Gina Thoele New Fair Queen (UPDATE)


Published on August 8 2012 5:58 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Congratulations to Gina Thoele, who was crowned Tuesday night as Miss Effingham County Fair Queen for 2012.

Queen Gina is the daughter of Tony and Sue Thoele of the Dieterich area.

We'll talk with the new queen during our broadcast of harness racing at the fair today.  Our coverage will begin at 1pm on KJ Country 102.3 and

Jamie Rexroat, daughter of Allen and Lisa Rexroat, was first runner-up, and Miriah Ludtke, daughter of Joe and Janelle Ludtke and Heather and Jeff Mumma, was second runner-up.  Rexroat also won the award for highest ticket sales.  Whitney Donaldson, daughter of Jonda Donaldson and Nelson Donaldson, won the Blue Ribbon Service Award to community and her fellow contestants, and Tracy Boone, daughter of Benjamin Boone, Jr. and Rachael Boone, won the People's Choice Award.

Gina was crowned by retiring queen Melissa Mellendorf and will reign over the balance of this year's fair and will compete for Illinois County Fair Queen honors in Springfield in January.

The evening was festive with its "Blue Ribbon" theme.  A number of queens and other royalty from counties throughout Illinois were present including Miss Illinois County Fair Brittani Schisler of Lake County.  The crowd was also wowed by retiring queen Melissa's musical rendition of the Whitney Houston song, "One Moment in Time", and this year's County Fair Talent Search Senior Division champion Kelsey Fulk sang the Miranda Lambert song, "More Like Her".

This Little Miss Pageant was also a highlight featuring more than two dozen girls from throughout the county.

Prior to the evening's activities, the Little Miss Pigtail event was held, sponsored by the Effingham County Pork Producers.  Payton Field was this year's winner with pigtails measuring 24 inches long.  Madison Durbin was first runner-up at 22-1/2 inches, and Frances Verdeyen was second runner-up at 22-1/8 inches long.  Last year's Little Miss Pigtail Emma Sue Smothers crowned this year's winner.

Today at the fair, another card of harness racing begins at 1pm, all rides are on sale on the midway at $1.50 each starting at 4pm, the 4-H Auction will begin at 5:30pm, and the Hasting's Filters Truck Tractor, Semi Pro Stock and Antique Vehicle pulling begins at 7pm.

On the free stage today, a performance by Step by Step Dance Studio is scheduled from 5 to 5:30pm with dance, tumble and cheer.

The 4-H cat show and rabbit show are underway today.  Listen for results of 4-H judging each morning at 8:45am on KJ Country 102.3 and 

The fair will continue through Saturday at Altamont.