NEOGA — The Neoga Partnership for Progress hosted its Fifth Annual Sooey Fest at Jennings Park in Neoga this past Saturday.

The event offered a wide variety of activities for all ages, including live music, a four-category smoke-off, kids games and free ham and beans lunch.

Stefani Robinson has been attending the event for the past few years.

“We like the community of the event and it’s good family fun even for the littlest ones,” she said.

One of the kids activities offered by organizations at the event was a kids tractor pull sponsored by the Neoga FFA. Jennifer Mast watched as her daughter, Harper, pedaled a tractor down an area lined with a measuring tape.

“We’ve been here every year they have had it,” she said. “I like the kids activities.”

Danielle White has attended the event for the past five years. She also likes the kids activities.

“The whole community comes together for this,” she said.

For those interested in technology, the Neoga Tech Club had an arcade game set up that ran off of a tiny computer called Raspberry Pi, a banana keyboard, and a 3-D printer that printed out key chains, which the organization offered for sale.

Jordan Bear, the technology teacher at Neoga for grades kindergarten through eighth grade, said the group was showing some of the items the technology department has and letting the kids interact with them.

From games to food, Olivia Mintun, a board member with the Neoga Partnership For Progress, said the fest’s four-category smoke-off usually attracts around 10 teams with the grand prize winner walking away with $500.

One of the smoke-off teams, Holy Smokes, had seven members. The team smoked pork, chicken, ribs and spam tartar. This is the second year Holy Smokes has participated in the event.

“It’s a great community event and it brings a lot of people together that wouldn’t normally see each other,” said Holy Smokes team member Andrew Koester.

Crystal Reed can be reached at or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 131


Crystal Reed is a reporter for the Effingham Daily News, covering towns in the eastern coverage area. She is a graduate of Richland Community College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism. She is originally from Decatur.

Recommended for you