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Holiday cheer to spread? Let Jim Rossow know at 217-351-5231 or via email at

— I’m happy to report the friendly folks from the Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club will again have quality Christmas trees for sale beginning Nov. 30.

The tent near the intersection of Mattis and Springfield avenues in Champaign was hopping last year, the club selling out its allotment of 400 trees in two weeks.

Proceeds go to a variety of youth programs, club President Marcus Johnson said. Better yet: Some of the kids who benefit from the sale — like Unit 4 archers — show up each year to help unload trees.

— The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana’s popular Festival of Trees opens Friday with a bit of a twist. Replacing the Daddy Daughter Dance is the Family Winter Ball, a “more inclusive” event, President Denise Poindexter said.

The public can check out the holiday displays starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday at Champaign’s Hilton Garden Inn.

The club’s second Community Impact Awards Gala takes place Saturday night. The list of winners:

Carrie Anderson

Paul and Wanpen Anderson

Bethany Britton

Rob Dalhaus III

Laura Gerhold

Rebecca Ginsburg

Donna Jones

Melissa Keeble

Stacey McKeever

John Mullin

Evelyn Reynolds

Rebecca Ries

Bobby Walker

Darius White

Amy Williams

KOOP Adventure Play

Girls Go For It

Keller Williams Realty, The Real Estate Center of Illinois

Visit Champaign County

New American Welcome Center at the University YMCA

— In the last 40 years, the sweet-sounding Coles County Barbershop Chorus has raised more than $200,000 for area food pantries through its free-of-charge Christmas Benefit Concert.

This year’s gigs are Dec. 1 at Wesley United Methodist Church in Charleston (3 p.m.) and at the First Presbyterian Church in Mattoon at 7. Call Tom Woodall at 217-549-6671 for information.