CLEARFIELD – Twelve young women will vie to be crowned Clearfield County fair queen at the 26th annual competition on Sunday, July 27 on the Grandstand stage at the Clearfield County Fairgrounds.
Contestants were unveiled at a fair queen banquet Sunday evening. The current fair queen is Taylor Rae Goodman of Curwensville. Both her first runner-up Chelsea Folmar of Luthersburg and her second runner-up Lyndsey Good of DuBois will return to this year’s competition.
Other contestants include: Tara Sample of Grassflat; Lydia Opalisky; Destiny Martell of Curwensville; Diane Thompson of Clearfield; Roza Nalley of LaJose; Kaylee Mulhollem of Bigler; Abby Jamison of Luthersburg; Melody Brady; Melanie Boop of West Decatur; and Emily Andrulonis of Treasure Lake.
The guest speaker for the evening was Jana Davidson, the 1999 Clearfield County fair queen and 2000 Pennsylvania fair queen. She said she was both honored and humbled to be invited as the guest speaker with the fair queen program being so special to her.
Davidson, however, wanted past fair queens to help her portray the program as more than wearing a crown and sash. She read from a collection of reflections from past fair queens who shared about being honored to represent their fair and community while also gaining “life-changing” opportunities to learn about agriculture, to raise funds for charity and to network within their community, etc.
Davidson pointed out she’s spent 17 years, which accounts for half of her life, with the fair queen program. During that time, she said she’s grown not only as a person, but also as an ambassador for agriculture. Davidson encouraged this year’s contestants to increase their knowledge of agriculture beyond the facts and figures of why it’s the state’s No. 1 industry.
Davidson also shared about her involvement in 4-H, which is more than a “horse” program. She said it offers shooting sports, robotics, fishing and gardening, as well as leadership and public speaking programs.
Although not all past fair queens have 4-H backgrounds, Davidson encouraged the contestants to learn about the program. She told them to ask a lot of questions about the 4-H exhibitors’ projects during fair week.
By stepping out and competing, Davidson said the contestants were already winners. Regardless of the competition’s outcome, she encouraged them to stay involved for the experience and the opportunities that come with it. “Don’t disappear,” said Davidson. “This experience will be what you make it.”
Davidson reminded contestants that if crowned fair queen, they will represent something more than themselves. “You’ll be representing so many more people – your fair, your community; you’ll be a role model within this community,” she said. “You’ll have to look the part at all times. If you’re wearing your crown and sash, you’ll also have to be wearing a smile.”
Fair Manager Greg Hallstrom explained to contestants that the Clearfield County Fair is the fourth largest in the state. He further noted that it was the largest fair under the leadership of volunteers. “You’ll be representing a lot more people than yourself,” he said. “But we’re all behind you.”
Hallstrom then shared about 2010 Fair Queen Halee Kephart. When she first entered the fair queen program, he said she couldn’t even look anyone in the eye to speak to them. “Now, look at her. She’s a social butterfly.
“You take away more than the crown. It’s the increased esteem and it’s the scholarship, networking and career opportunities that you take away from it, too.”
The fair queen competition consists of both off- and on-stage segments. The first is a personal essay about what the Clearfield County Fair means to the community in the eyes of the contestants. Contestants have already submitted their personal essays.
On the day of the competition, contestants will take part in a personal interview with a panel of judges. Judges will pose questions to the contestants about the fair, agriculture and information submitted in their personal biographies.
Contestants will then take part in the on-stage competition. This consists of a three- to five-minute speech about why visitors should come to the fair and an evening gown competition with a personal introduction.
Judges will select the Top 5 contestants and each will be asked the same impromptu question. From the Top 5, judges will select the fair queen and her first- and second runners-up.
The Clearfield County Fair will run from Sunday, July 27 through Saturday, Aug. 2. The fair queen competition begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 27.