The public is invited to join Friends of the Shawnee National Forest for its fourth annual fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 8 at Alto Vineyards in Alto Pass.

This year, Friends will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Shawnee National Forest. The event includes a silent auction, dinner and music from the Ivas John Band.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the Friends' mission to support the Shawnee National Forest through stewardship, responsible recreation and environmental education.

The evening's festivities start at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour with appetizers and drinks as the silent auction gets underway. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. with beef brisket, spinach lasagna, served with garlic-mashed potatoes with rosemary, seasoned stir-fried green beans, salad and rolls, along with dessert.

The Ivas John Band follows at 7:30 p.m. Performing an eclectic blend of folk, country and roots music, spiced with blues guitar, the band has been a staple along both sides of the Mississippi River since 2006.

Tickets for the evening are $45 and are available at www.friendsoftheshawnee.eventbrite.com. Registration deadline is Monday, Nov. 4. Advance registration is required, and seating is limited.

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2010. It works with the U.S. Forest Service staff and volunteers to provide high quality recreation and conservation opportunities in Southern Illinois.

It promotes events throughout the year such as the Shawnee National Forest Fishing Derbies for kids and Trash Blasts to clean up the heavily used areas.

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest hosts member events annually, such as tours to such sites like Garden of the Gods and Snake Road. Memberships are available to help support its mission. For more information, go to http://www.shawneefriends.org.

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