CLEARFIELD – Taylor Rae Goodman, 18, of Curwensville was crowned the Clearfield County Fair Queen during the 25th annual competition Sunday at the grandstand stage at the Clearfield Driving Park.
Goodman became only the second fair queen to be crowned as a first-time contestant. Shaina Williams Franson was the only other first-time contestant to win when she was crowned in 2000.
Goodman was crowned by 2012 Fair Queen Misti Bruner. She will be joined by first runner-up Chelsea Folmar, 18, of Luthersburg and second runner-up Lyndsey Good, 17, of DuBois.
“I was so anxious. It was my first year. I was excited but didn’t know what to think. There were just so many emotions,” said Goodman of the final moments on-stage prior to being crowned.
Because it was her first-ever fair queen competition, Goodman relied on close friend, Bruner, for guidance. The two friends held fair queen “workshops”; Goodman also studied fair-related facts with flashcards. But most importantly Bruner taught Goodman to believe in herself and to be confident.
“She said if I did that, I’d win,” said Goodman. Bruner also guided other contestants through this year’s competition but gleamed with joy over crowning Goodman. “It’s great to crown a friend,” said Bruner, “and I’ll be there for her every step of the way.”
During her speech presentation, Goodman compared the 153rd Clearfield County Fair to the state’s second leading export – lumber. She said a tree is made up of three major parts, or the crown, the trunk and the roots.
She said all three parts are equally important to making the tree flourish. However, she said the crown is the biggest part of the tree and is made up of many bits and pieces. She said if you looked throughout the fairgrounds, you will find all the bits and pieces it has to offer.
Since 2010 Goodman said Reithoffer Amusements has provided an extravagant selection of rides that draws many to the fair each year. Fairgoers, she said, wait for that one-time each year to taste unique foods, such as the chocolate-covered bacon and Dippy Pizza.
Because of the hard work of community members, she said the fair exhibits showcase fruits and vegetables, livestock and home-made goods. And, she couldn’t forget the “magic” that happens at the grandstand with the fair’s famous fireman’s parade and fireworks display and shows by the year’s most popular artists.
In addition, Goodman pointed out her fair is one of just 14 in Pennsylvania that still offers harness racing. And, Thursday night’s Truck and Tractor Pull, she said, is “real Pennsylvania entertainment.”
“Each of these branches plays a significant role in the fair,” she said, “and spreads every year to allow for new growth and development.”
According to her, the trunk of the tree is the support system, giving it strength, nourishment and protection. The community, she said, acts at the trunk each year by attending the fair. She said without all the people, the fair wouldn’t be thriving as the fourth largest in Pennsylvania.
Goodman said the fair board spends countless months to make everyone’s fair experience perfect. She said all of the individual communities appreciate each other’s talents and keep each other strong and firm like the trunk of the tree.
She described the roots as the “anchor” to keep the tree stable. She said it was the starting point for everything and the most important part of the tree. Originally she said the fair was started by the Clearfield County Agricultural Society and has been agricultural-based ever since.
With the ongoing support of youth programs, such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), Goodman said the fair will continue for future generations. She said the fair shows the dedication of the area to keep the state as a world leader of agriculture, lumber and food production.
“Just like all the beauty we live in . . . Every tree, every garden and every field. It all has a place,” said Goodman. “The Clearfield County Fair is a special tree. It’s the tree of life to this area.”
Nine girls competed in this year’s fair queen competition. Each contestant had to prepare an essay and complete a personal interview with the judges prior to Sunday afternoon’s competition.
During the on-stage portion of the competition, each contestant persuaded the judges and audience to visit their fair before the evening gown segment. Once the judges named the Top 5, each answered the same impromptu question.