HARRISBURG, Ill. — The Saline County Fair is getting more
than just a new coat of paint this summer. It is getting a dollop of
Dozens of youth and adult volunteers have put in hours to
provide the fairgrounds with a fresh look and to revitalize the event.
“Everybody works well together. That makes it lots of fun,”
said Nancy Evans, who along with her husband, Dan, leads an energized 4-H club
The eager throng turned out in full force prior to this
year’s fair, which will run Sunday through Saturday, July 21-27.
Members of the Pleasant Valley Go-Getters 4-H Club — joined
by parents and other adult volunteers — put in a number of hours painting and
fixing up facilities affected by time and lack of funding in recent
“They’re doing trash barrels, repainting the fence around
the show arena and painting the walls that go around the showroom and the
announcer’s stand,” Nancy Evans said. “They’re going to do some painting on some
other 4-H buildings that are weathered.”
Dan and Nancy Evans have been 4-H leaders for 30 years. The
Pleasant Valley club was started by Dan Evans’ father 58 years ago.
While there still is popular support for the fair, sharp
funding cuts have contributed to a decline of events and facilities in recent
“Not too many years ago, this county got $60,000 from the
state,” Dan Evans said. “Last year, we got a measly $13,000. That puts into
perspective that we have to do a lot of things on the local level.”
Support by the community has been key. Fair leaders — the
Evanses’ son, Chris, is president — have reached out for assistance.
The response has been strong. Local businesses have donated
both cash and in-kind gifts such as supplies.
“We’re doing many local things, with local sponsors,” Dan
Evans said. “And we have a really strong stockmen’s association. Last year, we
generated over $20,000, and we spent it on kids.
“There is a lot of local sponsorship, with some business
donating things for us to use and give away as prizes. We’re selling T-shirts,
anything we can do to raise some money.”
“A lot of other businesses, 4-H parents and people have
really stepped up to help,” Nancy Evans added. “We have a really great 4-H
A central portion of the effort is concentrated among the
4-H club. Striking a happy coincidence, the club — which is 58 years old this
year — has a membership of 58.
The 4-H members and other volunteers worked for three days
to make the reparations. They will be rewarded with an old-fashioned ice cream
social with ice cream that also was donated.
“This is a building-up year,” Nancy Evans said. “Things get
worn, and it’s time to repair.”
This year’s fair will include a tractor pull for the first
time in 13 years and the first rodeo in nearly a decade.
The Western horse show is back after a six-year absence. In
addition, events will include motocross, a tractor pull, a demolition derby and
The re-energized event likely will expand over the next few
years, according to Dan Evans, with more events added and enlarged.