Listen to this article

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 Paxton Church of Christ, 400 W. Ottawa Road, is hosting a weekly SeniorFit exercise program starting Monday, Sept. 16, at 9 a.m. The program is especially designed to help seniors with strength and balance for daily living. It will involve low-impact exercises that can all be done while sitting in a chair. Area seniors are invited to attend. For more information, people can contact the church at 217-379-4443.

The Elliott Amvets will hold Family Night meals on the first Friday of each month: Sept. 6, Oct. 4, Nov. 1, 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.

The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s farmers’ market — The Market on Market — is held every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. on the lawn outside the Paxton Carnegie Library, 254 S. Market St., through Sept. 19. Items typically available for purchase include baked goods, fresh vegetables, fresh flower bouquets and locally produced artwork. On Sept. 12, the musical group Vern N Vern out of Kankakee County will be performing at the farmers’ market.

The Fisher Free Book Exchange is open from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at the corner of Sangamon and Third streets in downtown Fisher. The exchange includes reading material as well as rummage tables. A tip jar is available to help keep the doors open. It is open to the public, and there are no cards to buy or fees to pay. For more information, people can call 217-897-6544.

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 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.

Loda Township Library board meetings will be held at 5 p.m. in the library’s main reading room on 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. 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. 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 6:30 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.

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.

The fall sessions of DivorceCare will be held at 6:30 p.m. each Monday from Sept. 9 through Dec. 16 at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, Gibson City. DivorceCare is a weekly seminar and support group that helps people heal from the hurt of a separation or divorce. Participants learn practical information and gain hope for the future. For more information, people can call 217-784-5702 or visit www.divorcecare.com or www.gibsoncitybible.org.

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.

The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s next general monthly meeting will be at noon Thursday, Sept. 5, at The Sand Trap, 120 E. 1st St., Gibson City. The featured speakers will be Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey, who will discuss what the city is doing in the near future, and representatives of the committee organizing the city’s annual Harvest Fest. The meeting is open to the public. Persons interested in attending were asked to contact Jackie Rusk by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, at jackie.rusk@gapho.org or 217-784-2249.

Gibson City’s townwide fall garage sales will be Thursday, Sept. 5, through Saturday, Sept. 7. To have a sale included on a flyer to be distrubted at local businesses and online, residents are asked to send a message to the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce by Aug. 31 and include their last name, address, dates/times of the sale and a brief description of sale items.

Paxton High School’s class of 1963 will hold its 56th class reunion on Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7. On Sept. 6, class members will meet for pizza at 6 p.m. at Monical’s Pizza in Paxton. On Sept. 7, there will be a buffet dinner at the Arcade Café in Paxton. A social hour is at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Classmates who would like more information or would like make reservations for the two events should contact Janis Carlson Slaughter at 520-975-4020 or Grace McCabe Meents at 217-379-3461.

The Loda Illinois Team Hope Walk, hosted by the Great Lakes Region of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), is set for Saturday, Sept. 7, at Lakeview Country Club, 147 E. Iroquois County Road 200 North, Loda. The Loda Illinois Team Hope Walk is a fundraising event that consists of the community walking together to support the HDSA’s fight to improve the lives of people affected with Huntington’s disease as well as their families. All donations go toward the HDSA. Check-in for the Sept. 7 event begins at 7 a.m., with the walk running from 8 to 11 a.m. To register in advance, people can visit www.hdsa.org/thwloda. For more information, people can contact Samantha Cox at 217-249-1421 or sjmccoy85@yahoo.com.

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 Philo Country Opry featuring Chrissy Sparks will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Melvin Community Hall, 108 E. Main St., Melvin. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the cost of admission is $10. Children age 12 and under enter for free. The Melvin Lutheran Church will be selling pulled-pork sandwiches, chips, homemade pies and drinks. For more information, people can call 217-388-2853. On Oct. 12, Rick & Friends will perform at the Melvin Community Hall.

The public is invited to learn lots of history when the Iroquois County Genealogical Society presents its seventh annual cemetery walk at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Amity Cemetery near Goodwine. Some of the presenters and their topics are: Janet Anderson, who will explain the symbols on some of the headstones at the cemetery and talk about Eliza J. Hickman Wilson; DeeAnna Eckersley, who will give historical facts about the post offices, towns and cemetery; Charles Crow, who will talk about Isaac Scott; Teri Edris, who will speak about Thelma Morgeson; and Ralph Butzow, who will give some history of the church. Other speakers and presenters are also slated. There will be a small admission fee, as the event is one of the Iroquois County Genealogical Society’s few fundraisers. The admission fee will include water, and a handicap port-a-potty will be available. The cemetery is located at the intersection of county roads 500 North and 1900 East.  No parking is allowed on the road south of the cemetery or in the cemetery; the best place to park is on the west side. For more information, people can call call 815-432-3730 or send an email to iroqgene@gmail.com.

The I&I Firefighters Association’s annual 9/11 Memorial Ride will be held Sunday, Sept. 8, with the procession of motorcycles expected to make a one-hour lunch stop in Paxton around 12:20 p.m. Bikers will leave McDonald’s in Danville at 10 a.m. and enter Indiana around 10:30 a.m. They will then enter Rossville around 11:31 a.m. before entering Hoopeston (11:51 a.m.), Rankin (12:08 p.m.) and Paxton (12:20 p.m.). The bikers will enter Paxton  on Illinois 9 before stopping for one hour at the firehouse on North Market Street for lunch. They will leave Paxton around 1:22 p.m., heading south on U.S. 45 to Ludlow. The motorcyclists will then pass through Rantoul (1:30 p.m.), Gifford (1:45 p.m.), Penfield (1:50 p.m.), Armstrong (1:56 p.m.), Potomac (2 p.m.), Collison (2:08 p.m.), Oakwood (2:19 p.m.), Muncie (2:28 p.m.), Fithian (2:30 p.m.), Ogden (2:35 p.m.), Homer (2:41 p.m.), Allerton (3:11 p.m.), Sidell (3:18 p.m.), Indianola (3:25 p.m.), Ridge Farm (3:33 p.m.), Georgetown (3:40 p.m.), Westville (3:47 p.m.), Catlin (3:55 p.m.) and Tilton (4 p.m.). The ride will conclude at 4:10 p.m. when bikers arrive at the Exit 210 Saloon in Danville. For more information, contact Dan Hudson at 217-474-5177.

The Iroquois County Genealogical Society’s seventh annual cemetery walk will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Amity Cemetery near Goodwine. There will be a small admission fee. Those who attend will need to sign in at the admission table and be sure to pick up a program brochure. As there is no parking in the cemetery, cars will need to be parked on the road west of the cemetery. Water will be available, and attendants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and umbrellas. A handicap-accessible porta-potty will be available. Some of the presenters lined up for this event are: Jerry Moore, who will talk about J.B. Wilson; Janet Anderson, who will tell the story of Eliza Jane Hickman; Ralph Butzow, who will talk about the church; Charlie Crow, who will give the story of Isaac Scott; Dee Eckersley, who will talk about the town of Hickman and the post offices; and Cari Edris, who will share the story of her mother, Thelma Morgeson. The cemetery is located at the intersection of county roads 500 North and 1900 East.

The Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will sponsor a Price Outlook meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Farm Bureau building in Gilman. AgriVisor manager Joe Camp will give the price outlook. Camp, a native of Paxton, offers grain marketing advice to producers in the Midwest and provides hedge recommendations and order execution as a Series 3 licensed broker. Camp is an analyst specializing in the grains and knowledgeable on matters influencing the other various financial markets. Camp can be heard regularly on the RFD Radio Network. One Earth Energy’s Steve Kelly will also speak at the meeting. Kelly has been the general manager at the One Earth Energy ethanol plant in Gibson City since 2007. Before moving to One Earth Energy, Kelly was the general manager at Alliance Grain, headquartered in Gibson City. Kelly will provide an update on the ethanol industry and give his prospective on the world commodity markets. Reservations are not needed for the meeting. For more information, people can contact the Farm Bureau office at 800-424-0756.

The Ford County Republican Women and the Gov. Thomas Ford Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution are inviting the public to attend the annual 9/11 memorial service at the Paxton firehouse on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Music will be provided by PBL High School’s Panther Regiment marching band beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m. The featured speaker will be Chief Edmund J. Enright, a retired deputy district chief from the Chicago Fire Department. The event is an opportunity to remember, recognize and honor first responders, including police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, EMS personnel, ERS personnel, paramedics and EMA volunteers.

Gibson City’s annual Harvest Fest will take place in downtown Gibson City on Friday, Sept. 13, and Saturday, Sept. 14. Friday’s lineup includes music by Jake & Jackson, as well as the Fun Pianos Dueling Pianos. There will be food and beverage vendors as well as family games Friday night. Saturday’s festivities include food, beverage and retail vendors, kids’ activities, a bags tourney, the Absurd 1/3 “race” and a beer stein holding competition.  Musical acts include The Fairchilds, Counterfeit, The Devon Clemons Band and the main act, Colt Ford.  For more information, people can visit the event’s Facebook page (gcharvestfest) or website, www.gibsoncityharvestfest.com.

The Barn Keepers of McLean County’s 14th annual Barn Tour is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, in and around the town of Lexington and the surrounding area. The self-guided tour will feature 11 sites, including 12 barns, the Patton Cabin, Lexington’s “Miracle Mile,”  Anvil Brand Shoe Co., The Fort and other places of interest. Children may enjoy the cattle, horses, peacocks and goats on display.                                                                                                                 The welcome center for the event will be the Church of Christ Uniting, 108 N. Pine St., Lexington. There, people can buy tickets and pick up the history tour booklet which has the map of the tour. Registration is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the day of the tour, and the tour will run until 4 p.m. Tickets cost $20 per carload and $15 for Barn Keepers members. Extra booklets will be available for $5. The  Barn Keepers board will be serving coffee and doughnuts in the morning and a “Barn Tour Special” will be served at Kelly’s on 66 beginning at 11 a.m.                                                                                                                              For more information, people can visit www.barnkeepers.org or call 309-475-6951.              

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.

Paxton High School’s graduating class of 1964 has scheduled its 55-year reunion for the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15. Advance reservations thus far indicate several out-of-state classmates will attend. On Saturday, a golf outing will be at 8 a.m. at Brookhill Golf Course in Rantoul; attendees may contact Dan Beppler at 217-379-4507 for advance reservations. From 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, classmates will gather at the old Ford County sheriff’s residence for a tour of the historic site hosted by Judith Jepsen-Popel of the Ford County Historical Society. From 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, attendees will gather for a social hour at the Arcade Cafe in Paxton with a couple photos being taken. A buffet dinner will be enjoyed by the classmates from 7 to 8 p.m., and a group photo will be taken at 9 p.m. followed by a program and awards event hosted by R.N. “Bob” Thompson Jr. of Lebanon, Ind. At 10 p.m. Saturday, the group will motor to their tradional bonfire and 1950s and 1960s music fest at their reunion RV campground east of Paxton. On Sunday, participants will gather for breakfast at the Arcade Cafe from 10 a.m. to noon. From 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday,  Dean Blackford will host an openhouse featuring his collection of restored John Deere tractors at his facility east of Paxton. Given the approaching demolition of the former Paxton High School building, the class of 1964 is offering coffee cups with a photo of the old high school for sale during the reunion weekend. The reunion committee has arranged for motel and camping facilites for attendees. For further information, people can contact Merrily (Jones) Griffin at 217-379-3565.

Container gardening will be the topic of the next program at the Piper City Public Library on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The program is provided through the Ford-Iroquois unit of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, people can call the library at 815-686-9234.

An American Red Cross blood drive is scheduled for 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at The Hope Vineyard Church, 152 N. Market St. in downtown Paxton. For an appointment, people can call 800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org.

The movie “How To Train Your Dragon” will be shown free of charge at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the Melvin Community Hall. Attendees are asked to bring a rug or blanket on which to sit.

The eighth annual Paxton Swine ‘N Dine BBQ Contest & Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21, in downtown Paxton. The all-day event features a free concert headlined by Nashville recording artist Jerrod Niemann. Opening for Niemann on a stage set up in front of City Hall will be fellow country musician Johnny McGuire starting at 7 p.m. While general admission to the concert is free, party-pit passes can be purchased for $25 at paxtonchamber.com. The festival also features a wide variety of food and beverage vendors, a car show/cruise-in, a cornhole tournament, children’s activities and, of course, the barbecue cookoff that will award cash prizes. Barbecue cookoff entry forms are available at paxtonchamber.com. Festival-goers age 21 and older who obtain the required wrist band for a fee will again be permitted to drink alcohol on Market Street during the festival. There will be a number of beer vendors on hand.

The band Gift Shop at the Vatican will be performing from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Elliott Amvets. Beer will be available for $2, mixed drinks for $3.50 and Jell-O shots for $1.

The Clarence Fickwiler and Virgil Rueck Christmas scenes that have long been on display in Melvin each Christmas will be distributed to interested individuals for cash donations on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Melvin Community Hall. There will be a silent auction from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sandwiches, desserts and drinks will be available for donations. Free bingo and a cake walk will be the entertainment for the evening. Bids will be taken in the back of the building, where the Christmas displays will be set up. Bids as low as $1 will be accepted. All proceeds will be divided between the Melvin park and Melvin volunteer firemen. The Christmas scenes will be available for viewing ahead of the event. Anyone interested can visit the Melvin Community Hall any Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 9 and 11 a.m., or people can call Wm. Curtis at 217-249-9826 or Larry Boundy for a private showing.

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.

A public open house regarding the first phase of downtown Paxton’s streetscape improvement project is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at City Hall, 145 S. Market St., Paxton.

The Forrest Wabash Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. Attendees can tour the Depot, the Hampsher Hotel and Jerry’s Hat Museum. The festival also features street vendors, live entertainment, kiddie amusements, a car/truck/semi cruise-in and an antique tractor show.

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 first-ever Downtown Paxton Wine Walk is set for 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. The event is being sponsored by the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce.

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.