FULTON, Ill. — Wild Winter Wednesdays started up again Wednesday for the seventh season. The programs, hosted in the Windmill Cultural Center, encourage community socializing while learning a little something new.
Shari Huizinga, who has attended for the past two years, has come back to Fulton after decades of living in various cities upstate. Usually, she said, the presentations are entertaining and informative.
"It's really fun to see this small town atmosphere where people get together and have some fun," Huizinga said about the move back to Fulton.
Funded by the DS Flikkema Foundation (an annual community gifter), the Windmill Area Education Committee achieves two objectives with its seasonal events: incorporate an instructional program and stone-ground flour into the chilly Wednesday mornings in the city. Only during these programs is the cultural center open past its regular season (Memorial Day to October).
Volunteer Betty Wiebenga — who passed out the day's presenter chef Stephanie Godke's Christmas fudge — said the Wild Winter Wednesdays used to follow a theme; history or geography, she said. Now they've broaden to pique interests from farming to the music of Lent. Wiebenga said it's something fun and educational for adults to do during the cold months, especially those who don't fly south for the winter.
Some people attend only for a particular interest, and there are Wednesday regulars, said another volunteer Pam Van Zuiden. She said that the programs are always special, presenting on "all different topics" — though, she joked, she may be a little biased because she helps plan the four-month long program.
"It's a good, fun hour on a cold Wednesday morning," Van Zuiden said.
The education room at the Windmill Cultural Center was filled with men and women on Wednesday, asking questions and laughing with the presenter Mississippi River Distillery's Godke. Each program starts at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, but begins with a little socializing. Wiebenga said each week starts with a little bit of socializing and a chance to try the stone-ground flour from the Windmill.
The remaining programs in December:
Dec. 13 — Four Seasons of God's Creation, with Beth Wiersema
Dec. 20 — The Music of Christmas by Paul Hopkins and students from Unity Christian.
Jan. 3 — Vienna and Prague a travelogue by Connie and Ron Koehn
Jan. 10 — Franciscan Peace Center by Lori Freudenberg
Jan. 17 — Surface, Ground and Fossil Water, presented by Harold Albrecht and Nicole Haas
Jan. 24 — Barn Tour with Linnea Koch
Jan. 31 — Pheasants Forever with Emery Davis
Feb. 7 — Down on the Farm with Margo Hansen
Feb. 14 — Music of Lent by Chuck Dykstra
Feb. 21 — 500 years: Story Behind the Reformation by Wolf Koch
Feb. 28 — Bears with Jill Schmidt
March 7 — Birding along the Mississippi by Dick Sayles
March 14 — Blackhawk Hiking Club presented by Michelle Curtis and Bill Howard
March 21 — Goodenough Dairy by Harvey Zuidema
March 28 — Spring Forward: Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring with Herb and Deb Kuehl