The winner of the upcoming fair queen pageant will be a recognizable face in the county for the next year as she rides in parades, gives children ribbons and competes statewide.

The woman named the 2017 Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair Queen will read to elementary school children throughout the year and attend nearly every event at the fair.

She will spend 16-hour days at the fair, where she will give out ribbons to 4-H’ers, participate in the Farmer’s Olympics and taste banana dishes from bakers across the county.

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A new fair queen will be named Sunday, with 14 local young women vying to be the face of the fair.

Being the fair queen is hard work, but the commitment is worth it, said Katie Ott, the 2016 queen.

“It is definitely worth all the work,” she said. “For the year, she will definitely be recognized around the county.”

The young woman chosen as queen must be ready to socialize with fairgoers and be ready for long, hot days traipsing around the fairgrounds, said Valli Shattuck, the fair board member who is in charge of the contest and the queen’s activities.

The next queen has to be ready for questions: questions about the fair, herself and the county, Shattuck said.

The person chosen as the queen will be a leader in the community. Little girls will look up to her year round, as they did at Ott during the 2017 Greenwood Freedom Festival.

“There were so many faces looking up,” she said. “You become kind of this leader of the community and they really look up to you.”

The queen must be outgoing and be able to think on her feet, so an interview with judges before the actual pageant is half of the contestant’s score, Shattuck said.

Out-of-county judges can ask the girls just about anything they want, she said.

Contestants might be asked who past fair queens were or who the mayor of Franklin is.

Odd and unique questions will be asked too, Shattuck said.

In asking those questions, judges are looking for a young woman who can field questions from fairgoers throughout the week, she said.

“It is more how they handle on-the-spot thinking,” Shattuck said. “They can have anything thrown at them.”

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

The queen should expect very long days the week of the fair.

She will be crowned late Sunday night and will immediately be on duty for media interviews and chatting with fairgoers.

The queen should expect 16-hour days. During the 2016 fair, Ott and her court started their day at the fair at 6 a.m. and didn’t leave the fairgrounds until 1 a.m. the next day, she said.

She must always be ready to greet the crowds and to have a smiling face out at the fair, said Shattuck.

“They are at every single event,” she said.

Duties also expand past the fair.

Ott and her court built and rode on parade floats and golfed and handed out trophies at a fundraiser.

She is still on duty until Sunday evening and has spent the last weeks of her reign getting the new crop of contestants ready for the demands of being a fair queen.

The biggest key to success to being the fair queen is to be yourself, Ott said.

“Whoever the girl is, being true to themselves,” she said. “Whoever they are on the inside, let that shine through.”

MEET THE CONTESTANTS

Here are the 14 young women vying to become the 2017 Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair Queen

Ciera Adams, 19, Franklin, daughter of Larry and Ruth Adams

Reilly Beaman, 18, Franklin, daughter of Jeff and Gretchen Beaman

Caitlin Booe, 19, Bargersville, daughter Scott and Becky Booe

Hartlee Chadwell, 18, Franklin, daughter of Terry and Roxane Chadwell

Katelyn Dearth, 19, Franklin, daughter of Mike and Traci Dearth

Emily Dougherty, 19, Greenwood, daughter of Matthew and Amy Dougherty

Hailey Farmer, 18, Whiteland, daughter of Ed and Jennifer Johnson

Allyssa Giddens, 19, Whiteland daughter of Patrick and Jennifer Giddens

Nikita Klotzsche, 19, Franklin, daughter of Brad and Cari Klotzsche

Kailee Lawson, 18, Greenwood, daughter of Joe Lawson and Jamie Suchotzky

Elaina Robards, 18, Indianapolis, daughter of Gary and Marla Robards

Kourtni Strahla, 20, Greenwood, daughter of Rick and Ronda Strahla

Megan Webb, 20, Greenwood, daughter of Troy and Sandy Webb

Bailey Wood, 18, Greenwood, daughter of Jessica Lawson and Mike Wood

If you go

What: 2017 Fair Queen Contest

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Indoor arena at the Johnson County fairgrounds

Cost: Free

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