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ECHOES OF EFFINGHAM: A lot has changed since the fair in 1948
Ech 10-10-18 Fair Premium Book.jpg

This year the 75th Annual Effingham County Fair will begin on October 22, 2018. The fair is operated by a volunteer Fair Committee under guidance of Chairman Grady Rahn. They operate a food booth during the fair and open with a parade. The fairgrounds are located on Zoller Street just off of the south end of Laurel Street in Springfield.

Each year the Fair Committee publishes a “Fair Premium Book” like the one in the illustration with a theme.  It lists those who are on the committee, schedules for livestock shows, entertainment, etc. The book lists the rules and regulations for exhibiting items from the categories published.  Each item has a premium or prize (cash value) for first, second and third place, etc. and prize ribbons are awarded in each contest. First place is a blue ribbon, second is red and third place is a white ribbon. Grand champion ribbons are awarded over some categories and feature a larger ornate blue and gold ribbon. Farm production is a category, as is food preservation, baked goods, plants, artwork and handicrafts, etc. There is an adult and a child division in most of the categories. There are also livestock categories. Judges are selected to determine winners in each contest according to standard criteria for the exhibited item.

Individual 4H member booths are featured and organizations can sign up to exhibit a booth with the theme of the fair.  These booths are judged and prizes awarded according to the premium book.

Livestock is shown and prizes are awarded during the shows by qualified judges selected from the area by the committee. Showmanship is also awarded during these shows.

Taking a look back at the 1948 Premium Book, the cover advertises farm products, home industries, educational, home appliances and farm machinery. The 1948 fair was held October 18th – 23rd at the National Guard Armory in Springfield at the north end of Ash and Early Streets. Entertainment was provided by Jim McCall and Gay Way Shows. Gate admission was 30 cents for adults and 14 cents for children.  The fair in 1948 was jointly sponsored by the American Legion and Effingham County Farm Bureau. The co-chairmen of the fair were Vocational Agriculture teacher I. B. Johnson and County Agent Pete Clifton. Louise Meeks was Home Demonstration Agent and chaired of the women’s division. C. E. Griffin was Secretary.  Other committee members included: James Underwood, Jr., Julian Raburn, Leroy Price, Paul Weitman, Ernest B. Mingledorff, Edward Gnann, Herbert Reiser, Herbert Kessler, and Dess Tuttle. The premium book was loaded with local advertisements which sponsored the printing of the book.

The 75th annual Effingham County Fair Premium Books are available now in local businesses and at the Georgia Extension Service office. You will find instructions to enter your handicraft items, baked goods, livestock, etc. this year. Perhaps you will win the “premium” or prize money for the item you enter. See you at the fair!

This was written by Susan Exley from Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos or historical information to share contact her at 912-754-6681 or email