The Civil War Experience in Rincon attracted several hundred people last month, which organizers considered a good turnout for a first-time event.
But that’s not the only reason the festival was a success.
Through a donation from Fuller Chevrolet and proceeds from the Civil War Experience and a golf tournament the day before the festival, the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce contributed more than $13,000 to four local non-profit organizations.
Fuller Chevrolet General Manager Tommy Arden and Effingham Chamber Executive Director Rick Lott presented checks Thursday to Habitat for Humanity, Treutlen House at New Ebenezer, Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center and the Effingham Museum and Living History Site.
“It means a lot to us to be able to give back to the community,” Arden said.
The Historic Effingham Society was so financially strapped last year that it faced the possibility of having to close the museum. The Effingham Museum relies on donations and memberships dues and has no other outside funding sources.
Money from fundraisers and corporate sponsorships in the Save the Museum campaign kept the museum in business, but HES leaders say much more support is needed. So, the Historic Effingham Society’s portion of the $13,570 Civil War Experience proceeds was a big boost.
“You don’t know how happy I am,” said Beverly Ginn Poole of the Effingham Museum.
“In the business we’re in, a dollar’s a dollar,” said Norma Jean Morgan, president of Historic Effingham Society.
While the other three beneficiaries might not be in the same financial straits as the museum, donations such as those Tuesday always help in accomplishing their missions. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates homes to help provide affordable housing in the community, Treutlen House is a 12-bed facility for boys in the foster care system and Faith Equestrian offers therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.
The Civil War Experience “not only provided a new fun and educational event for the community, but one that was able to produce some much-needed revenue for several of our local non-profit organizations,” Lott said. “To be able to give back over $13,000 from a two-day event is not an easy thing to do, but due to everyone’s efforts, that was accomplished.”
The Civil War Experience was the first event held at the city of Rincon’s new festival site off Highway 21, behind Fuller Chevrolet and adjacent to Lowe’s. It is about 10 times the size of the area where the Chamber has held its Oktoberfest.
The all-day festival featured re-enactors demonstrating what life was like in a Civil War camp, including conducting training exercises, firing cannons and “rifle volleys,” and cooking over a campfire.