Civil and Municipal - Mar 2023

106 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 bringing people from around the region to enjoy and support the work of local artists while enjoying food, drink, and live entertainment. In its 16th year, this event was first held in the city’s downtown but has since been moved to the Tuscan Hills Winery, due to its growing success. Downtown Effingham is still host to the Effingham Jam, a barbeque cookoff competition with live entertainment, about which Thoele says, “It is one of those events that really makes you feel like you are living in that quaint downtown. There is a real sense of community.” An annual cruise night also takes place in the city core, with everything centered around the courthouse square, bringing a sense of rural charm and nostalgia to the community. In addition to cruise night, car lovers can enjoy the weekend-long Funfest events put on at Mid America Motorworks, a company specializing in Corvettes and VWs. Christmas is also a special time for the city, with the ‘Hallmark’ feel of downtown highlighted by beautiful decorations and a Hometown Christmas event that brings the community together for entertainment, shopping, food, and celebration. “That has made the holidays really special, and really put Effingham on a regional map as far as a place to come and enjoy the holidays,” Thoele boasts. Preliminary plans are also underway for the reopening of the Heart Theatre, a 1950s art deco-style theatre that will be another exciting addition to the downtown. Another gem of the city is the Effingham Performance Center, a 1,500-seat not-for-profit theatre hosting big-name favorites such as LeAnn Rimes, John Michael Montgomery, and the Guess Who. “There’s no bad seat in the house,” she acknowledges. “The acoustics are great there, it’s a very intimate feeling when you’re there. They bring in a lot of nationally known performers, but they also focus on the regional and the local too. We see a lot of people that will travel to Effingham to enjoy a show at the Effingham Performance Center.” Proud of its accomplishments, Effingham will continue to take a forward- thinking approach to growth. Miller concludes, “We are very progressive in moving the city forward. Within the city, we have a very talented group of staff, and we attack all fronts and continue to press forward, whether it’s our industry, new or expanding, it’s commercial and retail, which we continually seek and encourage, or its the weekend activities that bring tourism. We are very progressive on all fronts.” PREFERRED VENDOR/PARTNER n Effingham Convention & Visitors Bureau at Effingham City Hall n Effingham County Chamber