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By: Charlyn Fargo


The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs held its107th annual convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Illinois January 19th thru 22nd, 2017. One of the highlights of the annual event is the recognition of individuals from County Fairs across the State who have donated their time, efforts and unique contributions to the Fair Industry.


Phil Hartke, Effingham County Fair


On Saturday January 21st, Phil Hartke of the Effingham County Fair was presented the prestigious 2017 "Friend of Illinois County Fairs" Award.


Phil Hartke, a farmer from Teutopolis, farms with his son and also feeds out hogs and dairy steers. He has a strong passion for his community and strives to continue to make it grow. He is actively involved in his church and has held many offices in agricultural organizations. He has been on the board of directors of the local coop. He has faithfully served more than 30 years on the Effingham County Fair board and is currently serving as president. He never misses an opportunity to promote the fair, speaking to local organizations, talking to radio stations, newspapers, government meetings, farm meetings. Phil is an avid promoter of the fair and attends the IAAF convention, state fair and Zone meetings. Phil's accomplishments include He changing the bylaws to save the fair on real estate taxes, starting a scholarship for two graduating seniors in the county, a sponsorship program to area businesses to make donations to the fair, implementing an endowment plan for long term funding of the fair, improvements and renovations to the grounds and buildings to maintain the fairgrounds.


Phil also has been a strong supporter of horse racing. The Effingham County Fair has 5 days of horse racing. 4-H is a large part of the county fair and Phil is a believer in 4-H and the positive affect it has on youth. This summer at the Illinois State Fair Phil was inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame.


Dean Page - Boone County Fair Association


Dean Page of the Boone County Fair Association has been a Fair Board member for 24 years. Dean also attends the IAFE convention, Zone meetings and the International Association of Fairs and Expositions annual conventions.


Dean has been in charge of the Fairgrounds Electric operations since 1999. He constantly upgrades service to meet the demands in all the buildings and on the grounds. Dean is also an integral part of the grounds winter storage operations and as a member of the Boone County Sheriff's Patrol oversees a lot of the security and safety during the fair and for off season events. 
Dean has earned the respect and shown the dedication necessary to become the recipient of the 2017 "Friend of Illinois County Fairs" Award.


Jane Cross - Richland County Fair


Jane Cross began her 26 year Richland County Fair pageant director career in 1990 and has continued to serve the Richland County Fair since that time as a committee member and as Director. She has cultivated the development program and a scholarship program thru which the local girls have grown and developed, regardless whether chosen as queen or just as a competitor. The scholarship program has grown to provide assistance to not only the top three girls but others in the program. Her success is not only measured by four state queens and many other award winners, but also the growth of every girl who goes thru this program.


Jane has also been active in the state pageant directors' association, and has embroidered chair backs and also made Queen Chair covers for the association.


Jane and husband, John, have been of great service to the fair industry through the horse racing industry. Their business, Cross Harness Supply, has provided equipment to race horse owners throughout Illinois at both state fairs and county fairs alike. Many fair winner blankets were embroidered by Jane.


Jane Cross's determination, hard work, endless volunteer efforts and belief that every contestant can grow from a bud to a blossom with the proper encouragement and support has qualified her as a worthy recipient of the 2017 "Friend of Illinois County Fairs" Award.


Representative Don Moffitt


Representative Moffitt has championed agriculture and promoted the needs of farmers in the Illinois General Assembly for 23 years. He worked tirelessly to draft and pass the Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Act, which provides for environmental safeguards that meet consumers' concerns, while also setting building standards for livestock facilities that allow farmers to continue operating successfully.


Moffitt has also served as the Republican spokesperson for the police and fire, and the counties and townships committees. He has served on agriculture and conservation committee, elementary and secondary education committee, and veteran affairs committee, among others.


Prior to serving in the Illinois House, Moffitt served as Knox County treasurer, Knox County Board chairman, Knoxville alderman and mayor of Oneida. He remains an active member of Carver Community Action Agency, Galesburg Lions Club and Knox County Farm Bureau. Representative Moffitt recently retired from the Illinois General Assembly, and has recently been named Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.


The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs has greatly appreciated the support given by Representative Moffitt during the past 23 years. The County Fairs in his District relied on his support of funding needs, funding issues and release of appropriated funds.


Representative Don Moffitt has been a great "Friend of Illinois County Fairs" and a supporter of Illinois Agriculture.


State Senator John Sullivan


Senator Sullivan was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and did not seek re-election this year. He has served as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was appointed assistant majority leader in 2011 and also was a member of the higher education, financial institutions, transportation, state government and veterans affairs, and environmental and conservation committees during his tenure.


He graduated from Quincy College, now Quincy University, in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Before joining the Senate, he worked as a real estate broker, loan officer and auctioneer, in addition to running his family farm.


Senator Sullivan was the lone State Senator with a farm background. He was always accessible, approachable, and always willing to work with the Association concerning funding issues, according to Legislative Committee Chair, Marvin Perzee.


The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs extends its deepest gratitude and appreciation to Senator Sullivan for his many years of service and support of Agriculture. His leadership will be missed by his home 47th District as well as County Fairs. Senator Sullivan exemplary service has qualified him for the "Friend of Illinois County Fairs" Award 2017.

Five Honored with 2017 Friend of IAAF Award