The 29th annual Lifelong Learning Conference will be hosted by the Spoon River College Office of Community Outreach and co-sponsor MidAmerica National Bank on Friday, October 27, 8 a.m-2:30 p.m. in the Engle Conference Center on the Canton Campus.

The popular conference offers break-out sessions that feature local speakers presenting on a wide range of interesting and entertaining subjects, a soup and sandwich buffet, and a vendor resource fair.

“This is a fun learning and social event that utilizes the talents and knowledge of our local experts and enthusiasts,” said Andrea Barbknecht, director of the SRC Canton Outreach Center. “We love seeing our repeat attendees as well as welcoming new ones!”

The conference will kick off with the keynote presentation “An Abraham Lincoln Christmas” delivered by Rick Klinedinst, who will talk about the present-day holiday traditions that originated during the Civil War era, how Lincoln’s family celebrated in the White House, and more. Following that will be three break-out sessions, with each offering three topics for participants to choose from.

Session one offers “Canton Women of Note, Continued…” with Cheryl Bielema, Janice Bruster, Hannah Cox, and Kathy Myers sharing the stories of five Canton women of note who have been inducted into the Canton High School’s Hall of Fame; “History of Banking: Nationally to Locally” by Rick Klinedinst and covering how the banking industry began and evolved in America; and “Adventures in Iceland and Scotland” that will chronical the travel adventures abroad of Jeanine Standard and Kathy McDowell.

Second session topics are “Josephine Baker: An American in Paris,” presented by Stan Ransom about the life of this American-French personality who was a singer, spy, actress, civil rights activist, and WWII hero; “It Played in Canton—Part 1,” which begins the story of the nationally and in some cases internationally popular music groups and individuals who played in Canton between 1964 and into the early ‘70’s, with Kevin Stephenson presenting; and “Yesterday’s Children,” with Brooks Carver relating the story of abandoned nineteenth-century immigrant children, orphan trains, and early twentieth-century child labor in America.

Session three choices are “It Played in Canton—Part 2” with Stephenson continuing down the memory lane of music in Canton; “Wonderful and Whimsical Wreaths!” features Christine Wright demonstrating new trends in wreath-making in her trademark energetic and entertaining style; and  “The Night the Music Stopped: The Titanic Musicians,” with Gwen Alexander sharing stories of the lives and of the musicians hired to play on the Titanic (including a scandal involving one of the violinists!).

The early bird price is $25 before October 20 ($35 after). Registration can be completed online at, or by calling 309-649-6260.