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2013 Johnson County 4-H and Agriculture Fair queen contestants. Mike Wolanin / Daily Journal
2013 Johnson County 4-H and Agriculture Fair queen contestants. Mike Wolanin / Daily Journal

She is expected to taste the fruit pies and stroll through the cattle barn at the fairgrounds.

The Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair queen gives out nearly every blue ribbon during the fair, cheers on derby drivers and has lunch with community members daily.

Months after the fair ends, she will go to events across the community.

Twenty girls are vying for the job that requires at least 12-hour days and poise. They want to become the face of the county.


Picking a fair queen is one of the first events of the fair. The contest is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the indoor arena.

The queen will be expected to have a smile on her face the whole week of the fair, even after 13-hour days greeting fairgoers in the hot sun.

Miss Johnson County will represent the county in the state fair and will go to community events throughout the year.

A Johnson County Fair queen needs to be outgoing, Valli Shattuck, fair queen superintendent, and 2012 queen Bridgette Hardamon said.

People approach the queen all day at the fair. Little girls ask to try on the crown.

Half of their score is based on questions they answer from the judges. The rest is based on professional and formal wear the night of the contest.

“You’re not just the girl in the crown, you are on the spot, and you have to talk to everyone that comes up to you,” Hardamon said.

This year, girls will be asked to answer a live question on stage. The practice is a staple at the state fair, and Johnson County winners were at a disadvantage without the experience, Shattuck said.

Regardless of their public speaking skills, the queen should know how to interact with the public, Shattuck and Hardamon said.

Being a queen can be fun and glamorous, but a lot of work,

Hardamon said.

Everyone who goes to the fair will likely see the queen and her court handing out ribbons or walking the midway.

Court members are among the first fairgoers to arrive and the last to leave, Hardamon said.

Fair royalty also make appearances at community events throughout the year, talking to girls at Girls Inc., or volunteering at food banks, Hardamon said.

Part of their job is helping the next crop of Miss Johnson County hopefuls prepare for the pageant.

“You are Miss Johnson County for the whole year of the reign,” she said. “The queen is utilized to be an ambassador.”

All the work is worth it, Hardamon said.

One of the best parts of being a queen is seeing the other side of the fair, she said.

The queen and her court are everywhere and often go to events they never got the chance to see before, Hardamon said.

“I got to get dressed up and meet tons of people,” she said.

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