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Effingham County Fair place to show creativity in numerous categories
Cathy Heidt
Cathy Heidt (left) and Janie Ruth Belcher examine a quilt Belcher recently made. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Fair has something for just about everyone who likes to compete in art and food competitions.

According to Cathy Heidt of the Effingham County Fair Committee, crafters, cooks, bakers, artists, photographers, designers and more can aim for a ribbon in more than 280 categories.

“People don’t realize that but if you go to the (2022 Effingham County Fair) book you can look at all the categories in the adult section and the youth section, and how they are broken down,” Heidt said Thursday during Business After Hours, an Effingham County Chamber of Commerce event that spotlighted the fair. 

Even though many of the categories of competition involve traditional skills like quilting, basketwork and canning, the fair is open to new things.

“If we see new trends, we add those categories to our book so it’s changing all the time with what is popular,” Heidt said.

“Like soap and candles,” fellow committee member Janie Ruth Belcher added.

Heidt and Belcher hope more handmade sewing items will be entered into the 2022 fair, which is set Oct. 13-22.

“Anything handmade (is acceptable),” Heidt said. “We just like for it to be made within the last year, although we will take things a little older than that. The main thing is that the exhibitor is the one who made it.”

Heidt and Belcher, co-chairs of the Adult and Youth divisions, would also like more canned goods.

“Last year and the year before, we didn’t have many,” Heidt said. “A lot of people had gotten away from it but during COVID people started doing more of that and I think that maybe they don’t know that we have categories for it.”

Heidt said jewelry making is growing in popularity.

“If we don’t have a category for it, we always have that category that says ‘other’ and if enough items go in there so we can divide it up, we do that,” she said. “We are very flexible.”

Heidt and Belcher enjoy receiving art and crafts from children. 

“We will take anything,” Heidt said.

Heidt said items aren’t judged harshly. The primary requirements are that exhibits must be the property of the exhibitor and the exhibitor must be a resident of Effingham County. 

“We just want children and adults to be able to put things in here and be proud of it,” she explained.

This year’s judging will start Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. 

“The judging is a group effort,” Heidt said.

Art and craft entries will be graded on four main characteristics — quality, appropriateness, cleanliness and workmanship. Judging in food preservation will be based on appearance, texture, uniformity pack and container.

A grand champion will be determined in the Youth and Adult division.

“Even if they don’t enter anything, people should come see us and what we’ve got,” Heidt said.

Fair entries will be accepted:

Oct. 9 — 2-5 p.m.

Oct. 10 — 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Oct. 11 — 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Oct. 12 — 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Effingham County Fairgrounds are located at 1015 S. Laurel St.