Around The Town

Kiwanis announces recipient of .5K race; accepting registrations:
Jacksonville area residents ready for a short walk or run for charity next month can register for an exciting event that will benefit Just For Kids, an early learning child care facility.

The Jacksonville Kiwanis Club’s annual .5K Walk, Skip, Run or Roll for charity will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, at Bahan’s Tavern in Downtown Jacksonville. Participants only need travel a short .5K route — approximately 1/3 of a mile — to Don’s Place to complete the race. Wood ‘n’ Nickel will be playing at Don’s Place after the race.

The charity event has raised nearly $60,000 over the past decade under the direction of Jacksonville residents Bruce and Dessa Surratt. While the duo has turned over the reins to a committee of Kiwanian organizers, they will remain involved and supportive of the event.

The .5K committee is accepting registrations from race participants, as well as sponsorships from businesses or individuals. The cost to participate is $25, or $30 after March 21. Participants will receive a long-sleeved shirt. Contact Lauren Range ( or 217-883-3717) or Cathy Gibson ( or 217-320-1901) for more information.

Applications can be picked up at Bahan’s Tavern, Don’s Place, the Bob Freesen YMCA and WLDS/WEAI.

The mission of Kiwanis is to serve the children of the world. Just For Kids intends to use the benefits from the charity event to continue to provide support for children ages 2-12 and to help prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. Just For Kids will be expanding their program to serve more families.

Central Christian Church offers student scholarship program:
Central Christian Church, at 359 W. College Ave. in Jacksonville, is currently accepting applications for its Choral Scholars program. The scholarship positions are $1,000 per academic year and allow local college and high school students the experience of singing with an accomplished church choir, hopefully fostering a lifelong involvement with choral music. There will be four (4) scholarships offered for the upcoming year. Any current high school or college student is eligible to apply!

Choral Scholars of college age must actively be enrolled in a degree program at an area or online college, university or trade school. High school students (any grade) must maintain satisfactory grades, be considering post-secondary education and participate in their school’s choral program.

Participation requirements include weekly rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from 6-7, and

Sunday morning worship from 8:30-10:30. Additional activities include special services including Christmas Eve, Maundy Thursday and seasonal concerts that may include dress rehearsals. The schedule for the upcoming academic year begins Wed., Aug. 31 and runs through the end of May 2024.

Choral Scholars may come from any religious affiliation and will at no time be required to become members of Central Christian, though participation in the events and life of the church is encouraged. Scholars will be considered full participating members of the choir at Central Christian Church.

The choir at Central Christian is an active part of the worship services held at the church. The choir is composed of members from various musical backgrounds, abilities and ages.

Applications for the first consideration of 2023-2024 scholarships are being accepted through April 28, 2023, with scholarships being awarded by the end of May. Applications submitted after the deadline will be reviewed and considered, but acceptance may be postponed due to enrollment and/or compensation prorated.

All interested singers should complete an application and submit to director of choirs Adam Power at Applications can be found on the church’s website,, or by scanning the QR code. Please contact Adam Power for any additional information.

Rotary Club of Jacksonville — Bass Tournament is April 2:
Registration is now open for the first bass tournament of the season on Lake Jacksonville, taking place on Sunday, April 2, 2023. The tournament is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Jacksonville. It is the 23rd annual event, and proceeds from the tournament will benefit Jacksonville area charities.

Tournament co-chair David Fisher said, “This has been a very popular tournament that draws fishing enthusiasts from several states. Lake Jacksonville is known for good bass fishing, and we offer substantial prizes, ranging from $900 for first place to $100 for eighth place.”

Fisher said the entry fee is $150 per team with a 45-boat limit. A Big Bass Pot is optional, for $10 per boat. A daily or seasonal boat permit is required, as is proof of $25,000 in liability insurance. Boat permits will be available at the Lake Jacksonville Concession Office on the day of the tournament.

Registration and a pre-tournament meeting will be held at Lake Jacksonville at 6 a.m. A drawing for order of take-off will be held at this meeting. Registration forms may be downloaded at the club’s website:

Any questions may be directed to tournament co-chair Joe Horabik at

Rotary unites people from all continents, cultures and occupations. Rotarians are leaders in their fields and communities. Rotarians’ diverse perspectives help them to identify and solve problems in communities throughout the world. For more information about the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, its service initiatives and how to become a member, visit

Backroads Boutique Crawl returns to Jacksonville:
Get ready for a shopping experience like no other, as the highly anticipated Backroads Boutique Crawl returns to the heart of Jacksonville. On April 1 and 2, local shoppers and visitors will have the opportunity to explore the unique and trendy boutiques that the city has to offer.

The Backroads Boutique Crawl will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. The event will feature participating boutiques in the downtown Jacksonville area, as well as the Beardstown and Winchester communities. Each will offer their own unique merchandise, from clothing and accessories to home décor and gift items. Shoppers will also have the chance to meet the owners and see firsthand the inspiration behind their local businesses.

In addition to shopping, the event will also feature pop-ups at various businesses, a signature cocktail at The Little Stove, plus Sunday business hours, making it a fun and festive experience for all! The crawl will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to support local businesses and discover hidden gems in the heart of Jacksonville.

“We are thrilled to bring back the Backroads Boutique Crawl to downtown Jacksonville and beyond,” said Julie Rowe, the event organizer. “This event is a great opportunity for our community and surrounding communities to hit the open road and come together to support local businesses, while having a fun and enjoyable shopping experience.”

This year’s Backroads Boutique Crawl promises to be a wonderful time, with a great lineup of participating businesses along with new businesses in our neighboring rural communities. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to shop, socialize and explore some of the best shopping the area has to offer!

For more information about the Backroads Boutique Crawl and for a full listing of participants, visit the event Facebook page, “Backroads Boutique Crawl.”

West Central Illinois Boys’ All-Star Classic on March 17:
The voting has been completed and the rosters are set for the 43rd annual Country Financial West Central Illinois Boys’ All-Star Classic in March.

The game will be sponsored by Country Financial again and will be held March 17 at The Jacksonville High School Bowl.

The coach for the north squad is Porta/AC Central coach Colin Arthalony. Voted to the north squad are Gavin Arthalony and Cole Roberts of Porta/AC, Cole Behymer and Sam Carr of Brown County, Ryan Snow and Aiden Neathery of Triopia-Virginia-Meredosia, Adam Musgrave and Nolan Daniel of Pittsfield, Kevin Howell of New Berlin, Even Houser and Triston Gleason of Pleasant Plains, Owen Quigley of Beardstown, and Geno Daniels of Springfield Lutheran. Roberts won’t be able to play due to a knee injury.

Seth McCoy of Auburn is the coach of the south squad. His roster includes two of his players, Nathan Barth and Jackson Kern; Thad Bergschneider of South County; Will Merwin, Joe Whalen, Nolan Killion and Michael Wilson of Routt Catholic High School; Zaidyn Jeffries of Jacksonville High School; Jaydon Howard and Tyson Brown of West Central; Reese Scott of North Greene; Chase Ralston of Calhoun; and Kaiden Breckon of Carrollton. The players were all voted onto the squad by the coaches. Howard will not play due to a leg injury.

The JHS cheerleading squad will cheer for the south, and the Porta/AC Central squad will cheer for the north.

There are plans to recognize five people before the game. They are Bob Byers, retiring official Barry Wright, and ‘friends of basketball’ Kent Coultas, Darin Seymour and George Haycraft.

Tickets are being sold now by participating schools. They are also available at County Market in Jacksonville and at WLDS-WEAI. They are $7 this year.

Proceeds from the game will go the Morgan County MADD chapter, Camp Courage and the New Directions Heating and Cooling Center.

Central Park Market announces 2023 season market dates:
The Central Park Market committee is proud to announce the return of the Central Park Market event along with the 2023 season dates. The kick-off of the market season will take place on May 4 from 4-8 p.m. in downtown Jacksonville.

This event will continue to feature a variety of local and regional vendors selling unique, handmade goods including jewelry, artwork, clothing, pottery, florals, tasty treats and more! Visitors will also have the opportunity to pop into brick-and-mortar shops in between strolling for shopping and the opportunity to sample local flavors from restaurants, food trucks and participating vendors.

In addition to shopping and eating, the Central Park Market event will also include musical entertainment that is sure to entertain people all of ages.

The Central Park Market organizers are committed to continuing this vibrant event that supports makers and local businesses alike.

The full season of Central Park Market dates include May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7 and Oct. 5; each market runs from 4-8 p.m.

For more information about the Central Park Market events or to become a vendor, please contact

Home Girls owner Julie Rowe at 217-473-7287 or One Knotty Maker owner Jess Lynn at 805-415-6067.

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