Kewanee, IL

'Season of Giving' kicks off in Kewanee with two fundraisers

Susan DeVilder
Libby Johnson did reindeer duty at the Holly Jolly Christmas Festival at Wethersfield School Sunday.Photo bySusan DeVilder

Two area fundraisers drew crowds over the weekend, as the holiday season began in earnest for Kewanee.

At the Carol Blake Center on Sunday, attendees to the Abilities Plus Open House purchased wreaths, gnomes, baked goods, raffle items and other gifts. The event was a success, said the director of development for Abilities Plus.

“Our raffle has far exceeded what we’ve normally done,” said Lauren Dynes-Gillespie.

Two years ago, the open house was completely canceled. Last year, the fundraiser returned but was a pared-down version, Dynes-Gillespie said. Sunday’s event was a return to the original roots for the fundraiser, and the attendance exceeded expectations.

“I think it’s more than we had last year. We did have a very good turn-out. It’s definitely nice to have people back in the building,” she said.

The money raised from the open house will help children and adults in Henry, Stark and Western Bureau counties who have developmental delays and disabilities. Dynes- Gillespie said it could be several days before the total amount raised can be calculated.
Jennifer Prescott, with Abilities Plus, center, sold gnomes at a booth at the Abilities Plus Open House Sunday.Photo bySusan DeVilder

At the Blish parking lot at Wethersfield School, the Grinch strolled around the lot, and Buddy the Elf made an appearance as well. Reindeers, courtesy of the Whispering Pines Reindeer Farm in Shabbona, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus provided photo opportunities for attendees.

Kicking off the Second Annual Holly Jolly Christmas Festival on Sunday was the reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore.

Also featured at the festival were kid’s games and activities, photos with Santa, refreshments and a student gingerbread house contest. The money raised from the Holly Jolly Christmas Festival will benefit the Wethersfield High School Student Council.

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Journalist, freelance correspondent for Western, Central and Southern Illinois newspapers. Focusing on feature writing and US Crime and Justice, regional.

Kewanee, IL

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