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Art / Culture / Featured



by Kim Vrooman, Christine Higdon and Paul Seibert

19th Annual TOCO Family Festival Goes Virtual August 28 & 29, 2020

TOCO Family Festival is a two-day outdoor festival and, for almost two decades, has offered an amazing array of activities: camping, music, art, food and beverage vendors, plus a campsite decorating contest, costume contest, parade float decorating contest, collective arts project. It has included kids’ concerts and Kids’ Club and Kids’ Club Underground with a variety of children’s entertainment including face painting, playground, mini golf and game room plus performances and workshops by St. Louis music and science teachers and the St. Louis Hoop Club. There were parades, Kids’ Club Babysitting Service, and family workshops. Plus, as always, there would always be a plethora of artists and crafters and other retail vendors. All these great activities and parents and children all snuggled together at a Metro area campground.

Enter COVID-19.

TOCO Family Festival will go camping ONLINE this year. The 2020 event takes place on the TOCO Family Festival Facebook Page on Friday, August 28th from 7pm – 10pm and Saturday, August 29th from 4pm until 10pm. The fun-raiser will kick off with a live silent auction event at 7pm. The auction will run online until 10pm Saturday night.

And TOCO Fest is always known for its tremendous selection of live musical acts. This year’s live online performances include Rodney Branigan, Old Salt Union, the Kay Brothers, the Burney Sisters, Monhk, EarthSol Acoustic, Vitamen A, One Way Traffic, and many more. And, as always, lots and lots of family focused activities such as a home campsite decorating contest, photos sharing costume exhibitions, collective arts project, and workshops such as dance, painting, hula hooping, STEM, tie-dye, and much more – all online! This year the festival will be hosted online by TOCO Radio and your favorite Family Festival emcees!

This year’s theme is “Hearts for TOCO.” You can show TOCO volunteers how much you love the organization and festival with creative heart-felt sentiments shared online via pictures and videos throughout the event! And you can get started right now. You can even enter your own video on the TOCO Family Festival Facebook Page sharing what you love about TOCO for a chance to win a VIP package to the 2021 TOCO Family Festival! And there will be a 2021 TOCO Family Festival!

To purchase tickets for this year’s virtual event or to find out more information including great virtual camping options and complete band lineup, please visit or email

If you reserved camping in past years or planned to camp with us this summer, please consider a 10% donation of what you previously paid to “reserve” your virtual spot in the online TOCO Fest neighborhood.

To make your reservations, contact Christine Higdon at 618-363-5382 or at

Tapestry Of Community Offerings (TOCO) is headquartered in Belleville, Illinois. TOCO empowers, educates, and enriches the lives of children and families, through green and community partnerships, in order to build a strong, diverse, sustainable future. TOCO has created direct service programs which are designed to enrich the lives of children and family members in our surrounding community. Whether through improving educational opportunities, or by providing basic human needs such as clothing and housewares, each of the TOCO services improves the quality of life for children and family members in our neighborhoods. Proceeds from TOCO Fest benefit the Tapestry Of Community Offerings.

For more about this fine organization and its annual TOCO Festival, see “Oh To Go To TOCO” Str8Up Magazine / August 2014

NOW MORE THAN EVER TOCO NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT TO KEEP THE MISSION GOING! Tapestry of Community Offerings (TOCO) is rooted on Main Street in Belleville, Illinois and empowers children and families through green and community partnerships in order to build a strong, diverse, sustainable future. YEAR ROUND! TOCO has developed their most ambitious programs: The TOCO Shop and TOCO Pantry which have served thousands of families over the past ten years. Through referrals from community members, schools, churches, and service agencies, TOCO Shop and Pantry provide subsidized and free material support (clothing, shoes, and housewares) to children and families. Year round they also operate the Backpack Outreach serving the marginalized population in the area. TOCO serves thousands of families each year; typically around 1,500 families through TOCO Pantry services and an estimated 8,500 families through Shop services. TOCO’s brand of social entrepreneurship speaks not to financial gain but to a higher calling: service through stewardship of humanity and of the earth’s resources. Sustainability is not an abstract for TOCO; they live it every day. Since 2010 TOCO has kept an estimated 4,186,974 pounds out of landfills. TOCO continues to provide families opportunities to learn about sustainability and ways to give back to the community. TOCO is excited to someday expand their reach in order to build neighborhood spaces where they can host workshops for families to explore the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle, upcycle and more, in order to build that sustainable future.

HISTORY OF TOCO and TOCO FAMILY FESTIVAL: The Tapestry of Community Offerings Mission began nearly nineteen years ago when the Shelter Shop, a thrift store supporting The Violence Prevention Center (VPC) of Southwestern Illinois in Belleville, Illinois burned to the ground. Founder Kim Vrooman and close friends decided to act fast to help defer rebuilding costs for the Shelter Shop, thus lightening the load of unexpected added financial responsibilities put upon the VPC. When funding for the Violence Prevention Center (VPC) became threatened due to the destruction of the Shelter Shop, a local supporter of VPC, Kim Vrooman and others joined together in order to quickly rebuild the shop. With the experiences of this rebuild project and the support shown from the community, Vrooman wanted to do more for Belleville, Illinois. Through her drive and desire to bring the community together, Vrooman and a tight knit group of visionaries founded Tapestry of Community Offerings NFP (TOCO). The owners of Twin Oaks Golf Club near Carlyle Lake, Illinois donated the venue for the very first (and second, and third) Twin Oaks Camp Out Benefit which included music and primitive camping. The first year was a rainy one, and because it was the middle of October the weather was cooler than ideal, yet folks from the surrounding community and beyond came to support. And continue to support today! Participants had so much fun that weekend, they realized they wanted to create opportunities in the future to empower children and families, and to partner with other community organizations. So, over the next decades, Vrooman and hundreds of volunteers have been building the idea and the mission under which all of us serve. Today TOCO is proud to say they are making a difference in the community. Thanks to members and volunteers from the community who donate their time, talent, and treasure out of the kindness of their hearts to go toward the fruition of the TOCO mission, and to supporters such as you who continue to support TOCO efforts, TOCO has been able to raise thousands of dollars to help enrich the lives of children and families.

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