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. Meetings for the 2018-19 year will be held Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Dec. 21, Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 15, on a date to be determined in April and 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.

Parents of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School juniors are selling raffle tickets for a chance to win $100 per month for an entire year. Tickets cost $10 each or $20 for three. People can contact the parent of a GCMS junior to buy tickets. The winning ticket will be drawn at the Senior Night football game on Oct. 19. The winner does not need to be present to win.

The Gibson City Senior Citizens Club is inviting all people over age 55 to attend a potluck supper on the fourth Thursday of each month from March through October. The club meets at 5 p.m. at the Telecare building near the city’s South Park. Fried chicken and a cold drink is provided. Attendees are asked to bring their own table service.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Kerbside Floral & Tanning, 516 E. Locust St., Chatsworth. Visitors are always welcome, including preteens, teens and adults, both male and female. There is no charge to attend the first meeting. 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.   For details, people can call Brenda Hemp at 815-954-8835, visit www.tops.org or call TOPS headquarters at 800-932-8677.

The Ford County Historical Society’s Water Tower Museum is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum, which features Ford County history, is located behind Paxton City Hall, 145 S. Market St. There  is no charge for admission to the museum. For more information or to schedule visits or tours at other times, people can call 217-379-4111 or 217-379-3723.

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, 925 N. Illinois 47, 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, is inviting members of the public to join the group for its meetings held every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. at the Paxton Carnegie Library.

A euchre party sponsored by Chic Meredith’s Ford County Relay for Life team is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Moyer District Library, 618 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City. There is a $10 entry fee. Snacks and water will be provided. To sign up in advance, people can call 217-784-5267 and leave a message with their name and phone number.

Gibson City’s final Friday Night Cruise of the summer is set for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in the downtown area. Organizers are encouraging residents of Gibson City and elsewhere to participate by cruising Sangamon Avenue downtown, or simply parking their vehicles there and showing them off while visiting with friends and neighbors. Also, several businesses and organizations are expected to be participating by holding special events.

Christ Lutheran High School’s annual fish/chicken fry is set for 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the American Legion post at 313 S. Walnut St. in Buckley. The meal costs $10, with kids in first through eighth grades eating for $6. The menu includes fish or chicken, potato salad, German potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, lemonade and water. All proceeds benefit Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley.

The movie "Ferdinand" will be shown free of charge at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Melvin Community Hall. Attendees are asked to bring a blanket or rug on which to sit.

"Windy Hollow" will be performed at the Market Street Theatre, located at 120 N. Market St. in downtown Paxton, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, as well as at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23.

Admission costs $8, and walk-ins are welcome. To make reservations, people can call 217-379-7028.

The play, by Ian McCutcheon, will feature junior high school students.  The whole family will enjoy the enchanting tale of woodland folk who allow us humans a glimpse into their world. This is a special gift as humans in the shape of supermarket developers are intent on destroying their habitat with their plans for a new superstore.

Will Enoki’s (portrayed by Kendyl Badgley) magic potions and Puffball’s (Charley Urlrich) fairy charms frustrate these evil humans, or will the woodland folk need human assistance in the form of the beautiful Chanterelle (Ally Wright)? Even the villainous Stinkhorn (Lauren Krumwiede) and her inept stooges Blewitt (Natalie Manriquez) and Blusher (Kylie Van Horn) have to put aside their wicked mischief to join the fight against the humans so that everyone can live happily ever after. 

Rounding out the cast is Eric the depressed owl (Garreth Lattimer), Dryad the Grand Poo-Bah (Maggie Neff) and her assistant Portobello (Destiny Williams), Woody the hero (Keegan Medlock), Button (Jordan Goss) and Cep (Carson Goss) who worship their friend Woody and two church mice (Iris Lattimer and Paityn Badgley).

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Toys for Tots. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The community of Lake Iroquois in rural Loda will hold its 50th anniversary open house and celebration from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23. Bingo and card games will be held in the pavilion from 1 to 4 p.m. A tour of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative (EIEC) will be from 1 to 4 p.m., as well. Children’s games will be from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. A home run derby (older kids first) will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Anniversary dedications will be at 1 p.m. A basketball competition for kids in eighth grade through high school will be from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. A volleyball tournament for kids 13 and older will be from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Food will be provided by EIEC.

The Gibson Area Hospital Auxiliary will sponsor an American Red Cross blood drive from noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at the First Presbyterian Church, 401 N. Church St., Gibson City.

Blood donors are asked to bring their blood donor card or photo identification.

Appointments are encouraged, because the Red Cross sends staff to take care of the donors in a timely manner based on the number of appointments. Prospective donors who are not on the regular calling list are asked to call Sharon at 217-249-8103 or make an appointment by visiting redcrossblood.org by Wednesday, Sept. 19.

To help save time, RapidPass allows donors to complete pre-reading and health history questions online. Donors can learn more by visiting redcrossblood.org/RapidPass. There are also directions for using RapidPass at the Moyer District Library, 618 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City.

During the blood drive, donors can enter a drawing to win one of the two $10 gift certificates for the Gibson Area Hospital Gift Shop or one of two $25 Gibson Bucks gift certificates sponsored by the GAH Auxiliary.

Donating blood typically takes about one hour. Donors must be healthy and be at least 17 years old (16 year olds may donate with ARC consent form signed by their parent). There is no upper age limit. Donors must also weigh at least 110 pounds and wait 56 days between donations. People are eligible to donate if they last donated on or before July 31. Donors should eat a good meal within four hours before donating.

All blood types are needed, especially types "O" and all "RH negatives." Blood donations help Gibson Area Hospital reduce the cost of the blood that is purchased for the hospital’s needs.

Abbe Insurance Agency in Buckley is hosting a Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.

The Corn Belt Shrine Club of Gibson City will serve ribeye steak sandwiches as well as a bag of chips and a drink for a $9 donation at events scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 27 and Oct. 18 at Sammers II in Gibson City.

The Friends of the Dominy Memorial Library’s fall book sale will be held at the library in Fairbury from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28; and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 29. There will be thousands of gently used books from which to choose, plus a special section of holiday books. For more information, people can visit www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheDominyLibrary.

Paxton High School’s class of 1978 will celebrate its 40-year class reunion during Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s homecoming week on Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29. The weekend will kick off with an informal gathering at Market Street Tap in downtown Paxton following the homecoming football game Friday evening. On Saturday, classmates will gather at 6:30 p.m. at the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites at 1280 W. Ottawa Road in Paxton. Pizza, soda pop and water will be provided, with a cash bar available throughout the evening. There is no charge for members of the class, but a $10 donation is requested if bringing a guest. Reservations are requested by Sept. 21 via Facebook, (Paxton HS Class of 1978 Facebook) or by emailing Lisa Gritton Upah at lupah@austin.rr.com.

Buckley’s townwide garage sales will be held Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29, starting at 8 a.m. each day. Maps showing each garage sale site will be available.

The Walltown 4-H Club will hold a backyard bonfire at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Loschen residence at 2084 E. Ford County Road 00 North in rural Paxton. The event will feature games, a hotdog dinner, s’mores and more. The event will allow prospective 4-H members to learn about the club. Those attending are asked to bring a lawn chiar and s’mores sticks. Reservations were requested by Sept. 22 by contacting Cloverbud leader Stephanie Herges at 217-840-1087 or 4-H leaders Kyla DeOrnellas at 217-202-4115 or Allie Loschen at 217-898-2970.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Upper Room Bible Church’s women’s group. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Paxton American Legion Auxiliary. Post 150 will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, at the American Legion building on East Pells Street in Paxton across from Pells Park. The meeting will entail the distribution of the group’s yearly charitable gifts. Refreshments will be served.

A flu-shot clinic will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Christ Lutheran High School, 201 W. Lincoln St., Buckley. The cost for a flu shot is $30. Medicare, Medicaid and most major insurances are accepted. Persons receiving flu shots are asked to bring their insurance cards with them. For more information, people can call the school at 217-394-2547.

The Immanuel Lutheran Church in Loda is holding a homemade goodies sale and garage sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at 113 Iroquois Trail at Lake Iroquois in rural Loda. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Ladies Aid/LWML’s special projects, including Christ Lutheran High School’s student education fund, the St. Louis Seminary student fund and to the church family’s college students. Special items for sale include a gently used couch, an upright freezer and a collector’s seven-piece lighted Spooky Town Halloween village. Items not sold will be donated to local charitable organizations. For more information, people can call Nancy Johnson at 217-386-2587.

The Saybrook Sons of the American Legion Squad No. 427 will host a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and Friday, Nov. 2, at the Legion Hall in Saybrook. The cost of the meal is $7. Dinner includes spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. The meal is all-you-can-eat when dining in. Carryout orders are also available.

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, in its parking lot to help raise funds for Missions Are Us. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Doobie Brothers are taking it to the streets — well, actually the State Farm Center, — on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Tickets went on sale to the public Sept. 7. The show is at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30. The Doobie Brothers have sold over 48 million albums. They join the 2018 State Farm Center headliners this fall that include Jake Owen, The Avett Brothers and Chris Young. They have been delivering guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll for over four decades, and have won four Grammy Awards. They released their latest album, "Southbound," in 2014 on Arista Nashville. It features new recordings of the band’s biggest hits, accompanied by Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. Their No. 1 singles "Black Water" (1974) and "What a Fool Believes" (1979), both gold, lead a catalog of songs that include "Listen to the Music," "Jesus Is Just All Right," "Rockin’ Down the Highway," "Long Train Runnin’," "China Grove," "Take Me in Your Arms," "Takin’ it to the Streets," "Minute by Minute," "You Belong to Me" and "The Doctor."

The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the St. Mary’s Council of Catholic Women. 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. 20, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Lake Iroquois 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. 27, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Rankin 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, Nov. 3, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Widow Sons Inner Guard. 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. 10, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Loda Truck and Tractor Pull. 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. 17, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the Future Business Leaders of America. 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. 24, 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.