Gifford celebration another sign of weathering the storm
GIFFORD — It's tough to keep a good town down.
Every year toward the end of June, the village of Gifford holds its community celebration. This year, the town has even more to celebrate, showing it can survive and thrive through some tough times.
For those who have been out of touch since last summer, Gifford suffered through a destructive tornado in November, but is on its way back.
One sign of that return to normalcy is the Gifford Community Celebration, which will go on as scheduled Saturday.
Kelly Carter, celebration coordinator, said she has been more than heartened by the response.
"By far, we have gotten more sponsors than ever in the past," Carter said.
"It's hard to go to businesses and say, 'I know you've lost everything, but can we have some money?'"
Carter said every person who has been approached has given "overwhelming support."
"No one hesitated," she said. "I would never have guessed that in a million years, especially when a lot of them who lost their businesses lost their homes as well."
Those visiting Gifford Saturday might sense a renewed attitude of celebration.
Said Carter: "We've been asked so many times, 'Are you going to have it this year?' So we think this, more than any other year, we should have it."
The celebration is a day-long event, running from 7 a.m. to midnight.
Events will be held either at Werner Roessler Park on Gifford's south side or behind Gifford State Bank, the main sponsor of the celebration.
Saturday in the park
The Gifford Community Celebration kicks off with a 7 a.m. 5K run/walk. The Werner Roessler Park lineup also includes these free events:
1K kids run, 8:30 a.m.
Tornado Classic baseball tournament, 9 a.m.
The parade running south down Main Street an ending at the park, 11 a.m.
Music, inflatables petting zoo and games, noon to 6 p.m.
Food and drink vendors, noon to 10 p.m.
Kiddie tractor pull, 12:30 p.m.
Royal versus Gifford-Flatville at the E.I. park, 1 p.m.
Minute to Win It competition, 2 p.m.
Strong man show, 3 p.m.
Watermelon-eating contest, 4 p.m.
Cricket-spitting contest, 5 p.m.
Marvin Lee Band, 6 p.m.
Showing of the movie "We Bought a Zoo," after the fireworks.
Dave Hinton is editor of the Rantoul Press, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit rantoulpress.com.