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Simons Mortuary 22nd Annual Holiday Gala Draws More than 300 People By Angela Henry

Simons Mortuary 22nd Annual Holiday Gala

Draws More than 300 People

Entertainment and Fellowship Highlight Event

By Angela HenryAngie-picweb

Simons Mortuary hosted their 22nd Annual Holiday Gala at the Peoria Civic Center on Sunday, December 6, 2015. More than 300 people attended the free community event which included musical entertainment by Change-Up, the Mt. Zion Men’s Chorus, Joshua Cooper and 1-Akord, and a featured performance by Sylvia “Small Fire” Cannon.

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Joshua Cooper and 1 Akord

Simons has always been committed to helping people cope through the most difficult times. And this time-honored tradition of holiday spirit and fellowship has served as a beacon of hope for many in the Peoria community. It began twenty-two years ago as grief support for individuals and families experiencing the loss of loved ones during the holidays.

Although the event has steadily grown in size the message has remained the same; show compassion and love for one another through fellowship, which was evident with the sounds of laughter and joy echoing throughout the evening.

We wanted everyone to come out, laugh and just have a good time,” says Florence Gilkesson, co-owner of Simons Mortuary.

If laughter is the best medicine then this year’s special guest, Christian comedienne, Small Fire delivered a big dose of it as she engaged the audience with her gift of humor and southern charm. Her comedy ministry is meant to inspire and encourage through laughter.

Fan Williams-Crooks was selected from the audience to sing “I Need Thee” as part of Fire’s “listening to the radio” act. She had to start over as she giggled watching the comedian imitate people who listen to gospel music while driving.

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Fan Williams-Crooks

This annual event is a wonderful way to fellowship together” says Rev. Carol Adams who has attended the gala in the past. “The Gilkessons are beautiful people. They have a way of making everyone feel special. It’s an honor to support them by attending their event.”