Carlinville Christmas Market Earns Governor’s Home Town Award

In a joint release, the Carlinville Christmas Market Foundation (CCMF) and the Carlinville Community Chamber of Commerce (CCCC) announced that the Christmas Market holiday festival was named a winner of the Illinois Governor’s Home Town Award for 2007. Established by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, the Home Town Award is designed to honor outstanding community-oriented work by volunteers in small to mid-size cities in the state.

“This is exciting and very gratifying,” said CCMF President Lea Hudson. “The hundreds of people who volunteer to get involved in our Christmas Market recognize what a challenge it is to plan, organize, and produce a successful festival each December. And now the entire state
recognizes it.

“This is not an award for an organization but for all of our volunteers,” Hudson added. “They should be proud. All of Carlinville should be proud, because the town has been very gracious in supporting the Market -- the city council, the mayor, the fraternal organizations and churches, the schools, the media, and the merchants.”

While the Christmas Market Foundation and the Carlinville Chamber of Commerce are separate entities, both organizations have been involved in the festival’s successful growth. According to CCMF Secretary and CCCC board member Barbara Clark, “The Christmas Market has been a Carlinville tradition since 1990. After its early growth, it came under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce. It became a big enough project that the organizers decided in 2005 to create a non-profit foundation to manage it, thus freeing the Chamber to concentrate on other community-betterment projects. In the best interests of the town and the Christmas Market, we continue to work closely and provide mutual support.”

The Governor’s Home Town Awards web site states that “The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is particularly proud of the citizens of Illinois who give unselfishly of their time, money, and efforts to make their communities better places to live and work. Volunteers are making a difference in Illinois by creating a positive climate in which businesses and families want to live and work.

“Applications are reviewed by a team of impartial volunteer judges, who conduct site visits to finalist communities before deciding on winners. . . . Awards are presented in eight categories, based on community population.”

Official recognition will take place during a banquet at Springfield’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, November 27. During the banquet, the Home Town Award committee also will present the Governor’s Cup to one overall award winner. The Governor’s Cup is “a traveling silver trophy that signifies the project deemed most representative of the spirit of Illinois volunteerism.”

The 18th annual Carlinville Christmas Market will take place this year on December 7, 8, and 9. In keeping with its stated mission, the non-profit Foundation has designated six local charities to share in this year’s proceeds: The Blackburn College Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Good Samaritan Ministries (Carlinville Food Pantry), Macoupin Center for the Developmentally Disabled, Macoupin County Cares, Inc. (a non-profit drug education organization), Macoupin Military Support Group, and Northwestern Food Pantry of Palmyra.