Every year, a few young women in Lebanon County compete to earn the title of the Lebanon Area Fair Queen. Well, almost every year.
Last year, no Fair Queen was crowned due to the ongoing pandemic, and the 2019 Fair Queen Shay Miller held her crown for an extra year. Saturday, however, she passed on her title to the new 2021 Fair Queen, Katie Shaak.
The Fair Queen is selected by three judges from the Lebanon County Educational Honor Society based on several rounds of competition. Results are based on a written essay, personal interview with the judges, a speech presentation, and an evening gown/introductions segment conducted immediately prior to the new Fair Queen being named.
This year was a close race, with only a 1.5 point difference between Shaak and Alternate Fair Queen Nina Stevenson. The maximum score is 100 points.
All three contestants — Shaak, Stevenson, and Joleen Bomgardner — introduced themselves and made brief impromptu speeches based on the following prompt: “The purpose of the PSACF [Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs] program is to promote the education of young women in Pennsylvania. How do you see yourself fulfilling this purpose?”
To be eligible to compete, the young women needed to be Lebanon County residents, current or former participants in Lebanon County 4-H programs for at least two years and between 16 and 20 years old, among other requirements.
2021 State Fair Queen Addison Neff of Elizabethtown also attended the ceremony. She was crowned in April following a competition taking place mostly over Zoom.
As the new Lebanon Area Fair Queen, Shaak will take on a variety of duties both at the fair and in future appearances. One is giving awards to kids, something Miller’s farewell speech noted as her favorite part of the role.
Shaak will hold her title until next year, when the cycle will repeat and she will crown the 2022 Fair Queen.
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