Effingham County Fair Association Endowment

In The News –

ALTAMONT — The Effingham County Fair has often been billed as one of the most complete county fairs in Illinois. People like Phil Hartke want to keep it that way.

Hartke, president of the fair board, said the Effingham County Fair Association Endowment is designed to keep the fair running at its present level for many years. Operated through the Effingham County Community Foundation, those donating $100 or more during 2017 will be designated “charter members.”

Gifts are tax-deductible, and charter members will be featured on the fair and foundation websites. Also, members will be recognized on a plaque in the fair office.

Hartke said the need for a nest egg of sorts has become increasingly apparent in recent years because of the uncertain nature of state finances.

“County fairs in Illinois have always relied on state government for premium reimbursement and grounds maintenance,” he said. Premiums are the cash paid to contestants in either horse racing or 4-H. We still get some money from the state, but I think those days are coming to an end.”

Hartke said fairs 20 years ago would get almost half their premiums reimbursed by the state. Today the reimbursement level has dipped under 30 percent, he said.

But Hartke is confident the Effingham area community will step into the gap and support the fair.

“We saw how the community supported us on the Society Horse Barn project,” he said. Donors contributed $70,000 to the horse barn project in addition to about $33,000 for future fair needs.

Hartke said foundation funds would be saved for those future needs.

“We’re not looking to spend that money right away,” he said. “Most endowments spend four to five percent for current needs and save the rest for something down the road.”

Gifts may be mailed to: Effingham County Community Foundation, PO Box 1211, Effingham, IL 62401. For more information, call the foundation at 217-342-4988 or use the link for the donor card below.

Download our Donor Card Here


Invest in Your County Fair

Girl and HorseToday’s outstanding Effingham County Fair would not be possible without the generous gifts of many donors. In recent decades, vast improvements have been made to the fairgrounds as the result of generous donors who believed in our mission to continue celebrating agriculture.

Moving forward, we want to ensure the success of our county fair by investing in its future. We anticipate that a need for funding will always exist and have established the Effingham County Fair Association Endowment as a permanent source of funds to address future needs and future repairs allowing us to continue to have the financial ability to produce a quality fair for many generations to come.

You can do your part to ensure that future needs are met through a gift to the Effingham County Fair Association Endowment. However, you may consider becoming a Charter Member of the Effingham County Fair Association Endowment with your gift of $100 or more.

With the continued support of our community, volunteers and strong agricultural businesses in our county, our county fair future is bright.

 Our Proud History

The Effingham County Fair Association was established in 1944 with the mission to restore the Effingham County Fair, which had been dormant since 1918. At the time, the fair had only three buildings, the old wooden grandstand, a horse barn and a barn now referred to as the Society Horse Barn. The newly re-established fair featured horse racing, livestock shows and displayed homegrown garden goods. The Effingham County Fair has since emerged as one of the premier county fairs in the State of Illinois.

Our Fair Today

The fair is truly designed to be family friendly. All children ages 12 and under as well as Effingham County 4-H members receive free admission to the fair. Our 4-H shows have evolved into one of the mainstays of the present fair and offers children a great opportunity to see and experience livestock. We are one of the few fairs to offer beef, dairy, goat and sheep shows.

The Effingham County fair offers more days of horse racing than any other county fair in the nation. Our grandstand main attractions include three nights of truck and tractor pulls, the demolition derby, a rodeo with bronc and bull riding. Other featured entertainment includes the talent show, queen contest and country western entertainment.

Charter Member Benefits


The Effingham County Fair Association Endowment Charter Membership is intended to permanently recognize those who love the Effingham County Fair and want to ensure its continued success for future generations. With your gift of $100 or more, you will join the Effingham County Fair Association Endowment Charter Membership, ensuring that future needs of the fair will be met and families will be able to enjoy the fair for years to come. Please note, charter membership is only available during 2017.




Charter members will receive the following benefits:

  • Gifts to the Effingham County Fair Association Endowment are tax-deductible!
  • Charter Members will be featured on the Effingham County Fair and Effingham County Community Foundation websites!
  • Members will be recognized on a plaque in the Effingham County Fair office.

Download our Donor Card Here