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Entertainment Guide

LEGO FIRST Robotics Program

Civic Center Ice Rink Day Camps at the DISC Bizou The Decatur area’s handiest Events Calendar


Dec 2011


is a FREE, monthly entertainment guide featuring the handiest events calendar for the Decatur, IL area. THRIVE IS ALSO

... a state of Being. To THRIVE is to Flourish. It’s Prosperity. It’s Success. It’s Positivity at all cost. It’s finding the Fun in all you do. It isn’t always easy, but to persevere against those who would have you believe “there’s nothing to do here” is to THRIVE. THRIVE is a publication of Showcard Studio PO Box 6195 • Decatur, IL 62524 • 217.791.5653 Publisher: Katrina Smalley Managing Editor: Jennifer Hendricks The Eventor: Stephanie Zimmerman Senior Writer: Joli Hohenstein Contributors: T. F. Dude Todd Hauser Troy Hayes Robin Walters Photographers: Sarah Jane Travis Lickey Alida Duff Sullivan Layout Design: Showcard Studio Printing: Wood Printing Special thanks to the Macon Resources CAPS Program (Community Awareness, Possibilities & Supports) for all your help with THRIVE deliveries! Disclaimer: The contents of this magazine are covered by copyright. Reproduction in-part or in-full is forbidden, without the express permission of the publisher. It is not our intention to print any matter that discriminates on the grounds of race, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. Every effort has been made to present all information accurately, however no liability is accepted for any inclusions or omissions from the publication.

02 | december 2011

ADM • Aloha • America’s Best Value Inn • An Affair to Remember • Applebee’s • Architectural Expressions • Area One Realtors • Aspen Dental • Attitudes Salon • AVON Theater • Baker Law Office • Baymont Inn & Suites • Beautiful Beginnings • Bliss Salon • Blue Connection • Blue Eggs & Ham • Blue Mound Village Hall • Bourbon Barrel • Brinkoetter & Associates • C&K Custom Signs • Carlos O’Kelly’s • Cartridge World • Casey’s General Store - Maroa • Casey’s General Store - West Mound • Caterpillar • Cedar Lake Gardens and Gifts • Central Illinois Hand Center • Children’s Museum • Central Illinois Title Company • Citizens Barnes Building • Clayton Sales • Coffee Connection • Cohn Furniture • Collect Them • Comfort Inn • Coney McKane’s • Coney’s Cookies • Connected Pairs & Herington Counseling • Corona’s • Country Inn & Suites • Coziahr Harley Davidson • Curly’s Bar • Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy • Days Inn • Debbie’s Diner • Decatur Animal Clinic • Decatur Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau • Decatur Athletic Club • Decatur Back & Neck Center • Decatur Beach House • Decatur Civic Center • Decatur Conference Center • Decatur Dental Care • Decatur Jewelry & Pawn I & II • Decatur Memorial Hospital • Decatur Mutual Insurance • Decatur Professional Plaza • Decatur Public Library • Decatur Surf Club • DECU - North • Del’s Express • Diane’s Mane Strategy • Different by Design • DMH Express Care Fairview • Doherty’s Pub & Pins • Donnies Homespun Pizza • Downtown Cafe • Dragon Buffet • Dynagraphics/FastImpressions • Earthen Pottery • Embroidered Expressions • Endless Summer Tanning • Exsalonce Studio & Day Spa • Famous Liquors • Filippo’s Pizza • First Wok • Fox & Hounds • Freedom Gas - Maroa • Fringe Salon • Fuji • G-B’s CD’s • Garcia’s Pizza • George’s Skate Center • Gerber State Bank - Argenta • Gerber State Bank - Oreana • Giggles • Golden Glaze Donuts • Good Naber Specialty Foods • Goodfellas • Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce • Greater Decatur Y • Guadalajara • Gyro King • Haines & Essick Co. • Hawthorne Suites by Wyndham • Holiday Inn Express • Homeward Bound Pet Shelter • Humane Society of Decatur and Macon Co. • IHOP • It’s a Girl Thing • It’s Just a Little Prick Tattoo Co. • Jan’s East End Grill • Jimmy Ryan’s • JJ’s Uptown Resale Botique • JJ’s Uptown Resale Boutique • Katz on Merchant • KC Hall • Krekels - Mt. Zion • Krekels - Oakland • Krekels North • Kroger • La Gondola • La Petite Salon • Lana’s Cakewalk • Land of Lincoln CU - Mound • Land of Lincoln CU - Oakland • Leo H. Berger Insurance • Linda’s Music • Lock Stock & Barrel • Love at First Sight • Lyle Campbell & Sons Realty • Macon County Farm Bureau • Macon Resources Main Building • Madden Arts Center • Main Hangar • Main Street Cafe - Maroa • Mari Mann Herbs Co. • Mary Belle’s • Maustell’s Pizza • McGorray’s Golf & Grille • Melanie Schelling - State Farm • Merle Norman • Merry Maids • Mi Pueblito • Miles Chevrolet • Millenium Tan • Millie & Bo’s Barkery • Millikin University/Kirkland • Monical’s • Mt. Zion Chamber of Commerce • Mt. Zion Convention Center • Mt. Zion Library • Mt. Zion Village Hall • My Shipping Place • Mystic Tan • Neil Tire & Auto Service • Neuhoff Media • Nissan • Nola’s Hair Salon • Northgate Pet Clinic • Nova Framing / Gallery 510 • Novel Ideas • Old Book Barn • One Main Place • Oreana Public Library • Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialists of Central IL • P&G Quickstop - Blue Mound • Paco’s Sol Bistro • Party Warehouse • Pastabilities • Perkins • Personal Medical Supply • Petals • Pho Golden Noodle Bowl • Pizza Hut • Pla-Mor Lanes • Play it Again Sports • Pop’s Place • Porter’s on Merchant • Priceless Smiles/ Styles & Smiles • Pride Coin Laundry • Pride Coin Laundry • Ralph’s West End Market • Ramada Limited • Ray Eldridge Jewelry • Regions Bank • Rendezvous Bar & Grill • Renew Total Wellness • Richland - Fairview Plaza • Richland Community College • Robbies Outlet • Rock Springs Nature Center • Roots Salon • RUSH Wireless • Russ Proesel DDS • Salon 402 • Salon Zen • Shear Learning • Shop on Main • Signature Salon • Sleep Inn • Sloan’s Calzones • Smith Tire Co. • Solar Tan • Sound Check Music Center • Soy Capital • Spa Villa • Spare Time Lanes • Speed Lube • Speed Lube Total Care • Star Silkscreen • Studio 7 Salon & Day Spa • Subway, West End • Sun & Fun • Swartz Properties • Tasty’s Chicago Grille - West Eldo • Texas Roadhouse • The Decanter • The Decatur Club • The Fox’s Den • The Newsstand • The Secret Garden • The Teacher’s Lounge • The Wharf • The Winery • Timbuktu • Tournesol • Triple Dog Dare Ya • Tropix Salon and Spa • Unique Boutique • University Dogs • Up N’ Runnin’ • Veolia Environmental Services • Village of Mt. Zion • Wabash Crossing Antiques • Whitestar Home Healthcare Services • Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Cafe • Yoga Hound • Zips Florist by the Gates


in this issue

10 18 28 35

14 on the cover Dr. Bob Carney gets serious when it comes to LEGO® and this drawbridge scene plays out in his LEGO® recreation of Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England. cover photo: Travis Lickey




November: Out and About


SPOTLIGHT: Civic Center Ice Skating


The Food Dude: Bizou


The Locker Room: Winter Break Day Camps



December Events Calendar

20 Visual Guide to Cookie Exchanges 28 20

LEGO® FIRST Robotics Program FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) gears up for the “Bowled Over” Competition. FIRST photos: Sarah Jane

Three Ways to Avoid a Holiday Party


Spot the Difference: Wildflour


issue #31 | december 2011 |


is created and printed locally, in Decatur, IL.


Do You? Hand THRIVE to a friend or put it out in your bin!

THRIVE is printed using10% Post Consumer Waste, SFI, FSC, Green-eCertified papers.

december 2011 | 03

134 Merchant St. Downtown Decatur



I can’t believe that December is upon us. Yes, Christmas is coming and there are only so many shopping days left until the big day. But to me, the most fun thing during the holiday season is watching Christmas movies with my family. I dedicate this letter to some of my favorite quotes. See if you can name the movie! 1. “Ooooh fuuudge!” M-Sa: 10am-5pm

2. “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?” 3. “I don’t want to sleep with Fuller. You know about him, he wets the bed. He’ll pee all over me, I know it.” 4. “If you utter so much as one syllable, I’LL HUNT YOU DOWN AND GUT YOU LIKE A FISH! If you’d like to fax me, press the star key.” Be sure to check this month’s Locker Room for exciting ways to help the kiddies stay entertained over Christmas break. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Answers: 1. A Christmas Story 2. Christmas Vacation 3. Home Alone 4. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

04 | december 2011

Out & About

A look back at last month’s happenings

Star Gazers

What's better than a picturesque panoramic view atop an 80 foot tall mound? That same view with hot chocolate and cookies! On November 4th, with great star gazing weather, Macon County Conservation District's Jeff Tish guided visitors through the telescope tour of the Andromeda Galaxy, Pegaus, and the Big

Dipper. The new observation deck on top of this glacial kame "mound" northwest of Blue Mound was the perfect place to gaze up into the great beyond. Plus, did we mention the hot chocolate and cookies?

Griswald Conservation Photos: Sarah Jane

december 2011 | 05

Out & About

A look back at last month’s happenings Open Mic Night Photos: Tom Johnson

Open Mic at Donnie's

Donnie's Homespun Pizza has become quite the live music scene and the Wednesday Open Mic Nights have been a huge hit. Here are some regulars that jam on the scene: Noah Williams (left), Chris Bradley, Jen Hood & Neill Dresen (below).

Trials &

Tribulations Kevin Bry, an attorney and professional actor stepped into the shoes of Clarence Darrow in his performance of Trials and Tribulations at Wildflour Cafe. Darrow is widely regarded as America's greatest trial attourney and Bry's portrayal gave the audience a look at the man behind the essays, lectures and trials.

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Trials & Tribulations Photo: Katrina Smalley

Gallery Walk It was a big day for the First Friday Gallery Walk with Millikin University's BC Studios program debut. Spotlight artist, Alexa Snyder (right), painted on site and discussed her work while in the lower level of the Blue Connection, gallery walkers perused the student businesses which included Alexa's "Ewe-sed" shop, stencil art, bows and more. Studio 7 housed the Richland faculty show (below) and the Anne Lloyd Gallery featured the Art of Ray George (bottom).

Gallery Walk photos: Katrina Smalley

december 2011 | 07



by Joli Hohenstein

Blades of Fun and Glory

You haven’t seen the first snowflakes yet, but there’s already ice in Decatur. The Civic Center’s rink froze up October 7th, and they’ll be skating circles around everyone right on through winter. Last year, nearly 11,000 hit the ice in weekend sessions alone, and “so far this year we’re up,” says Tyler Smith of the Civic Center’s Marketing Department. He credits social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, plus integrating other marketing tactics for the early spike in attendance. That, and who’s not looking for clean fun on ice? “It’s a good, safe atmosphere for kids, plus great for families and couples,” says Tyler. “On the weekends we have pretzels and pizza, and lots of people have parties and bring their own food and listen to great music.” (A 12 person party runs just $125; private ice is $165 an hour.) While the rink is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the weekend sessions clearly are the hot spot, with one January weekend drawing a whopping 655 skaters over winter break 2011. An additional Saturday session this year promises to up the ante. Also back by popular demand is another popular attraction: skating with an edge on New Year’s Eve. The special extended feature typically draws nearly 600 people in just one session of ice, fun and auld lang syne. Other special sessions include School’s Out Skate Dates, which are great ways to kick the cabin fever cold weather brings. Choose from December 22, 23,

26, 27, 29, 30; January 2, 3 and 15; and February 20. First session runs 11a-1p; second from 1:30-3:30p. Beyond a time for everyone, the rink offers a lesson for everyone too. Beginner and advanced lessons run every Thursday except holidays with beginners from 3:30-4:30p and advanced from 4:30-5:30p. In addition, contact the Decatur Family YMCA for Wednesday lessons. A six lesson punch card is $65. “Come out even if you don’t know how to skate,” says Tyler. “It’s just a great time for everyone—take lessons, hang out, and of course skate.” Good Student Discount An added incentive for parents and students alike, the Aquafina Good Student Program awards up to two free ice skating passes for A’s on report cards. Elementary through high school students can trade their good grades for good fun. Passes are good for one year, and the program runs from October 2011-October 2012.

Get There Decatur Civic Center Ice Rink Hours Wednesday 4-6p Friday 4-6p, 7:30-9:30p Saturday 3:30-5:30p, 7:30-9:30p Sunday 1-3p Admission $6, skate rental $2 422-7300 |

Joli Hohenstein is a senior contributor to THRIVE. She is an award-winning freelance writer, marketer, and editor and her favorite figure skating move is the Triple Salchow to the tune of Blaze of Glory. Get more Joli at 08 | december 2011

d n a l a t S an aries





december 2011 | 09



by T. F. DUDE

The Bizou Experience Bizou never disappoints. Eclectic fusion menu; edgy, artsy atmosphere; company that won’t quit. Wait, that last part doesn’t count; I brought my own.

calls darn good eatin’. Put it next to a beautifully presented sesame crusted tuna seared rare, and that’s one happy man.

In any case, on a recent Saturday night my peeps and I decided to class up our lives a bit (and send our tastebuds into wild bliss) with the Bizou experience. Starting with the classic lobster bisque (made with slipper lobster and dry sherry) and bruschetta plate, things got even better from there.

On either side of us, the meeker diners among us were no less enamored of their fare. AC chose the famous chicken breast stuffed with spinach, Portobello and goat cheese in a red pepper sauce and may use her wily ways to make Ray her personal chef. Her one tweaky note: what she described as a maple note in the sweet potato risotto.

For full disclosure, our party included two guys and two chicks, among us two adventurous sets of tastebuds and two pairs of shy palates. Thus, our orders ranged from fish to chicken to raw tuna to chef’s surprise. Ah, the Chef’s Surprise, now a personal favorite, billed as “a one of a kind creation from Ray to you.” Indeed, a culinary delight that more than lived up to its hype. And strangely, nearly perfectly prepared as if he knew the diner. How does he do it? Keen culinary insights? Amazing epicurean instincts? Spies like us? Who cares! The sea bass and sautéed shrimp in a tomato gazpacho were to die for. To. die. for. Across the table, my pal Marvcus was no less euphoric over his Kimchee, which Wikipedia defines as a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with varied seasonings. But he just Photo: T. F. Dude

Meanwhile, Leo was delicately cutting through his lemon pesto swordfish steak with hotel butter, stopping only occasionally for an “arr” and air sword brandishing. Nearly as fascinating for him as the lemon pesto was the mystery of what hotel butter really is? (For the record, apparently a classic butter blended with herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper.) Excellent with meat and fish, as Boomer can attest. So ends our entrees, but just to give you an idea of the breadth of their menu, our past experiences have included choices like the salmon, steak, pork chop and sea bass—as I mentioned, leaving Bizou means leaving happy. Of course for this trip we couldn’t leave without a proper sendoff, and we did it right with a sampling of their delectable desserts: the dessert trio (cranberry crisp, truffle brownie, crème brûlée— yum!), the pecan pie (a good standby but no showstopper) and the fabulous tabletop s’mores setup. You got it, a marshmallow roast right in front of you. One mini flame, skewer sticks and of course the classic s’mores ingredients, and you’re good to go. Considering Leo didn’t burn us up, so were we. Another dinner done, another Bizou experience down. You can bet we’ll be back.

Get There: Bizou, 259 N. Main St., Decatur, 422-7000,

10 | december 2011

Agree? Disagree? Join the discussion at: The Food Dude is not a professional critic. He just really, really likes food.

december 2011 | 11



by Troy Hayes

Decatur Indoor Sports Center Winter Break Day Camps Looking for ways to keep your kids occupied during the winter school hiatus? Check out the Decatur Indoor Sports Center’s (DISC) winter break day camps.

“That works out very well we think,” Davis said. “Each kid gets some individual attention during the day and it’s enough to make sure each kid can be kept track of.”

The Decatur Park District will run seven day camps for kids aged 5 through 12 in late December with activities at the center as well as field trips included in the $37-per-day fee. The fee drops to $32 for residents.

Also starting in December is the Staley Striders Indoor Track and Field club. The focus of the club is to help students master skills within the sport in a positive atmosphere. The club will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5p beginning December 13th and the fee is $54 ($45 with resident discount). A tee shirt will be provided for regular participants.

The camps begin on the 22nd of the month with games and lunch from Garcia’s Pizza. The 23rd features a holiday party. Camps resume on the 26th with ice skating at the Decatur Civic Center and the 27th includes a movie at the Strand theatre. The 28th offers a Children’s Museum trip and the 29th will have the kids bowling. The camps wrap up on the 30th with a New Year’s party. There are two camp days in January as well, with roller skating on the 2nd and a McDonalds trip on the 3rd. Parents will need to send a sack lunch every day, except for the Garcia’s Pizza day on the 22nd and McDonalds trip on the 3rd. The camps run from 6:30a to 6p. Each day will also include games, sports, arts and crafts and other fun activities while at the DISC. “It’s really a fun time. It’s a little like recess all day,” said Jamie Davis, who runs the camps. “The kids get to do a lot of different things during the day, and most days we take a field trip so they are never bored.”

The DISC is available for members regularly from 5:30a to 10p Monday through Thursday, 5:30a to 9p Friday and Saturday and 7a to 10p on Sundays from September to May. Summer hours are 5:30a Monday through Saturday and 7a to 6p on Saturdays. The DISC is closed on Sundays during the summer.

Get There: For more information on DISC happenings, call 429-3472 or visit them online at:

The camps will have ample supervision as well, with the DISC providing one supervisor for every eight campers.

TROY HAYES is a former sportswriter at the Herald & Review and currently is a co-host of “The Aric Lee Show,” heard each weekday from 3-6p on ESPNDecatur 1050 AM “The Fan” (WDZ). Troy enjoys Breaking Away, Quicksilver and the Tour de France. 12 | december 2011

Then... Ralph and Tracy Hewitt moved to Decatur in the fall of 2006. At the time, he was a lab supervisor at ADM and she was the director at Sylvan Learning Center. “We didn’t do much of anything, I was working 60 hours a week,” says Tracy, “and you [Ralph] were working 70 hours a week.” “And that was the year of the ice storm,” says Ralph. “With all of the trees down we really had to work just to get out of the yard,” Eventually they did make it out with their infant daughter, starting with Rock Springs Park. When they took their daughter to Scovill Zoo for her first birthday, they were hooked.

Now... Ralph now works at Perten Instruments in Springfield, which specializes in automation equipment (which makes them a fit with the robots in this issue). Tracy has become a stay at home mom, so children’s activities dominate the conversation. The family enjoys going to family friendly places like The Children’s Museum and Scovill Zoo, however they still find time for the grown up stuff, including date nights. “We love everything at Beach House,” says Ralph. “And then maybe a movie at the Avon or The Strand in Mt. Zion.”

What’s Your Story? Send us an email! december 2011 | 13

THE LEGO DOCTOR words: Joli Hohenstein photos: Travis LIckey

“Last year we took the 53,000 brick model of Schloß Neuschwanstein in Bavaria and knocked everyone’s socks off.” Not everyone can say they moved a German castle to Chicago, but Dr. Bob Carney isn’t your average Joe (or Bob). The Lego builder extraordinaire and retired dermatologist specializes in scaled recreations of war castles and protection castles, and he’s gaining worldwide attention. In fact, that project made enough of an impact that would-be builders in Italy, France and Ohio have asked for his plans in an attempt to recreate his work of art as their own.

14 | december 2011

No temperamental artist, he’s happy to share the wealth. “I don’t mind at all; the thing is that most people don’t have enough gray blocks,” he explains. It seems Lego in recent years took it upon themselves to change their colors. In a move to target the robot and Bionical building crowd, the company switched their dark gray, light gray and brown hues. On the surface, a minor change, but significant when you’re trying to add 10s of thousands of inventory. “Particularly the dark gray is much bluer than the original,” says Bob. “I don’t buy castle sets anymore because all the bricks are the wrong colors. I mostly buy used and online.”

Dr. Bob Carney with his lego® recreation of Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England built for BrickWorld 2011

With more than 130 reproductions under his belt and an estimated 150,000 or more bricks in possession, how does one manage inventory? For Bob, it’s an elaborate self-designed storage system of sliders, gondolas, frames and clear bins. “I wanted everything to be the most visible, so I don’t have to open a drawer to find what I want.” Luckily, design comes second nature, as constructing small-scale castles involves more than a little math and science. “It takes a significant amount of algebra and geometry to make it happen,” says Bob. “I’m using a lot of junior high school math.” Coupled with research and planning on elevations, architecture, topography and any other detail he can

find, calling it an involved process seems the quintessential understatement. Of course, when he started, the world for him was flat. A lifelong fan of ancient and medieval times, his first builds took shape as simple walls and floors. As the years passed, “I got into more landscaping, a lot of project blocks associated with making it look real,” says Bob. “It’s fairly easy if it’s over water, but if it’s on an outcropping 200 foot tall off the edge of a valley, that’s major construction before you even start the castle.” Adding to the complexity, castles are often built to suit their location, with walls that aren’t square. Legos, of course, live and die by angles, which creates Continued on p. 16

The Lego Doctor, continued from p. 15

16 | december 2011

the inherent challenge and the huge investment of time. “The longest one has taken is 6 months; the shortest 2 hours” (a recreation of a small rectangular castle he’d built once before), Bob says. Now that he’s retired, when it’s really rolling, he can spend up to 12 hours a day if he wants to. (But truth be told he does leave time to sleep and eat and golf.) For this Lego Doctor, any time with his creations is just gravy. “There was a time I didn’t know if I’d get to 100. Now I just want to build as many as I can.” Demolishing the 53,000 block masterpiece that wowed BrickWorld (the Chicago show) as we speak, his thoughts have already turned to next year’s expo. “I’ve got about 25 designs ready; I just have to choose,” he says. For this the world is his oyster. “I’ve done more English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh

castles, mainly because they speak the same language so the books in libraries were readable,” he explains. “In the last 10 years with the Internet and information more available, I’ve branched out to places like eastern Europe.” Which makes the possibilities, and the fun, truly endless. “It’s just a great hobby for relaxation, and for engineering.” Who said engineers don’t have more fun?

Want to learn more about the Lego Doctor’s masterpieces? Check out for a full castle lineage (every castle he’s built, when and place of origin), FAQs, castle building tips and even his famed Lego storage system—a true work of art in itself!

december 2011 | 17

December Events EVERYDAY Barn Colony Art Show North Wing Gallery (Rock Springs Nature Center)

Karaoke & Water Pong Tournament $2.50 pitchers of Natty. Lock Stock & Barrel,, 10p-12a

Y Community Wide Open House Stop in for a tour, try an exercise class, shoot hoops, play racquetball, or just walk the track. Decatur YMCA (220 W McKinley), 872.3835

EVERY WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY Docta LD DJ/Karaoke Curly’s Bar & Pizza (2683 N Water), 875.9800, 9p-2a

EVERY TUESDAY Open Mic Porter's (170 N Merchant), 429.0669 Chess Club, Doherty's Pub & Pins, 6p EVERY TUESDAY - THURSDAY Staley Striders Indoor Track & Field Helps athletes aged 7-14 focus on skill mastery within a positive atmosphere. DISC, 429.3472, $45. 4-5p EVERY WEDNESDAY Mobile Soundz Karaoke AIW Hall (2882 N Dineen St), 8p DJ's Lookin Good Good Lookin Cornerstone Tavern (1190 Southside Dr), 9p-2a DJ Stevie Ray Kelton-aoke Jabroni's, 9p Open Mic Night Donnie's Homespun Pizza (126 S Oakland Ave), 9p-2a

18 | december 2011

EVERY THURSDAY Big Daddy's Frank's DJ and Karaoke Rocco's, 8p-1a DJ Stevie Ray Kelton Timbuktu (5843 E State Rt 36), 9p DJ David Lee Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland),, 10p EVERY FRIDAY & SATURDAY Wine Tastings The Decanter Fine Wines (215 N Main St), 422.9463. Fr 4-7p, Sa 1-6p EVERY FRIDAY Phridays with Phil Educating, enlightening, inspiring. Kaeuper Hall (Millikin University). 5-6p EVERY SATURDAY Super Saturday Recess (thru 12.17) Kids aged 4-11 will enjoy an active Saturday morning at the DISC with activities including an open gym with inflatables, scooters, basketball, tumbling, and more. DISC (1295 W Wood), 10a-12p

LSB Jazz Saturdays Lock Stock & Barrel, 4p Classical Guitar Live on the Patio, Donnie's Homespun Pizza. 7-9:30p Ronnie's DJ Benny's Grill, 9p Wednesday, 11.30 Art Bazaar and Celebration Juried art for sale, portfolio reviews, gallery exhibits, onstage performances, and student presentations. Mueller Student Center, Erlanson Gallery, and Board Room (Richland Community College). 10a-3p Thursday, 1 Kwanzaa Celebration Richland Community College, Shilling Salons. 11a-1p Decatur Gamers Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Cafe, 5p CD Release Party (Four) Kilborn Alley Blues Band sponsored by Decatur Blues Society. $10, Club Room (Decatur Club), 7p Slacker, Frantic, Case UR1 Electronica Rock. Donnie's Homespun Pizza, 9:30p DJ Philbilly Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p

To view even more events go to:

12.1-12.4 Gutenberg the Musical Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. 9p (ThSa), 2p (Su) Friday, 2 First Friday Gallery Walk Madden Arts Center (125 N Water), 5-7:30p

Soul Purpose Lock Stock & Barrel, 7-11p

Affordable, original art and fine crafts by over 50 artists! This shop includes jewelry, purses, woodworking, baskets, knitted wearables, paintings, photography, ceramics, glass, walking sticks, ornaments and more. Madden Arts Center (125 N Water), 423.3189. 8:30-4:30p (Mo-We, Fr), 8:30-7p (Th); 10a-4p (Sa); 12-4p (Su)

Justin Torres & Clusterpluck Donnie's Homespun Pizza, 9p Rock Kandy Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p

Gallery 510 First Friday Artist Michael Delaney is featured at Gallery 510 (160 E Main St). Light refreshments. 5:30-7:30p

12.2-12.3 MITA Grand Prix Decatur Athletic Club (1010 South Side Dr), times vary

Blue Connection Gallery Reception Blue Connection (117 N Water) joins the downtown galleries for the opening of their Christmas gift shops. Enjoy hot cider, cookies, and a huge selection of one-of-a-kind gifts, including those in the new BC Studios located in the lower level of Blue Connection. Free and open to the public. 5-7:30p

12.2-12.4 The Nutcracker A Holiday Tradition. Shilling Center (Richland Community College), 7p (Fr & Sa), 2:30p (Su) Ladies Days Coziahr H-D. Check out what's going on.

Cocoa and Cookies with Santa Wear your pajamas, bring your wish list and enjoy yummy hot cocoa and cookies with Santa! Children must be accompanied by a paying adult. $6 ($9 non-member). Prereg & Prepay reqd. Children's Museum of Illinois, 6-8p

PERFORM! Once On This Island Auditions & Callbacks Calling all actors in grades 1 – 12! Be part of a professional production featuring an all-youth cast! With a poignant story and catchy Caribbeanflavored score, this musical garnered 8 Tony nominations during its Broadway run. Call 422-5911 to schedule your audition time.

Mt Zion Chamber Christmas Party Mt Zion Lions Center (1503 W Main, Mt Zion) Cocktails 6:30p, Dinner 7p

12.2-12.29 XMAS ARTicles Our gallery transforms into a holiday shop! Unique holiday shopping!

12.2-12.30 Holiday Showcase Enjoy a Holiday Showcase at the Decatur Park District’s Schaub Floral Display Center (3415 Lost Bridge Rd.), featuring decorative greenery, poinsettias, cyclamen, amaryllis, Christmas cactus and a magnificent balsam fir Christmas tree. 9a-3p Saturday, 3 Heavenly Holidays Bazaar Cookie Walk with cookies by the pound. Also, area crafters, elf shelf, baked goods, homemade noodles, jams and jellies.  A Continental breakfast will be served 7a-10:30a.  Lunch will be from 11a-1p with chicken salad on a croissant, cheesevegetable soup, and there is always homemade pie. Mt Calvary Lutheran Church (2055 S Franklin), 7a-2p

Did you know? Listing your event with THRIVE is absolutely FREE! Send your info by the 15th to:

december 2011 | 19

December Events Race for Love 5K Run/1 mile walk 542.2898, Fletcher Park (Mt Zion). Check-In 7a, Race 8a

Christmas Keepsake Get into the holiday spirit at the DISC with Christmas Keepsake! Children aged 3-5 will Christmas ornaments, decorate cookies, and share their wish lists with the Jolly Ol' Elf himself! $7. 10-10:45a & 11-11:45a

Breakfast with Santa Give Santa your list, enjoy breakfast and make a holiday craft to take home! Children's Museum of Illinois, Mt Zion Christmas Parade $6 ($9 non-member) Pre-reg, pre-pay 10a reqd, 423.5437. 8:30a Spaghetti Dinner Christmas Craft & Bake Sale For Special Olympics, at St. John's Cookies by the pound, homemade Lutheran-Fellowship Hall. 11a baked breads and cakes, jewelry, Cookbooks, Christmas Decorations, Pictures with Santa hairbows for babies, paintings, Coziahr H-D, 11a-2p dishcloths & hotpads, wreaths and more. St. Paul's Lutheran Church (352 22nd Annual W Wood). 9a Christmas High Tea Join Joel and Mrs. Claus for this special Animal Crackers: afternoon. A full English high tea Ready for Winter will be served with over 20 items. Children ages 3-5 listen to a story, Included in this array are sweets, treats meet an animal, create a craft with and tea sandwiches of all sorts. Do the adult guests and snack on animal bring your favorite doll (& mom don't crackers! $8, 421.7435, Scovill Zoo. forget the camera). The beauty and 9:30-10:15a & 11-11:45a ambience of the afternoon will long be remembered. $22, Mari Mann Herb Gingerbread House Workshop (1405 Mari Mann Ln), 12-2p Decorate your very own Gingerbread House to take home! This is a great Christmas Gala event for the entire family! $14 ($18 & The Nutcracker non-member) Pre-reg/Pre-pay req'd; Parallel Ballet Theatre, $6, 972.5696, Children's Museum of Illinois, 10a Decatur Civic Center, 1 & 7p Preschool Peepers Did you see that flash of red? Children ages 3-5 will be intrigued by our native residents and state symbol, the cardinal. Come observe cardinal artifacts, create a feathery craft and go on a binocular hike. $1, res req'd. Rock Springs Nature Center, 10a

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Tea Time Sarah Amidon, Midwest Regional Director of Sterling Tea, will be giving a tea tasting and education presentation. Come see, smell, taste and learn about the different types of teas and how to make the perfect cup of tea! Free, RSVP 422.3000, 1-2p

Diversity Lock Stock & Barrel, 4-6p Soul Purpose Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 4-7p Mt Zion Convention Center Grand Opening 4-8p Star Party Enjoy viewing the stars and planets as we explore the night sky with our naked eyes and a telescope. Jupiter and Venus will be a sight to behold in the crisp wintry air. Taurus the Bull, The Pleiades, Cassiopeia, Little Dipper and the Andromeda Galaxy will reveal their beauty as you learn to find your way around the night sky. Rock Springs Nature Center, 6p Taste the Gold for Christmas Organo Gold gourmet beverages. Country Inn & Suites (134 E Barnett Ave, Forsyth), 6p "Aulthentic", The Nations #1 Ozzy Osbourne Tribute Opening act: Escaping Neverland. AIW Hall. Doors open at 7p, Band at 8p Pop Evil Special Guests Red Letter Merchant and 30Aut6. Bunkers (Illiopolis). $15adv, $18 day of. Doors Open 7p, Show 8p The Still Paco's Sol Bistro (237 N Main), 8p

To view even more events go to:

Rosetta Stone Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p Miller Lite Ugly Sweater Party Lock Stock & Barrel, 10p 12.3-12.4 MU Vespers $8, Kirkland Fine Arts, 3 & 7p

house. Live music ~The Pondelick Trio! Refreshments will be served!  Everyone welcome! Decatur Public Library, 11a-2p Millikin Guitar Ensemble Donnie's Homespun Pizza, 7:30p Blue Grass Jam Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), 429.7411,, 7p

Downtown Christmas Walk Blue Connection (117 N Water) and BC Studios join the downtown merchants for the Annual Downtown Christmas Walk. Enjoy live music, complimentary refreshments, and peruse gift items by Millikin students, faculty, and alumni artists. Free and open to the public. 5-8p

Gingerbread House Send your parents to the downtown Wednesday, 7 Decatur Christmas Walk and join Christmas Open House instructor Regina Rhodes for a sweet Mt Zion District Library, All Day time! Using houses constructed from ceramic kiln-fired slabs, we'll Chamber Business Breakfast "paint" with buttercream frosting and Decatur Genealogical Society The Decatur Club (158 W Prairie), 7-8a embellish with edible sugary goodies. Rummage Sale Take your creation home the same Big Book Sale, NASCAR, Rummage Book Discussion for Adults day. Grades K-6, Madden Art Center. Sale, and Irish Auction. Decatur We get the books and you read them! $20 ($25 non member). 423.3189, Genealogical Society Library (1255 W 672.3621, Barclay Public Library, 5:30-7:30p South Side Dr), 1-4p 10:30a Thursday, 8 Stress Relief Hike Music for a Season of JOY Volunteer Holiday Party A leisurely walk through the woods Vocal Ensemble Seraphim. First Join us in celebrating the holidays at can refresh the spirit and brighten Baptist Church (1320 Arbor Dr) Rock Springs Nature Center. Christmas your outlook on life. Join the naturalist Complimentary lunch, 11:15a; Concert cards with more information will and take a mental break as you enjoy 12p be mailed. Please RSVP by calling the wonders of nature. Rock Springs 423.7708. Rock Springs Nature Ctr, 12p Nature Center, 2p Books Between Bites Millikin University students will Monday, 5 present on a piece of literature of Monday Night Jazz their choosing. Madden Auditorium Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), (Decatur Public Library), 12:15p 429.7411,, 6-8p Christmas Walk Tuesday, 12.6 & Holiday Music Library Holiday Open House Visit Downtown merchants for night Join us for our annual holiday open of shopping while enjoying caroling. Downtown Decatur, Listing your event 4:30-8p with THRIVE is absolutely FREE! Send your info by the 15th to: Sunday, 4 Holy Family Christmas Bazaar We will have crafts, vendors, and a bake sale Holy Family (2400 S Franklin St), 10a-2p

Did you know?

december 2011 | 21

December Events Greek Holiday Luncheon/ Dinner & Bake Sale The à la carte menu will feature a variety of authentic Greek favorites including lamb or chicken gyros, Greek salad, spanakopita (spinach pie), pastitsio (Greek lasagna) and select Greek pastries. All items are under $10. Carry-outs and group orders welcome. Please call 429.7023 the day of the event to request a carry-out. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (570 N Union). 11a-8p

12.8-12.11 Vinyl 45 Santaland Diaries Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), Richland Theatre, Schilling Auditorium, 864.9227, 9p 7:30p (Th-Sa), 3p (Su) Saturday, 10 Friday, 9 Special Olympics Book Discussion for Adults District F Snowshoe, Johns Hill Park, 8a We get the books and you read them! 692.2274, Blue Mound Memorial 2nd Saturday Used Book Sale Library, 1:30p 2nd Floor Book Sale Room (Decatur Public Library), 9:30a-12:30p Latin Jazz Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), Dulcimer Club 429.7411,, Rock Springs Nature Center, 10a Globalization: The Theories 5:30-7:30p and Practical Realities Involved Lego Workshop in the "Flattening of the Mt Zion Swingsations Join us as we learn about the Contemporary World" Winter Concert importance of applied engineering. Presented by Dr. Richard Tomlinson Mt Zion Adam Morris from Caterpillar Inc. from Richland Community College.  will give an interactive presentation Learn about the challenges and Billy Galt about design, and each person will opportunities presented by global The weather has turned, meaning take home a finished Lego Caterpillar trade, including off-shoring and the Free Music Fridays on the patio are excavator. Space is limited, register multifaceted aspects of preparing to no more.  Don’t worry, we still have early. For grades 4-6. 864.3622, Mt compete successfully in a genuinely live music from time to time, so grab Zion District Library, 10a-12p global marketplace. Madden Auditorium friend, your spouse or just bring (Decatur Public Library), 6p yourself and enjoy live entertainment Goodie Walk hosted inside the restaurant. For the Blue Mound, 10a-1p Millikin Rock Combo latest info, visit www.jimmyryans. Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), com. Jimmy Ryan's, 6:30-8:30p Book Discussion for Adults 429.7411,, 8p We get the books and you read them! Save The Lincoln Concert 672.3621, Barclay Public Library, 11a Live Karaoke Band Featuring The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), Band "Heartache Tonite" and the Wintry Day Storytime 864.9227, 9p 1980's Local Band "Borderline" $12, Cozy up inside the nature center and Lincoln Square Theatre. 7p become enchanted by the story, The Great Waltz Mitten. Children, ages 3-8, are invited Donnie's Homespun Pizza LHP to bring along a favorite plush animal, (126 S Oakland Ave), 9:30p Paco's Sol Bistro (237 N Main), 8-11p share their stories and learn about real animal habitats. Cocoa and cookies 12.8-12.10 Beautiful Collision will be served. Rock Springs Nature Solstice: A Concert of Dance Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), Center, 11a $8, Albert Taylor Theatre, 7:30p 429.7411,, 9p

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To view even more events go to:

Boomercastleman Donnie's Homespun Pizza (126 S Oakland Ave), 1-2p

Essie Lee Travis 17th Annual Scholarship Tea The Tea is free however donations will be accepted at the door to help Benefit for Melissa Broce continue our scholarship giving. 50/50 Raffle and Chili Dinner. Bands: 422.2698 or 422.9047. Antioch Witness it All, Grim, Prairieland Rebels, Missionary Baptist Church (530 W Soy City Stranglers & more. AIW Hall, 3p Mound Rd), 4-6p

Sunday, 11 Chamber Orchestra Advent The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra chamber orchestra joins the musicians of Central Christian Church in services of the season. A Decatur Christmas tradition. Central Christian Church, 8:15a & 10:45a

Decatur Big Band Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), 429.7411,, 4-6p

Benefit for John Sauter Prairieland Abate (1901 N Railroad Ave), 7p-12a

Bluegrass Music Jams Rock Springs Nature Center, 1-4p

Smoothtimes Band Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 4p

Band That Never Was Featuring Jeff Kunzeman, Steve Spent, Donnie Holeman, Greg Bickers and Ralf Pansch. Moose Lodge, 7-10:30p

Pajama Party with Santa Santa is coming to Scovill Zoo! Kids aged 3-10 bring their favorite pillow, wear PJ's, and visit with Santa while making an ornament, enjoying snacks, and seeing how the animals prepare for winter. 421.7435. 1-3p & 5-7p 4th Annual Twas the Night Before Christmas Concert Santa will narrate the show with approximately 400 dancers from The Dance Centre. $7, Masonic Temple, 5 & 7p

Rachel West Kramer's Christmas Concert $12. Lincoln Square Theatre (145 N Main), 7-9p Tacky Christmas Sweater Party The KC Hall, Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, 7p-12a Escaping Neverland Pop's Place, 9p-1a

Your Villain My Hero Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), GLAD Social and Potluck Dinner 864.9227, 9:30p Gather for conversation, dinner, and program activity. GLAD socials are held 12.10-12.11 in a safe, accepting environment for all Celebrate Christmas people. For more info, GLADDecatur. Combines the familiar songs and com. Gather at 6:30p, dinner at 7p Scriptures with imaginative artistic representations of the birth of Christ. Free. 877.5653 Tabernacle Baptist Church (650 N Wyckles Rd), 2 & 7p (Sa), 7p (Su)

Christmas Tea Enjoy the elegantly decorated Governor Oglesby Mansion (421 W William) for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration. 1-4p The Christmas Tea at the Millikin Homestead Open house with tea, spiced cider and cookies. The house is decorated for Christmas and a Christmas boutique for you to browse and purchase. We welcome you and wish you Happy Holidays! Millikin Homestead (125 N Pine), 1-4p Holiday Concerts Kimler Gym (Argenta-Oreana), Middle School Students 2p, High School Students 4p

Did you know? Listing your event with THRIVE is absolutely FREE! Send your info by the 15th to:

december 2011 | 23

December Events Hiking the English Lake Country Bruce Nims, Julie Pajer and Mark Sorensen will show photos and describe the 100-mile cross country hike last summer by six Decaturites in Northern England. Visited by both the Romans and the Vikings, home to poet William Wordsworth, starting at the Irish Sea they traversed  half of the famous “Coast to Coast” hiking trail. Their excursion to and around the Isle of Man will also be discussed. Madden Auditorium (Decatur Public Library), 2p December Jam/Open Mic Decatur Blues Society Event. Bourbon Barrel, 3p Smoothtimes Band Pop's Place, 3-6p Monday, 12 Music Holiday Concert MacArthur High School, 7:30p

Wednesday, 14 Music for a Season of JOY Keyboardists Mark Gifford & Mike Waltenberger. First Baptist Church (1320 Arbor Dr) Complimentary lunch, 11:15a; Concert 12p

Friday, 16 Family Movie Night With Santa Claus Walt Disney Christmas. Free. Mueller Student Center (Richland Community College), 6-7:30p (santa), 7p (movie).

Mt Zion Chamber Monthly Luncheon Mary Belle's, 11:30a

Free Holiday Film Series Love Actually, Avon Theatre (426 N Water), 10:30p

Thursday, 15 Story Hour Story hour is for children ages 5 and younger and their caregivers. We'll read stories, make crafts, sing songs, and more! Register by calling 468.2340 or 795.2144. Oreana Public Library, 10-11a

Frankie Ballard Pre-order tickets at LSB. Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), 429.7411,, 8p

DPL Book Club: The Elegance of the Hedgehog Decatur Public Library (130 N Franklin), 1p

12.16-12.18 Men's Days Coziahr H-D, Check out what's going on.

Dove Open House Dean Simcox Conference Center, 3-6p

Saturday, 17 Free Holiday Film Series The Grinch that Stole Christmas & Home Alone. Avon Theatre (426 N Water), 10a

Tuesday, 13 Ray Batman Retirement Dinner The Flat Cats Holiday Show Knights of Columbus Hall (520 E Chicago's Hottest swing band live on North), 428.6616. $40. 6:30p the Avon's stage, 6:30p D' Brew Crew Decatur area home-brewers meeting. Are you a home brewer, or interested in starting? Come check us out, and bring your home-brew with you. Call or email for location each month. 309.824.8573, dbrewcrew@, 7p

24 | december 2011

Free Holiday Film Series A Christmas Story, Avon Theatre (426 N Water), following The Flat Cats DJ Philbilly Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p

Brushfire Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p

Odd Fellows Frosty 5K Entrants will receive a hot meal consisting of Italian Beef, chili, chips, salad, beer, pop, water. Only 70 entries accepted, register by 12.10. $10, Odd Fellow Lodge (400 W Main, Mt Zion). 11a

To view even more events go to:

Family Fun-Applesauce Ornaments Listen to the nature story, A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree, and then make a scent-sational holiday ornament to take home. $1/ornament. Rocks Springs Nature Center, 1:30p Jim Walker & Friends Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), 429.7411,, 4-6p The STILL Featuring new vocalist Katie Tippit, Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227. 4-7p Holiday Jazz $10-16, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 7:30p Kilborn Alley Pop's Place, 8p-12a 808 Band Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p Autumn Zero AIW Hall, 9p Shay Lock Stock & Barrel (129 S Oakland), 429.7411,, 9p-12a Mondope Dubstep Donnie's Homespun Pizza (126 S Oakland Ave), 10p

Sunday, 18 Sports Card & Collectibles Show For Info, 619.4654. Decatur Conference Center & Hotel, 9a Life Signs Hike The winter woods are full of signs of life. Use your investigative senses to find tracks, homes, and animal markings. Rock Springs Nature Center, 2p Tuesday, 20 Decatur Park Singers Auditions Poage Arts and Recreation Center (2020 N Oakland), to set up audition call 421.6648. Instrumentalist 12-2p, Vocal 2-4p Wednesday, 21 Homeless Persons Memorial March From Oasis Center to Central Park, 4:30-6p

12.22-12.30 Winter Break Day Camp Why spend the day at home when you can play games and take great field trips? Kids aged 5-12 will love the Winter Break Day Camp at the DISC! 429.3472. 6:30a-6p Friday, 23 Billy Galt The weather has turned, meaning Free Music Fridays on the patio are no more. Don’t worry, we still have live music from time to time, so grab friend, your spouse or just bring yourself and enjoy live entertainment hosted inside the restaurant. For the latest info, visit www.jimmyryans. com. Jimmy Ryan's, 6:30-8:30p DJ Philbilly Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p Torres Loop Project Donnie's Homespun Pizza (126 S Oakland Ave), 10p

Decatur Gamers The Decatur Club, 5p Thursday, 22 Free Holiday Film Series A Charlie Brown Christmas & Christmas Vacation, Avon Theatre (426 N Water). 7p Neverland Acoustic Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 8p

Did you know? Listing your event with THRIVE is absolutely FREE! Send your info by the 15th to:

december 2011 | 25

December Events Saturday, 24 Forget Shopping Hike Trying to catch your breath during this busy holiday season? Get your family out of the house and enjoy a brisk hike through the winter woods with a naturalist. Rock Springs Nature Center, 2p Sunday, 25 Matt Carter Band Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p 12.26-12.28 Winter Break Softball Camp This 3–day camp will help players ages 8–17 enhance their softball skills! $45, DISC (1295 W Wood), 1-4p 12.26-12.29 Baseball Camp This challenging 4–day camp will help players ages 8–16 enhance their baseball skills! $65, DISC (1295 W Wood), 8-10a Tuesday, 27 Nonfiction Book Club: Unbroken Board Rm (Decatur Public Library), 1p Decatur Gamers Godfather's Pizza, 5p Wednesday, 28 Open Mic Night "Home For The Holiday's Edition" Donnie's Homespun Pizza with host Tom Johnson, 9p-1:30a

12.28-12.29 Pajama Party What do the animals do in the winter? Furry adventures will be had as we learn about what animals do during the cold months. Join in the fun by wearing pajamas which keep us warm like animals’ warm fur. $10, reservations required. 9a (We, ages 1-4 w/adult); 1p (Th, ages 3-4 w/ adult). Rock Springs Nature Center. Thursday, 29 LHP Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 8p Friday, 30 Blues Expression Paco's Sol Bistro (237 N Main), 9-1a Soul Creek Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p

YMCA 2 Miles to Miles The 5K Run and 2K Walk begin at the Decatur YMCA. They wind through the neighborhood and past DMH and then it’s on to Miles Nissan to the turn-around. The race begins promptly at 2p. Kidd Kadillac Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 5p Smoothtimes Band Trio Make your New Year’s Eve reservations early! A romantic atmosphere that can’t be matched, celebrate the New Year at Jimmy Ryan’s.  Call 422.4700 to reserve your table. 6:30-9:30p New Year's Eve Celebration Soul Purpose. Decatur Conference Center, 8:30p-12:30a New Year's Eve Pops Concert Central Christian Church, 8:30p

Saturday, 31 Happy Noon Year! Celebrate the New Year with a fun craft and a shower of confetti! Children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. $1 ($6 non-member). Children's Museum of Illinois, 10a-2p Armchair Birding Join the naturalist at the Window on Wildlife and learn how our feathered residents make it through the winter. Binoculars will be available to identify birds we see. Rock Springs Nature Center, 2p

Inside Out Pop's Place, 9p-1a Riverbottom Nightmare Band Sliderz (5995 E State Route 36), 864.9227, 9p

Did you know?

Listing your event with THRIVE is absolutely FREE! Send your info by the 15th to:

26 | december 2011

december 2011 | 27

VISUAL GUIDE TO: HOLIDAY COOKIE EXCHANGES words: Kat Smalley | photos: Alida Duff Sullivan

Why have a holiday cookie exchange you ask? Only because it's the most efficient and social way to stock up on a great mix of cookies for work and family get-togethers! Why buy ingredients for 9 different cookies when you can crank out 9 dozen

of just one and after an evening of hanging out with friends you magically have the perfect mix of all your favorites? If you're unfamiliar with cookie exchanges, they're pretty simple. Here's a quick walk through so you can throw your own cookie exchange!

QUICK TIPS: A. Have your exchange early enough in the month to avoid holiday hustle and bustle, but not too early so the cookies are still in their prime for sharing. B. Mint cookies should be kept separate! C. Bring extra take-home containers. D. Have plenty of ziploc bags, paper plates and foil. E. Set the mood with holiday music!

28 | december 2011

1. Determine your rules and send invites. Here are some basic rules: • Invite only as many people as dozens of cookies you want to make. For example, 8 guests that each bring 8 dozen cookies means everyone gets 1 dozen of each kind to take home. • Guests must RSVP and provide the cookie recipe. This gives you a chance to avoid duplicates and you can give every guest a complete set of recipes at your party. • Only allow homemade cookies. How can you share the recipe if you buy OREOs? Plus, it's just plain cheating! Once you've got a plan, it's time to invite friends. Make your own invites like I did (above), use ecards (pingg. com,, etc.), or you can even get custom cards printed. I found that Giggles on Merchant in downtown Decatur can help you create great custom cards and print on-site with a very quick turn-around!

2. Bake your cookies. Don't forget to schedule time for your baking and decorating! While your ingredient shopping, it's also a good time to think about other snacks and refreshments. A savory bite to eat will go a long way when you are surrounded by sweets! Before guests arrive, lay out your cookies and set out enough empty serving platters for all of the cookie arrivals.

3. Exchange and pack up. The whole point is to come away with a beautiful mix of delicious cookies for your holiday get-togethers or even for gifts. As host, it's nice to provide a packing station so guests can customize. Tins work great and boxes are good too. Party Warehouse just got in a new shipment of unique holiday boxes; some with ribbon ties included.

See all of the December events for the Decatur area on pages 18-26! december 2011 | 29

Techies FIRST Local robotics organization inspires students through competition words: Robin Walters images: Sarah Jane It’s hard to imagine what goes on behind closed doors, even harder to imagine when that world involves multiple languages, gears, motors, sensors, CAD software and microprocessor technology. But thanks to a few dedicated parents and local sponsorship, this world is thriving in Decatur. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization created to inspire students to excel in science, engineering and technology. Founded in 1989, FIRST has launched (in order of skill set) the Junior FIRST Lego® League, FIRST Lego® League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Up to ten students and 2 to 3 mentors make up each team, but don’t limit membership to engineering whiz kids. Teams accept builders, programmers, copy writers, directors, artists and problem solvers age 5 to 18. “FIRST is a team effort with room for every kind of kid,” says Suzanne Broussard, founder of the Decatur area FLL initiative. “Parental involvement is key - we are looking 30 | december 2011

for mentors as much as students. A couple of parents can build a team with 4-6 kids. It’s quite fun leading and no programming knowledge is necessary, just organizational skills.” In the Decatur area, some teams are built within area schools and some by parents, like Suzanne, that have a heart to grow their child’s Lego® interest. Regardless of origin, team members work together to solve competition assignments through site visits, consulting, online tutorials and mentoring. This year’s FTC assignment is “Bowled Over”, a challenge that involves two bowling balls, scads of racquet balls, multiple crates and a 12’x12’ playing field

with ramps and boundaries. At the competition, each team is paired up with another FTC team to form an alliance during game play- all the while maintaining gracious professionalism. I sat down with the local 4-H FTC team, “Stand/try 2� (Try To Understand), to learn the ropes. Many of the participants are FLL graduates, but a few are first year novices. Thanks to Caterpillar and the 4-H Foundation, the team received their competition supplies in September.

Continued on p. 32

december 2011 | 31

Techies First, continued from p. 30

Supplies include robot building material and programming software. Game rules and regulations are available online. The mentors have sacrificed a portion of their home in honor of the team. “FIRST is learning with a purpose,” notes mentor and mother, Sue Kunzeman. “The competitions deliver a challenge, goal and recognition. We love to help.” The Kunzeman’s room is strategically set up into zones, but my attention is drawn to the full-size field replica that fuels each zone and commands the competition. The builders have created a proto-type and place it on the field to test modifications. The programmers write decisive practices for the robot to complete and install a new wireless modem. All the while, the engineering notebook lead records data that will be reviewed by judges at the competition. “FTC is a challenge. It makes you think outside of the box, but you can actually see the results of your time spent. That’s instant gratification,” notes Samuel, a graduated FLL and FTC builder. With only a few months to prepare, this team goes to work. “We find everything that can go wrong and we fix it,” notes Hannah a 13-year old, four year FLL veteran. All of this between school, athletics, socializing and family. Not only are these kids gaining career readiness, problem-solving and team building skills, but they are managing lifestyles of working adults! By regional competition, the team will be prepared. Regardless of the challenge, the budget or the timeline, this team will prevail because it isn’t always about winning, it’s about learning. To learn more about FIRST robotics program visit, or you can find the local 4-H RoboStorms on Facebook.

32 | december 2011

34 | december 2011

SPOT THE 6 DIFFERENCES For a chance to win a $50 Gift Card from

Wildflour Artisan Bakery and CafĂŠ 256 West Main Street - Decatur | 422.3300 |


2 WAYS TO WIN: 1. Find all 6 differences and earn 2 entries!

Send an email by Dec 15th to that includes your name and the 6 differences. 2. Couldn’t find all the differences? Visit THRIVE Decatur on Facebook on Dec 15th to see the passphrase. Email us the word along with your name to earn 1 entry. Winners will be drawn on Dec 16th and notified via email. One entry per email address. december 2011 | 35



$50 Gift Card from Wildflour Artisan Bakery and Café See page 35 to play


r i M o o re




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TWO WAYS TO WIN: 1. Find all 6 differences and earn 2 entries! Send an email by Dec 15th to that includes your name and the 6 differences. 2. Couldn’t find all the differences? Visit THRIVE Decatur on Facebook on Dec 15th to see the password. Email us that word along with your name to earn 1 entry. Winners will be drawn on Dec 16th and notified via email. One entry per email address.


December 2011 THRIVE Entertainment Guide  

The December 2011 issue of THRIVE Entertainment Guide

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