martinez, Michael Soltis, Layla Ostendolf, Gareth Latimer, Keegan M., Abby Wosrtell, Braden S., Gracelyn Goodberg and Makayla Hiners.

The Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners are holding an open house from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 22, at the Idea Garden they maintain outside the Onarga Public Library. Attendees will learn about composting, weed control, beekeeping and pollinators. Children’s activities will also be offered. For more information, people can call 815-268-4051.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Loda United Methodist Women. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living will be hosting a community garage sale and bake sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 29. The nursing home is located at 450 E. Fulton St. in Paxton. Donations of items for the event are being accepted.

The Iroquois County Historical Society will hold its annual Garden Faire from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 29, on the grounds of the Old Courthouse Museum, 103 W. Cherry St., Watseka. The organization is seeking vendors who would like to participate. Vendors who offer any of the following are being sought: plants, garden art, flower garden accessories, artwork, sculptures, signs, garden clothing, purses, stained glass, repurposed and recycled art/items, photography, wood crafts, antiques, homemade jewelry, baked goods and approved home party items. Vendors offering produce are also needed. Anyone interested in being a part of the event is asked to call the museum office at 815-432-2215 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Saybrook’s annual townwide garage sales are scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29. To register to have a sale plaaced on the map of the townwide sales, residents should call Pat at 309-475-6951 by June 22. There is a fee of $5. The event is sponsored by the Saybrook American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 427.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Inner Guard Widow Sons. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The band 90’s Daughter will perform in concert on Saturday, July 6, in downtown Gibson City. The concert is sponsored by Gibson Area Hospital and the Corn Belt Shrine Club. An opening act will perform starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by 90’s Daughter performing starting at 8 p.m. There is a $5 cover fee. Ribeye sandwiches will be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Live Like Jay Scholarship Fund. The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School class of 1994 will hold its 25-year class reunion that evening, as well. It was the first graduating class after consolidation of the communities.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 6, in its parking lot to help raise funds for a local toy drive organized by Kaye Harper. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Sibley Business & Historical Association will hold Sibley Appreciation Day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 6, in Sibley. Included will be an oldies musical concert by Chicago area musician Skip Griparis, who was the lead guitarist for Olivia Newton-John earlier in his career. Griparis will perform at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Sullivant Township Hall. Seating will be limited. Also, a classic car display will be located in the business and park area. Car show exhibitors will be provided advance access to the concert. To register or for more information about the car show, people can contact Don Meyer at 815-474-2656. Walking /tram tours of Sibley’s historical sites will be available, as well. Food and drink vendors will be available, as well.

The seventh annual Mid-Summer Fun Run, sponsored by the American Legion Riders Post 568 in Gibson City and the Ford County Old-Timers, will be held Saturday, July 13. The event starts at the Urbana VFW post with signups starting at 10:30 a.m. The ride leaves the VFW post at noon. Food, beverages and entertainment will be provided at the final stop, the Carter household. There will also be 50/50 drawings, live music, an auction, a bonfire after dark and free camping. Donations of $20 per person will be accepted for the poker run ($15 at the gate). All profits and donations will benefit local veterans in Champaign County. Participants must be at least 21 years old. For more information or to make a donation, contact Larry Carter (217-841-6357), Ted Kaiser (217-249-4556) or Steve Bemount (217-841-8181).

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Loda United Methodist Men. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Loda Lions Club. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Hands of Christ Food Pantry in Paxton. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Loda American Legion post. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the American Legion No. 568 Help Hometown Heroes program. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Melvin Men’s Christian Fellowship. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Paxton Girl Scouts. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Rainbow Girls. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the First Lutheran Church in Paxton. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Accolade Healthcare. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in its parking lot to help raise funds for a church camp. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Boy Scouts Troop No. 32 in Paxton. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Lake Iroquois Association Women’s Club. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Paxton Masonic Lodge. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the GAB Women’s Group. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Toys for Tots program. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Gibson City Masonic Lodge. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Missions R Us. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.