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MATTOON -- On Thursday, Special Olympics Illinois East Central/Area 9 will host the eighth annual Taste of Something Special located at The WalkWay in Mattoon. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and conclude at 8 p.m.

The eighth annual Taste of Something Special has a variety of engaging activities throughout the night. Attendees can enjoy an evening filled with food, wine and spirits sampling, silent auction, your choice raffle, and a wine cork pull. All proceeds from the event benefit the athletes of SOILL East Central/Area 9.

Patrons will be able to purchase the wines and spirits that are available for sampling that evening. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 by contacting Area Director Vanessa Duncan or stopping by MMAS Dairy Queen in Mattoon. Tickets will also be for sale on the night of for $20 at the door. All attendees will receive their choice of a complementary wine glass or 16-ounce beer glass, plus 8 samplings during the evening.

The silent auction items include:

  • Outdoor fireplace filled with beer and spirits
  • Outdoor Metal Wine Bottle Tree
  • 4 Cardinals Box Seat Tickets for the Spring of 2018 Season
  • Barn Wood Cooler Chest
  • A Special Olympics Illinois S.O. Amazing Year 2018 calendar featuring Special Olympics Illinois athletes at local/state level events

The Your Choice Raffle will be auctioning a variety of items that range from restaurant gift certificates to hand-crafted pieces of art created by our local Special Olympics Athletes.

The Wine Cork Pull is back again this year. During the Wine Cork Pull, attendees have the choice to purchase one wine cork for $10 or three wine corks for $25 to have the chance to win the cork’s matching bottle of wine.

The sponsors for the eighth annual Taste of Something Special include:

Presenting Sponsors:

  • Koerner Distributing
  • S&S Services
  • The Covington Family Foundation
  • LSC Communications
  • Consolidated Communications
  • Solan Chiropractic & Acupuncture

Athlete Sponsors:

  • The WalkWay
  • Mears Automotive
  • Omega Nu Chapter of ESA
  • The 19th Street Dairy Queen
  • Sheehan Construction
  • Duncan Windows & Flooring

Participating Sponsors:

  • Clark’s Appraisals
  • Mitch Webb Memorial Scholarship
  • First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust

SOILL East Central/Area 9 was founded in 1979 and provides programming for people with intellectual disabilities in Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, and Shelby counties. The area currently serves more than 779 athletes, has 82 active agencies and more than 1,000 Class A volunteers.

SOILL East Central/Area 9 offers competition for athletes in 11 sports. There are many opportunities available to get involved with Special Olympics, including serving as a volunteer or committee member, helping with fundraising or competing as an athlete. If you live in the area and want to find out more about the local program, contact area Director Vanessa Duncan at 217-345-2424 or

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 17 sports for more than 22,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 20,000 young athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life.

Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit their website at


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