CLEARFIELD – Rebecca Liddle, 19, of DuBois was crowned fair queen Sunday during the 31st annual competition on the opening day of the 159th Clearfield County Fair.
She was crowned on the grandstand stage by Jayna Vicary, who saw her reign as fair queen come to an end in the same spot it all started in a year ago.
Liddle, a three-time contestant, was the first runner-up in both 2017 and 2018. She’ll be joined in her court by First Runner-up Sarah Simcox, 18, and Second Runner-up Karter Bell, 17, both of Curwensville.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed about my entire life,” Liddle said moments after winning the competition. “I can’t wait to just take in this whole fair and make this the best week possible.”
During her timed-speech, Liddle said the Clearfield County Fair intertwines each of the senses to make for an “unforgettable” experience for both the young and old.
She said seeing and hearing, smelling and tasting and feeling all come together when you walk through the fairgrounds, and it’s almost impossible to not have your taste buds water.
Whether it’s Dippy Pizza, Mabel’s fries or another vendor that’s had a spot in the grounds for 50 years or longer, she said you would really have to try to find something you don’t like.
But she said the smells of the home-grown foods in the ag building, the dirt as horses go by in the grandstand during harness racing and the 4-H blue-ribbon livestock are what the fair is all about.
“The smells and tastes are endless,” Liddle said, “but they don’t even compare to the sights and sounds. There are so many things to see and do because it’s one of the largest fairs Pennsylvania has to offer.”
Throughout the grounds, she said you can hear the “buzzing” conversations of friends and family, big-time recording artists, such as Chase Rice in the grandstand and local artists on the grove stage.
As well, she said Monday night’s parade is a fair tradition that’s been around for over 70 years and that’s followed by the “bangs and booms” of spectacular fireworks.
“I can talk all day about the things you can see and do at this fair,” Liddle said, “but the only way you’ll get a true experience is to come for yourself.
“… And feeling, to me, is what I feel inside when I come into this fair. It’s the year-long anticipation followed by the excitement of fair week. It’s almost indescribable until you feel it for yourself.”
Liddle concluded, saying: “It’s all about feeling the pride and passion that people, like you, bring to this fair. It makes me want to come back again and again.”
Rachel Carr Davidson, fair queen committee member, gave a brief overview of the fair queen competition before the results were given.
The county competition closely resembles the Pennsylvania State Fair Competition, at which Liddle will represent the Clearfield County Fair.
According to Davidson, contestants had already completed a couple parts of the competition, including a personal essay on what the fair means to their community.
Before the on-stage competition, they had appeared for a personal interview with the panel of judges. They also had participated in a non-judged reception with the judges.
On-stage, contestants competed in a timed three- to five-minute speech on why people should come to their fair and an evening gown/personal introduction.
Due to having a small group of contestants this year, Davidson explained a top five wasn’t being selected, which is why each young woman answered the same impromptu question.
The impromptu question was between the years of 2012 and 2019, Pennsylvania has lost over 6,000 farms, what do you feel could be changed to support its number one industry – agriculture.
Liddle said it’s important to “shop local” and to purchase goods from local farmers. “… With them, we can keep their farms and the spirit of agriculture alive.”
The 2019 competition was in memory of the late Bob E. Day, who passed away in October and who had been its master of ceremonies since 1992.
As a tribute to Day, the long-time “voice” of the Clearfield County Fair Queen competition, local artist Heather Olson sang Carrie Underwood’s song “See You Again.”