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By NIKOLLE KEENEY
Rantoul Press correspondent
GIFFORD — Plans are underway for the fifth annual Gifford Community Celebration, to be held Saturday, June 29, at Werner Roessler Park.
The celebration was discussed at the February meeting of the Gifford Village Board Thursday.
Sponsored by Gifford State Bank, the day-long event will feature a 5K run, a parade, dream baseball, music, inflatables, a petting zoo, a kiddie tractor pull, a softball game, fireworks, a movie at the park, performances by the Marvin Lee Band and the Feudin’ Hillbillies and more.
Contests include watermelon eating, cricket spitting and strong man.
Food and drinks will be available all day, and a beer tent will be set up for evening performances.
All activities will be free to the public, with the exclusion of the 5K race and band admission. Parking will be available at Gifford Grade School and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, regular shuttles running to the park.
Carter said everything would remain “pretty much the same” as last year. The only major modification will be the absence of a talent show as there wasn’t much interest in years past.
“The event gets better and bigger every year,” Carter said. “It’s something the community really looks forward to.”
In the past, the event has been run by employees of Gifford State Bank. Now that the event has substantially grown, the bank is seeking volunteers.
“We would really appreciate help,” Carter said.
There will be volunteer shifts throughout the day for any amount of time individuals have to donate. Contact Carter at the bank (217-568-7311) for more information or to volunteer.
The estimated cost of the entire event is $20,500, not including fireworks. The event is entirely funded by donations and sponsorships. The bank asked the village to again donate fireworks.
The next village of Gifford board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Village Hall.