The fair is improving. I think it's better than it used to be.Charles Malcolm "Mac" Weaver
SPRINGFIELD — Charles Malcolm “Mac” Weaver isn’t sure how long he has been affiliated with the Effingham County Fair. That doesn’t mean the nonagenarian has memory issues, however.
Weaver’s mind remains as firm as one of his hearty handshakes. His wit is razor sharp, too.
“If they had it right when they told me how old I was, I kept it right from then on,” he joked.
Beth Epling said Weaver, 92, was already a fair fixture when she joined the Effingham County Fair Committee in 1975. His lengthy dedication resulted in him being named him the grand marshal of the 2022 Effingham County Fair Parade on Oct. 17.
Weaver accepted the nod humbly and with humor.
“I think they thought I was getting old and I might not be here next year to go,” he said with a chuckle. “They figured they’d better get me in there.”
Weaver has been involved in approximately 50 fairs, including some held at Springfield’s National Guard Armory. The 2022 fair is set Oct. 13-22.
“The fair is improving,” Weaver said. “I think it’s a lot better than it used to be.”
Weaver, a Clyo resident, has been in charge of collecting tickets at the fair’s back gate for many years. The former electrician also wired some of the buildings on current fairgrounds on South Laurel Street.
“I’ve put up a few signs (around the county), too,” he said. “We had to put the posts up and everything.”
His fair role these days is mostly supervisory but he is willing to fill in wherever he is needed. He is a little fellow but never lets his lack of stature prevent him from getting a job done.
Weaver stands 5-foot-3 and weighs 145 pounds, which is a couple inches inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than when he was in peak condition about seven decades ago while learning the electrical trade in Chicago.
“I had a hard time getting hired because they thought I was too little to handle the job,” he said.
Weaver’s looks were deceiving. He was raised on a Ga. Hwy 119 farm by his grandparents and learned to milk cows before heading to school when he was in the second grade.
“I didn’t know (my grandparents) were giving me the best lesson that I could ever expect to find,” Weaver said. “They taught me to work and I have never hated to work as a result of it.”
Weaver is fit as a fiddle and drives around confidently in his Chevrolet Colorado pickup.
“I didn’t hardly take medicine until I was 80 years old,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been blessed with good health my whole life.”
There is one big void in Weaver’s life. He misses his wife, Teresa, greatly. She died five years ago.
“She was on the fair committee, too,” he said.
Mrs. Weaver assisted with some of the artistic exhibits. In addition, she occasionally showed beautiful flowers from her garden at the fair.
“She didn’t want to do that, though,” Weaver said. “I told her that she had pretty flowers and she ought to put them in there. She won some first-place ribbons with them.”
Weaver said he has made many friends through his fair committee participation. He loves them and the nostalgic annual event.
“He’s going to have so much fun waving and seeing everybody,” Epling said.
Weaver said he won’t be dressed up while riding through the parade as grand marshal.
“I’m just a simple, old country boy,” he said with another laugh.