Illinoisans encouraged to remember military this holiday season
Taking a few moments to write a holiday card or send a pair of socks might seem like a small gesture, but for service members and veterans on the receiving end, such gifts can mean the world.
That was the message conveyed by First Lady Diana Rauner as she announced the 2018 Holiday Hero Drive for Illinois service members and veterans. The drive sends holiday cards and socks to Illinois service men and women, including those currently overseas, reminding them that they are cherished and remembered at holiday time.
The drive is done in partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO) of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), and the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association.
In addition to cards, the Holiday Hero Drive includes sock donations this year. Participants can send in new tan or black boot socks to USO of Illinois officials, who will distribute the collected socks to deployed troops as well as veterans in Illinois Veterans’ Homes.
Tan or black boot socks — which can be worn with any uniform — are one of the most requested items, to keep service people’s feet dry, clean and comfortable. Cards and socks should be mailed through Nov. 20 to USO of Illinois – Holiday Hero Drive, 333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2226, Chicago 60601.
Cards and socks also can be dropped off at locations found online at www2.illinois.gov/veterans/Pages/ServiceOffices.aspx.
Any questions about the Holiday Hero Drive can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
College jazz musicians to perform in concert
The Bradley University Hilltop Combo will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Dingeldine Music Center, located on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria. Admission is $5 for adults and free for students.
The group includes Blake Markum on trumpet, Cole Faulstich on tenor sax, Bryan Garner on bari sax, Jackson Miller on guitar, Austin Lair on piano, Sam Zalewsky on bass and Dawson Oulette on drums. They will present music for the small jazz group in a variety of styles.
Under the direction of Dr. Todd Kelly, the jazz program at Bradley includes two big bands, one combo as well as courses in jazz history and jazz improvisation. The Bradley Jazz Ensemble has performed with some of today’s leading jazz artists and jazz educators. For more information about this event, call 309-677-2597.
Parade of Lights to kick off annual holiday festival
The 34th annual Parade of Lights will kick off at 5:45 p.m. Nov. 17, and will be the official start of the annual East Peoria Festival of Lights.
The parade will start at the intersection of East Washington Street and Dolans Lane, where Auto Zone is located. It will continue along its traditional Washington Street route, turning left at the intersection with Camp Street. Shortly after that, the floats will turn right from Washington onto Taylor Street at East Peoria Autobody, and continue along Taylor in front of Central Junior High School, ending at Taylor Street and Springfield Road at the U.S. Post Office. One of the many creations in the parade will be 48,000 lights shaped into the form of the Starship Enterprise.
Volunteers are needed Nov. 17 to drive floats and walk with them along the parade route. Drivers must be age 18 and older. Walkers, who help guide the float drivers, should be at least age 15 unless they are with a parent. To volunteer, send contact information to email@example.com, or click the “send email” button on parade’s Facebook page.
After the parade, the festival will continue through December with the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display. The festival’s mascot is the wooden soldier Folepi, whose name serves as an acronym for “Festival of Lights, East Peoria, Illinois.” The annual East Peoria Festival of Lights holiday light show is in its 34th year and will be held Nov. 22-Dec. 31.
–Tazewell County News Briefs–