Judges looking for candidate with lively personality, poise


The winner will compete in a local celebrity milking contest and ride in a demolition derby car.

The young woman named the 2016 Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair Queen will taste sweet dishes at the baking contest, take photos with dozens of fairgoers and spend hours in the barns daily handing out ribbons to local 4-H’ers.

The new fair queen will be named Sunday and judges and community members will be looking to one of the 18 contestants to show that they can be the face of the fair during the events, and represent the county the rest of the year.

“We want someone to represent the county and who we are,” said Valli Shattuck, fair queen superintendent.

The young woman chosen as queen must be outgoing and be willing to answer the questions of fairgoers, allow children to take selfies with her and greet 4-H’ers as they are getting their prizes, she said.

An interview with the judges before the pageant on Sunday makes up half of the contestants’ scores.

Judges want to make sure the woman chosen can speak well, have a lively personality and has the poise fitting of a queen, Shattuck said.

“We find the interview is more important on how they will represent our county, not necessarily what they are wearing,” she said.

During the interview, the contestants must show that they are well versed in local events too. They could be asked a variety of questions, such as who the current county commissioners are and local information about the fair.

“They are approached by people in community, they have to be able to think on their feet,” she said.

Professional wear will make up 20 percent of their score and formal wear will round out their score at 30 percent.

The woman named the queen must have stamina.

She will receive her crown late Sunday night and will immediately spring into duty.

Early the next morning she will have interviews with media and she should expect to spend 16 to 17 hours a day at the fair, Shattuck said.

A camper for the queen and her court will be parked on the fairgrounds for them to use on the latest nights.

Even at the end of a 16- or 17-hour day, the queen has to make sure she is ready with a smile for any fairgoer she meets, said Samantha Morris, the 2015 fair queen.

Becoming the queen is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the queen should remember that when she is tired after a long day, fighting fair crowds or hot in 90 degree weather, she said.

“You will be hot, you will be tired and you will definitely be exhausted, you have to be happy all the time,” she said. “You can sleep the next week.”

The queen’s duties extend beyond the fair too.

Each day for lunch, a local restaurant will host the queen and her court, getting them off the fairgrounds and out into the community, Shattuck said.

After the run of the fair, Johnson County’s queen will represent the county at the state fair.

And throughout the year, she will be asked to participate in local events, depending on her school schedule, Shattuck said.

Morris read books to local elementary school students, attended a golf outing and will be at fair events that happen before Sunday’s pageant.

“People know who you are, even after the fair is over, they still connect it to the fair,” Morris said.

If you go

What: 2016 Fair Queen Contest

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Indoor arena at the Johnson County fairgrounds

Cost: Free

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.