The Falconer

100 years and still sparkling

Ashley Jennelle, Staff Writer

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As some of you may know, this year is the 100th Anniversary of the Shenandoah County Fair. One of the many events at the fair is the Shenandoah County Fair Pageant. Throughout the year these girls are wearing their crown and sash in parades, at events in the county, and a lot more. Some of these girls serve almost 75 hours of community service throughout the year. Since this is the 100th Anniversary, the Fair Pageant committee decided to invite all the past Miss Shenandoah County Fair Queens to come and watch the pageant. During the festivities, they enjoyed a luncheon and were presented onstage during the pageant. 

Tiffany Newland spoke with The Falconer staff about this year’s pageant. Tiffany has served as the Director of the Shenandoah County Fair Pageant for the last seven years. She is a former Mrs. Shenandoah County Fair herself and has over 20 years of pageant experience, the majority being with the Shenandoah County Fair.

What do you look for in a fair queen? “So what I look for in a fair queen is someone who has the All American girl next door appeal, somebody that feels comfortable speaking in front of crowds, yet at the same time they can also be comfortable in a small atmosphere,” Newland said.  “When a fair queen comes to the fair she is going to be introduced to hundreds upon thousands of people during fair week, especially with this year being the 100th Anniversary. She needs to be able to go up to anybody of any age or demographic and communicate with them. They may ask her about the fair, the county or even herself. The main thing is she needs to be comfortable communicating and speaking with them. More importantly she needs to engage with people and be approachable, this queen needs to be approachable at all times. Now for the younger ones, we want girls who have the big personality and that want to be there, and you can just picture them picture them dancing and laughing down the midway with a big smile on their face! But now back to the older girls, we do look for a sense of maturity, or more importantly, that they want it for the right reasons. We want our girls to almost want this as a part time job.”

What sort of things do you ask your fair queens to do? “First and foremost throughout the year we want the girls to be present in the community,” Newland said. “The first mandatory appearance of course is fair week. All fair queens are required to attend the ribbon cutting on the very first day of the fair. Based on how their schedules allow, we like for them to be at the fair as much as possible. Again, with this being the 100th Anniversary, it is extremely important especially for the Miss queen. Then outside of fair week there is still 51 weeks of the year that they can represent their title. We ask them to ride in parades. It is great publicity, but more importantly it actually promotes the program as a whole because of the little girls seeing fair queens and looking up to them/ wanting to be a princess. However, the heart and sole of it comes down to the fair queen using her crown as a microphone. Does she use that crown as a microphone to go out in the community and do good.”

We were lucky to Interview Bridgette Fisher. Bridgette has served as a director of the Shenandoah County Fair Scholarship Pageant for the last seven years. She is a former Miss Page Valley Fair, and has a lot of pageant experience including serving as the Page Valley Fair Director before coming to the Shenandoah County Fair.

What do you look for in a fair queen? “We want someone who is genuine and can relate to everyone in the public,” said Fisher. “Someone who can go from being dressed up in an evening gown to then chasing pigs or being asked questions by the public and the media and answering them on her own opinions without hesitation. We want someone with a bubbly personality who can talk to young and old alike! Someone who will represent our county well at Miss VAF (Virginia Association of Fairs). We don’t expect them to win by any means, but we want them to have fun and make the most out of not only fair week, but Miss VAF.”

What sort of things do you ask your fair queens to do throughout the year? “Well, first and foremost we ask them to do as many events in the county as possible,” Fisher said. “We make it mandatory that they come to the ribbon cutting at the fair. Especially this year because it is the 100th anniversary. For the Miss, that is the only thing we require them to do because of the going to college and because school comes first. But we love for them to attend as much as possible during the week of the fair.”

Kessa Hawkins  was crowned as the Miss Shenandoah County Fair 2016 and not only had the opportunity to represent our community for the year, but also competed at the Miss Virginia Association of Fairs. This pageant involved all of the other Miss Fair Queens in the state. She is very active in the community and her platform is Ronald McDonald House.

What kind of things have you done as a fair queen? “Something that I have done as a fair queen was being there every day of the fair,” Hawkins said. “As a part of my platform I worked with the Ronald McDonald House. I also rode in parades along with the other fair queens. As a group, we also helped promote and organize events for the 100th Anniversary of the fair.”

What do you ask the next Miss Shenandoah County Fair to do as she takes your place? “What I ask of the next Miss Shenandoah County Fair is that she stays true to herself and blinded by the negativity, but at the same time use the negativity from others as determination,” Hawkins said. “And to really work on her platform and spread the word around the community.

We were also so very lucky to interview the 2017 Miss Shenandoah County Fair, Kylie Stottlemyer. Kylie is a recent graduate from Central High School and is beyond excited to be going to Mary Baldwin University to study Forensic Criminology and Pathology.”

Now that you have won, what do you plan on doing with your title throughout the year? Being that is the 100th Anniversary of the fair, I plan to do a lot with my title as Miss Shenandoah County Fair,” Stottlemyer said. “First off, my main focus is going to be promoting the fair. Though, through my reign I will be doing a lot of community service within the county and outside of the county as I head to Mary Baldwin University in Staunton.”

What is your platform and what have you done with it? “My platform is Voices Against Violence,” Stottlemyer said. “Through my platform I plan to create a voice for both victims and families that have witnessed and experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. During my reign, I will be spreading awareness to the community about this topic through creating badges for both girl scouts and boys scouts, presentations to all ages, and doing a lot of volunteer work through Response and my internship through the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office.”

So as you can see, the 2017 Miss Shenandoah County Fair means a lot to the people we were able to interview. Although it was a very busy weekend for some, The new 2017 Miss Shenandoah County Fair Queens are beyond excited for their year ahead!

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