Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Events

Holiday Events in Shelby County by Jenny Biggs


Happy Holidays Everyone!  I have been noticing that there are many holiday events taking place in the communities of Shelby County.  Thanks to the “” website and their Event Calendar page, I have found information on the many places that people can visit to get into the holiday spirit.  

Some of the events listed include photo opts with Santa, Breakfast with Santa, Festival of Lights, a ginger bread house contest, numerous bazaars with homemade goodies, open houses at local businesses, live nativity scenes, concerts and cantatas, toy and tool auctions, parades, parties, free movies, and Christmas Eve Candlelight services. 
So take your pick and delve into the many possibilities!

As for me, one of the things I enjoy is hearing groups play hand bells.  I was rewarded by the sweet sounds at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church hand bells concert in Shelbyville.  The performers did a great job, and the crowd was pleased with the show!

Be sure to check out: or
                                                     for upcoming events, and have a great holiday season!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Festival of Lights Work in Progress

Mr. Bill Bly and his crew continually make the Festival of Lights a great Event


Many of you know about the Festival of Lights in Shelbyville at Forest Park.  However, you may not understand all of the work that goes into making this event run successfully.  Mr. Bill Bly and his crew of dedicated volunteers have been working diligently to provide this Winter Wonderland for Shelby County.

The following pictures will give you an idea of what these individuals have been doing to make this event possible.  Some of the responsibilities include checking each individual bulb and replacing them as needed, painting the light fixtures, and once dried, carefully placing them in their viewing locations, attaching yellow ribbons to supporting wires to warn passersby’s of their presence, making sure all cords and plugs are working each night of the display, contacting sponsors for support of this event, displaying sponsor signs in appreciation of donations, recruitment of volunteers to do various tasks, making arrangements for the annual soup supper to raise funds for the festival of lights, getting the word out about this great event, and many other tasks, including the taking down and arranging of items back in storage once the event is over.

This team is made up completely of volunteers, and it is to them we give our gratitude in doing their part in making Shelby County a better place to live! 

This truly is a community project that could not be done without the support of all of the sponsors, organizations, volunteers, and the city playing their roles in this festive event!

A big thanks to Mr. Bill Bly and his crew for all that you do! 

If you would like to help out with this event in any way, feel free to contact Mr. Bly at 217-259-2361. 

Mr. Bill Bly, graciously teaching me about the intricacies of the Festival of the Lights.

Just a fraction of the lights that are now displayed outside. (And notice how nicely arranged the fixtures are stored. I was impressed by the organization of this shop!)

Ms. Gail Depew diligently adding color to the fixtures.

Bulbs ready to be used for the opening night if needed.

Mrs. Norma Anderson and Mr. Bob Thomas making sure replacement bulbs are in working condition.

Mr. Ken Ward, Mr. Thomas, and Mrs.  Anderson replacing bulbs.

Mr. Thomas, Mr. Dakoda, and Mr. Bly making sure each bulb is lit while Mr. Ward and Mrs.  Anderson insert bulbs on another fixture.

Mr. Ward and Mr. Dakoda putting together the light fixtures.

Mr. Thomas and Mr. Ward attaching the supporting posts so the fixtures can stand firm in Illinois winds.

While many of the fixtures are now up, there is still much to be done!

Don’t forget, opening night is on November 20th! 

There will be a soup supper at the Senior Center in Forest Park with plenty of food offered at only $5 per person (children 12 and under are free).  Proceeds go towards maintaining the light displays.

 We appreciate your support!
Thanks again to all of those involved with the Festival of Lights!  You make this wonderful winter event possible!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween Ball at the Chautauqua

Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets:          2015 Halloween Ball at the Chautauqua!

Halloween night brought with it great fun provided by Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets inside the beautiful Chautauqua building in Forest Park!  Members of the band interacted with the crowd, and after all of these years of performing, they can still kick their legs at impressive heights!

The dance floor was occupied by happy feet during each song, and costumes kept the night decorated with all sorts of creatures feeling the beat of the music.  Thanks to everyone who joined us for this awesome night! 

Stay tuned for more exciting events that will help support the Chautauqua building!

 Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets performing in the Chautauqua

Attendees dancing the night away to some great tunes

Great costumes for the Halloween Ball

 More great costumes

Fun to be had by all, including Shelbyville’s Mayor, Jeff Johnson


A Big Thanks to all of the volunteers that made this event possible!

Friday, October 9, 2015

AmeriCorps Member helping Shelby County Partners

Hello Everyone,

My name is Jenny Biggs, and I am a Western Illinois University Peace Corps Fellows/AmeriCorps member in Shelby County with the group Shelby County Partners.  I am serving in the communities of Findlay, Shelbyville, Strasburg, and Windsor on various projects, and when I am not out and about in one of these communities, you can find me in my office at the Shelby County Tourism building in Shelbyville. 

The first project we worked on was collecting baseball gloves and baseballs for troops overseas in remembrance of 9/11.  AmeriCorps teamed up with the organization Gloves 4 Troops and various communities in collecting and shipping gloves and baseballs overseas to our armed forces.  Our participating communities had two collection sites where collection boxes were left out from September 11th through September 30th. 

A big THANKS to all of the places that allowed us to leave boxes out for donations.  These include:  Findlay Village Hall, Tailwinds Steakhouse in Findlay, Shelby County Tourism in Shelbyville, Shelbyville Public Library, Shelby County State Bank in Strasburg, Strasburg Shortstop, E-K Petro Mart in Windsor, and Shelby County State Bank in Windsor.  Thanks again to the communities of Findlay, Shelbyville, Strasburg, and Windsor for your cooperation in the Gloves 4 Troops project!  For more information about how you can help out with Gloves 4 Troops, check out their website at

Also, a big thanks to those who distributed the boxes in Shelby County!

Jenny Biggs, David Johnson, David Young, Gary Kull, Maria Shafer, Marcia Johnson, and Freddie Fry

 For information about the communities listed above, please visit the following websites:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2015 Photo Contest

The Shelby County/Lake Shelbyville Digital Photography Contest has begun!

The Shelby County Office of Tourism in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Lake Shelbyville are sponsoring a digital photography contest that began on May 4th, 2015 and entries will end on July 31, 2015.  Photos can be placed on a CD and mailed to SCOT, 315 E. Main, Shelbyville, IL 62565 or digitally to

Online voting will then take place from August 11th-24th.  Voting is allowed once per day in each of the four categories per IP address.  The categories are Parks and Recreation, Scenic, Wildlife (NO Human interaction), and Faces at Places.  The winners will then be announced on August 25th.

All photos must have been taken at Lake Shelbyville or Shelby County.  Digital photos must be 5 megapixels or above.  The contest is open to everyone except SCOT & U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees.  Each individual photographer may enter up to two photographs in each category.  An entry form must accompany each digital photograph.  SCOT reserves the right to refuse entries (ex:  poor resolution, questionable content).  All entries will become the property of the Shelby County Office of Tourism. 

Last year's Grand Prize winner was titled "Breathe".

Use your summer to enjoy the great outdoors, bring your camera and take pictures along the way to enter our photo contest and maybe you will win!