Museum hosting gallery of trees exhibit

KANKAKEE — The Kankakee County Museum Gallery of Trees is celebrating 41 years of local tradition. This year the museum is filled with more than 30 trees decorated by area nonprofit organizations.

Visitors can vote for their favorite Disney-themed Christmas tree. More than 3,000 visitors toured the display last December.

The Gallery of Trees begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, and is open throughout the entire month of December with the exception of Dec. 24, 25 and 31. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is a suggested donation of $2 per person and you’re welcome to take photos.Spirit of Starfish Giving fundraiser set for Dec. 11

BRADLEY — Starfish Family Homes eighth annual Spirit of Starfish Giving Fundraiser will be 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Quality Inn and Suites, Bradley. Starfish Family Homes provides foster care support services in the Kankakee area. Starfish advisory board chair SueAnn O’Connor and event organizers are rounding up donated items to provide a Christmas gift for every foster child in Kankakee County.“Each year, many children in our county spend Christmas day hoping for that special toy or item they’ve been wishing for all year long,” O’Connor said. “Many generous people are working hard to help us provide gifts and toys that will make their holidays memorable.”

At the event, attendees can purchase a gift to donate and add a handwritten message to send to a local area foster child. The fundraiser also includes an auction of raffle items, music, entertainment, snacks, refreshments and a cash bar.

Starfish Family Homes is the foster care arm of Indian Oaks Academy, which provides nationally recognized treatment for hard-to-place boys and girls with harmful sexual behaviors, developmental disability or youth with severe emotional and behavioral problems. The academy is a member of the Nexus family of treatment programs.

For more information or to donate a gift or auction item, call LaVella Darby at Indian Oaks Academy at 815-802-3700 or O’Connor at 815-932-2554.

Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis coming Dec. 8

KANKAKEE — The 29th annual 2019 Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis will be 9 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. The 5K run and walk will start and finish in front of the main building at Kankakee Community College. There also will be an untimed fun walk, youth dash and a stay-at-home Jingle in Your Jammies.

Register in advance at Online registration in advance is $40, with registration accepted at the event for $45. Prices vary for the fun walk, youth dash and Jingle in Your Jammies. Long-sleeved red shirts will be available for participants and all finishers will receive a medal. There will be awards, including top fundraisers, best costumes and ugliest Christmas sweater. There will be free refreshments, and volunteers are welcome. To volunteer, email with Santa at Limestone Library

KANKAKEE — The Limestone Library will host visits with Santa on Monday, Dec. 9, with two sessions available: 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. and 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. There will be a story time, crafts and a special time with Santa in the Peterson schoolhouse on the grounds of the library at 2701 W. Tower Road, Kankakee.

There is no fee to attend, but pre-registration is required. To register, call 815-939-1696.Workshop to focus on Industrial Hemp Production

BOURBONNAIS — The University of Illinois Extension will host an Industrial Hemp Production Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Dec. 12, at their office, 1650 Commerce Drive, Bourbonnais.

Information will cover agronomic practices — starting or acquiring seedlings, how to plant, where and when to plant, hemp varieties, harvesting and drying and potential markets. Answers to frequently asked questions such as how to get started, permits, rules and regulations and how to build partnerships in the industry, will be provided.

Speakers will include University of Illinois educators Philip Alberti agronomist/researcher; Zachary Grant, horticulture/small farm production; and James Theuri, integrated pest management. A guest speaker from a hemp extraction/plant propagation company may be present.

To register, visit Participant fee is $25 per person or $40 for two people from the same household or farm. The cost includes handouts and lunch. Pre-registration is required by Dec. 9.

For more information, call 815-933-8337 or email Theuri at

No refunds will be given. A minimum number of participants are needed to hold the event.Theater association holding winter auditions

KANKAKEE — Auditions for Kankakee Valley Theatre Association’s winter shows will be held the first two weeks of December. Auditions for “Almost Maine” are December 5-6 and auditions for YPT’s “Mary Poppins Jr.” are December 13-14. Both auditions will be at the KVTA studios at 1 Stuart Drive, Kankakee.

“Almost Maine” tells the stories of love, loss, and redemption centered in a charming Maine town. One cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter, while the northern lights hover in the sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. Love is lost, found, and confounded. And life for the people of Almost, Maine, will never be the same.

Auditions for this show are open to all genders ages 15 and older. Those interested in auditioning can sign up at They must prepare a one- to two-minute monologue.

“Almost Maine” will be performed in the KVTA Black Box on Feb. 8-9 and 15-16.

“Mary Poppins Jr.” features the jack-of-all trades Bert who introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family members how to value each other again. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins Jr. is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs and breathtaking dance numbers. Auditions for this youth musical are open to all genders ages 6 to 16.

“Mary Poppins Jr.” will be performed April 4-5 at the Lincoln Cultural Center.

To sign up for an audition, view audition material, and purchase tickets, visit or email the directors at and

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