The sweet smell of corn dogs, cotton candy and food vendors galore will once again fill the air as you “Harvest Your Dreams” at the 77th Annual Effingham County Fair.

Effingham County Fair Board President Phil Hartke gives a preview of the 77th Annual Effingham County Fair.

This year's fair has plenty to offer as last year's fair was slimmed down to just an Effingham County Fair Queen Contest and Junior Miss competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fair is back in full swing with a little something for everyone July 31 through Aug. 7.

Effingham County Fair Board President Phil Hartke said something new is being featured at the fair this year.

“You won't want to miss the Downstate Classic on Wednesday,” Hartke said. “The purse should be about $25,000 depending upon how many horses we get in there.”

Hartke said there will be plenty of harness racing this year Sunday, Aug. 1, through Friday, Aug. 6. As an added feature during Wednesday's races, the Woo Hoo Sisterhood is sponsoring a Kentucky Derby hat contest. The contest is open to all ages. Categories are prettiest, funniest, most creative, vintage, theme design and children.

Luehrs' Ideal Rides of Collinsville is back on the Midway.

“They're top notch,” Hartke said.

Wristbands may be purchased in advance for $20 each at Kirby Foods, S&W Grocery, Wessel's and FS Fast Stop. Wristband nights are Tuesday, starting at 6 p.m. and Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. or “Last Blast” Saturday afternoon from 1 to 6 p.m. Wristbands purchased at the fair are $25 each.

“If you have a family conflict and you can't make the wristband night, you can exchange the $20 wrist band for tickets. They will honor those ride tickets up to closing time (Saturday, Aug. 7),” Hartke said.

A single ticket is $1.50. It takes a minimum of two tickets per ride with some rides taking more than two tickets, Hartke said.

This year's carnival rides open on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 6 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 7, at 1 p.m.

Opening day of the fair is Saturday, July 31, and will feature a 5K run, car show and ranch sorting. Starting at 6:30 p.m. at the grandstand is the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League. Mid America Jumpers inflatables will be available from noon to 10 p.m.

Hartke said another new addition to the fair is a special 12:30 p.m. presentation for veterans on Sunday in front of the grandstand. Vietnam Veteran Robert “Doc” Kralman is giving a short address and 288 flags will be given out to veterans or family members of a veteran to hold up just before “The Star-Spangled Banner” is performed.

“You can just imagine what it will look like with everyone in the grandstand holding a U.S. Flag,” Hartke said.

Horse races will follow the ceremony starting at 1 p.m.

Hartke said this year American Legion Post 120 of Effingham is looking for the oldest veteran in Effingham County to be parade marshal. The parade starts at 4:30 p.m. in front of the grandstand.

“We are going to honor the oldest veteran we can find to be our parade marshal,” Hartke said.

Other activities on Sunday include Mid America Jumpers inflatables from noon to 10 p.m., a church service at the 4-H Arena at 8 a.m., ranch sorting at 10 a.m., Rob Thompson on the free stage at 2 , 4 and 6 p.m., “These Feet Were Made for Sewing” Community Showcase presentation in the air-conditioned Schuetzenfest building at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., master showmanship at 6 p.m. in the 4-H Arena, talent show at 6:30 p.m. in the grandstand followed by the Effingham County Junior Miss Pageant and Little Miss “2020” Pageant at 8 p.m.

Hartke said stage lighting will be at a premium this year for the pageants and main entertainers since building a Crow's Nest this summer high in the grandstand to hold spotlights directed at the stage and video equipment. Grandstand events will be recorded this year on video and fair organizers want to offer video streaming for future fairs.

Monday, Aug. 2

Fair activities on Monday are from noon to 10 p.m. with the Mid America Jumpers inflatables, Big Ten harness racing at 1 , 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. “Creative Painting” Community Showcase in the Schuetzenfest building, and truck, tractor and garden tractor pull in the grandstand starting at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 3

The carnival opens Tuesday at 6 p.m. with wristband night along with the Miss Effingham County Fair and Little Miss 2021 Pageant in the grandstand starting at 7 p.m. Other activities on Tuesday include harness racing at 1 , 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. “Smart Annuals and Perennials in the Midwest” Community Showcase in the Schuetzenfest building and RENEE on the free stage.

Wednesday, Aug. 4

Wednesday is the Downstate Classic horse race starting at 1 p.m., “Let Us Bake Bread Together” Community Showcase in the Schuetzenfest building at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., carnival opens at 4 p.m., GG Balloon Artist is performing on the free stage, 4-H Auction starts at 5:30 p.m., Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League – Champion Seed Western Series starts at 7 p.m. in the grandstand.

Thursday, Aug. 5

Dakota Danielle is performing on the free stage. Harness racing begins at 1 p.m., “You Can Do This” Community Showcase in the Schuetzenfest building at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., carnival opens at 6 p.m. for wristband night and the Whippoorwill Rodeo Company Rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 6

Friday at noon kids racing and harness racing in the grandstand, “Cakes Outside the Box” Community Showcase in the Schuetzenfest building at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., Kids Pedal Pull and Safety Day in the 4-H Arena at 3:30 p.m., carnival opens at 6 p.m. – two people can ride for the price of one, and Dean Rich Duo performs on the free stage.

Neal McCoy and Tracy Lawrence show starts in the grandstand Friday at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 7

Saturday is COPS Kids and Teen Day from 9:30 a.m. through noon and Demolition Derby Day at the fair with action starting at 5:30 p.m. with the Power Wheels Kids Derby followed by the Demolition Derby at 6:30 p.m., the carnival is open from 1 to 6 p.m. for wristbands and 6 p.m. at regular price.

77th Annual Effingham County Fair Judging Schedule

Saturday, July 31

10 a.m. – Judging Classes J-P in the 4-H Exhibition Hall

10:30 a.m. – 4-H Boer Goat Show

4 p.m. – Pee Wee Show

6 p.m. – Junior Swine Show

Sunday, Aug. 1

Noon – 4-H Beef Show

6 p.m. – Master Showmanship

Monday, Aug. 2

7:45 a.m. – 4-H Swine Show

7:45 a.m. – Jr. Beef Show and Class A Beef

7:45 a.m. – Class F Sheep

8 a.m. – 4-H & Jr. Poultry and Waterfowl Show

12:30 p.m. – Jr. Boer Goat Show

3 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Show

Tuesday, Aug. 3

9 a.m. – 4-H & Jr. Dairy Goat Show

2 p.m. – Jr. Sheep Show

5 p.m. – 4-H & Jr. Dog Show

Wednesday, Aug. 4

8 a.m. – 4-H & Jr. Rabbit Show

8 a.m. – Junior Cat Show

9 a.m. – 4-H Cat Show

5:30 p.m. – 4-H Youth Auction

Thursday, Aug. 5

9 a.m. – Class U Dairy Goat

9 a.m. – 4-H & Jr. Dairy Show

1 p.m. – 4-H & Jr. Pygmy Goat Show

Friday, Aug. 6

8 a.m. – Class B Dairy Cattle

9 a.m. – 4-H Llama & Alpaca Show

Saturday, Aug. 7

8:30 a.m. – 4-H and Jr. Horse Show

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