Model City Chess Club meets from 10 a.m.-noon every Saturday at the Catalyst, 1224 Noble St. Learn and play chess. No age requirement. No membership fees (for a limited time only). All skill levels are welcome. Call 256-454-3597 or email modelcitychess@outlook.com for more information.

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United Way of East Central Alabama will offer free income tax preparation at the following locations:

• Weaver Senior Center, 406 Anniston St., 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday.

• United Way office, 1505 Wilmer Ave., 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

• Oxford Public Library, 110 E. 6th St., Oxford, in the basement, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

A photo I.D., Social Security cards of all individuals on tax return, important tax forms (10-99’s, SS benefit letter, 1095 insurance form and drivers license or state issued photo I.D.) are required. Call 256-236-8229 for more information.

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Blowout book sale, hosted by the Friends of the Library, will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, 108 E. 10th St. Friends of the Library with their membership card will receive 75% off the sale price. Hardback books: $.50 and paperback books: $.25. Call 256-237-8501 for more information.

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The 28th annual Mardi Gras Gala will be 6:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday at the Anniston City Meeting Center. Tickets are $60 in advance and $80 at the door. Tickets are available at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, Tyson’s Fine Wines & Things and Noble Bank (Anniston/Oxford).

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Caesar Chess will present the Oxford Scholastic (K-12th) chess tournament with registration from 8-8:30 a.m. Saturday at Oxford High School, 1 Yellow Jacket Drive, Oxford. Entry fee is $20. Late fee $30. The tournament is open to students in public, private, military and home schools. Email CaesarChess@gmail.com for more information.

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S.A.M.S. (Stop All Multiple Sclerosis), a support group for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis, will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Tyler Center, 731 Leighton Ave.

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Inaugural Mardi Gras celebration for the city of Jacksonville, hosted by Alpha Omicron Pi at Jacksonville State University, will be Monday through Feb. 10 and will conclude with a celebration at 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at the JSU Alumni House. There will be activities for all ages, a parade, games, door prizes and more. All proceeds from the event will go to arthritis research. Participation in the parade will be $15 for cars and $20 for floats.

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A Valentine’s ball “Winterlude: Romance on the Mountain” will be held 7-11 p.m. Feb. 10 at Cheaha State Park, Bald Rock Lodge ballroom, 19644 Alabama 281, Delta. This is a black-tie (or Sunday best) event with a four-course dinner with DJ music, dancing and more. Ticket price is $150 per couple and does not include lodging or cash bar. Pre-purchased tickets required and sales end Feb. 2. Email Renee.Raney@dcnr.alabama.gov or call 256-225-2188 for more information.

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The AlaBenton Genealogical Society will meet at 1 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, upstairs. Subject of the meeting is “The People of Pelham Range: Settlement before the War Department.” AlaBenton member Tracy E. Higgins will present the session with the Pelham Range Historical Community members Sara Price and Heather Puckett as special speakers. The presentation will offer historical facts, but also artifacts and archaeological finds from the old Pelham Range community. The meeting is free.

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A Valentine’s gala fundraiser, presented by the League for Animal Welfare, will be 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at Western Sizzlin in Oxford. Plates are $35 each or $55 per couple. All proceeds benefit the animals at the league. To make reservations call 256-238-0380 or 256-435-1258.

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A Longleaf Botanical Garden gourd birdhouse workshop will be 9 a.m.-noon Feb. 10 in the Anniston Museum of Natural History classroom. Peggy Mayo will lead the workshop on hand-painting a gourd birdhouse. Supplies and instructions will be supplied. Call 256-237-6766 to reserve your spot. The cost is $35 for non-members and $30 for members. Payment is to be made at time of reservation.

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The Saturday Alive! Birds of Prey show will be 1 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Anniston Museum of Natural History auditorium. Meet raptors from all over the United States, of different shapes and sizes. Visitors will learn what makes birds of prey such incredible hunters, what makes these creatures different from each other, and how to deal with an injured bird of prey. This program is free with paid museum admission. Members are free.

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Our Community Kitchen of Jacksonville will hold a “Valentines for the Needy” luncheon from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (lunch at 12:30 p.m.) Feb. 10 at the Unity House at Zinn Park. Food donations are needed along with plates, to-go boxes, napkins, aluminum pans and aluminum pans with lids. Also in need of Valentine candy for the children. The menu will include spaghetti/sauce, green beans, corn, garden salad with dressing, rolls, assorted desserts, tea and water. Call 256-405-8943 or 256-499-5025 for information on making donations.

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The Alabama Retired State Employees’ Association/Alabama Public Employees’ Advocacy League (ARSEA/APEAL), will hold its annual “Issues and Benefits” meeting for members living in Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Randolph and Talladega counties at 10 a.m. Feb.12 at the Anniston City Meeting Center, 1615 Noble St. ARSEA/APEAL members and those interested in joining are encouraged to attend. There is no cost to attend, however, seating is limited, so please RSVP by calling 800-844-7732 or visiting www.arsea.org.

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Recruit training sign-up for the East Central Alabama Young Marines will be 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the DAV building, 114 N. Center Ave., Piedmont. Training days will be Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24 and March 24 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Graduation will be 2-4 p.m. March 25. The training is for 8 years old through completion of high school. Visit www.youngmarines.com go to “find a unit” and look for East Central Alabama. Email danlong@netzero.com or call 256-310-6481 for more information.

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A free Valentine senior adult day will begin with registration at 8 a.m. Feb. 12 at Oxford Civic Center, 401 McCullars Lane, Oxford. Entertainment will be provided by Ryan Robertson Band. There will be a free sack lunch, crowning of a king and queen and door prizes. Call 256-831-2660 for more information. The event is sponsored by the Oxford Parks and Recreation Department.

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The Third Thursday in the Gardens program “Native Azalea 101” will be 5-6 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Longleaf Botanical Gardens James P. Roberts Education classroom. The program will be presented by Hayes Jackson on native azalea species of the southeastern United States and the numerous hybrids available from are nurseries. This class is for beginners or a gardener that needs to brush up on available selections and cultivars. Call 256-237-6766 to make the required reservation. The cost is $5 per person and free to members. Payment is to be made at time of reservation.

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A Black Heritage festival “Poems of the Past: Whispers of our Ancestors” will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Longleaf Botanical Gardens Longleaf hall. The festival includes Children’s Oration Competition, music, and African-inspired vendors available to shop. If interested in registering your child in the Children’s Oration Competition speak with your child’s principal for participation forms or stop by Anniston Museum of Natural History to register. Show your festival wristband at the front desk at the museum and Berman Museum for free admission all day on Feb. 17. Vendors interested in selling merchandise should contact Angie at 256-237-6766, ext. 310 or email adothard@annistonmuseum.org.

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A “Make Your Own Polished Portrait: Family Craft Day” will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Berman Museum lobby. The event includes “Finish the Venus de Milo” coloring pages, make your own osselets (Haitian jacks), and a polished portrait with air-dry clay. This family fun day is recommended for kids of all ages and is free with paid museum admission. Members are free.

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The Feeding Cleburne Organization will hold two food distributions Feb. 17 with the morning distribution at 10 a.m. at Way of Life Fellowship, 21459 Main St., Ranburne. The afternoon distribution is 2 p.m. at Edwardsville Church of God, 4111 Main St., Edwardsville. For both distributions line up in your vehicle for registration and proceed through the line where volunteers will load groceries into your vehicle. (You may be served only once but can go to either location.) The event is held the third Saturday of each month and serves the nutritionally challenged who reside in Cleburne County and other counties that are served by the Alabama Emergency Food Assistance program. Visit Feeding Cleburne’s Facebook page for more information.

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A sports memorabilia auction fundraiser hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of East Central Alabama will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. and auction at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Classic on Noble. Ticket price is $15 and covers admission to auction and appetizers by Classic on Noble. Cash bar will be available. Call 256-236-7050 for ticket information.

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Upcoming trips with Doris Hann and friends will be April 28-May 5 for San Antonio, Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. Final payment is due by Feb. 21 and June 21-26 for Washington, D.C. Final payment is due April 14. Contact Doris Hann at 256-492-3465 for more information.

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The Kiwanis pancake breakfast will be March 3 at the Anniston City Meeting Center, 1615 Noble St. This annual event is the only fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club’s “Back to School Shopping Spree” held in the fall.

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A senior spelling bee, sponsored by the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission will be held at 10 a.m. March 6 at Anniston Senior Center, 980 Littlebrandt Drive, Fort McClellan. The free event is for men and women age 60 and up from one of the following counties: Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Etowah, Randolph, Talladega or Tallapoosa. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Registration deadline is Feb. 27. Call 800-239-6741 or email Emily McCamy at Emily.McCamy@earpd.org to register or for more information.