On the first day of this year’s Lebanon Area Fair, Madison Copenhaver was crowned the 2023 Lebanon Area Fair Queen, and Kylee Williams as the 2023 Alternate Lebanon Area Fair Queen, by 2022 Lebanon Area Fair Queen/2023 PA Fair Queen Chloe Bomgardner.

Madison Bomgardner also competed for the area’s coveted title.

Read more about Chloe Bomgardner’s reign:

A tractor-pulled wagon float, sponsored by Wengers of Myerstown, escorted the four young women to the coronation ceremony. The ceremony, which started at 5 p.m. on July 22, was well-attended, with people taking their seats in the pavilion more than half an hour before.

Kylee Williams, Madison Bomgardner, Madison Copenhaver, and Chloe Bomgardner exit the float. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Nadine Moore, former fair queen coordinator, and Melanie Schaeffer, former emcee, announced at last year’s fair queen contest that they would be stepping down from their positions. Andrea Harrell and Ashley Bishop serve as the new fair queen organizers.

The fair queen contest changed with the change in organizers, with more changes still to come.

From left to right: Ashley Bishop, Madison Bomgardner, Kylee Williams, Madison Copenhaver, and Andrea Harrell. (Lexi Gonzalez)

The Lebanon Area Fair Queen’s duties are to participate in activities throughout the week of the fair, which may involve public speaking, working at the welcome center, selling tickets, serving at the food stands, helping with children’s day activities, and delivering ribbons at shows, as well as representing the fair throughout the year.

To become a Lebanon Area Fair Queen candidate, an individual must meet the qualifications and submit an application. This year’s three candidates were interviewed by a panel of judges – Katelyn Callahan, Ally Rudy, and Megan Stock – earlier on Saturday.

The 2023 Lebanon Area Fair Queen, the 2023 Alternate Lebanon Area Fair Queen, and the 2023 Lebanon Area Fair Queen candidate pose with this year’s panel of judges. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Callahan reigned as the 2015 Elizabethtown Fair Queen. She is now a licensed auctioneer in Pennsylvania and an employee at Wood Fabricators.

Rudy was a member of 4-H and is now a club leader. She reigned as the 2011 Gratz Fair Queen and served as the fair queen coordinator for five years. She lives with her husband on a farm in Halifax, raising sheep and rabbits to show. She also judges rabbit shows and master showing contests at county fairs across Pennsylvania.

Stock participated in 4-H, winning second in the chicken barbeque contest at the National 4-H Poultry Conference. She is now a certified veterinary technician and an employee at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, focusing on exotic and zoo medicine. She lives with her husband on a farm in New Oxford, where they raise beef cattle and pigs and grow various crops.

Opening this year’s coronation ceremony, Hope Wagner, a member of 4-H and Little Dutchman FFA, played the violin alongside Wendy Horning, a resident of South Annville Township, on the keyboard. The pair has also performed at the PA Fair Queen contest.

Hope Wagner and Wendy Horning open the coronation ceremony with live music. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Tyler Shaw emceed this year’s queen contest. He participated in 4-H, showing animals at the Lebanon Area Fair. Shaw and his wife farm full-time in Lebanon and Dauphin counties.

During the coronation ceremony, Shaw introduced the candidates, who were escorted by a plus one. The candidates briefly introduced themselves and delivered three- to five-minute prepared speeches about why people should attend the Lebanon Area Fair.

Tyler Shaw served as emcee for the coronation ceremony. A literal red carpet, large potted ferns, white silky sashes, and a chair fit for a queen served as decor for the ceremony. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Eighteen-year-old Madison Bomgardner recently graduated from Northern Lebanon High School and will attend Penn State this fall. She was a member of FFA for five years, holding office for three years. Through 4-H, she raised steer, market hogs, sheep, and goats, and showed them at local fairs, jackpots across the state, and the PA Farm Show. She was also a member of the Lebanon County 4-H Livestock Club for nine years, where she also held office. She helps with her family’s beef herd and commercial layer hen houses in Annville.

Bomgardner’s speech acknowledged how the fair began: attempting to bring 4-H and FFA members together at a small fair without a permanent location, and how the fair has grown, bringing more than 50,000 people of all backgrounds together at the Lebanon Expo Center.

She said the fair’s pride in its traditions, specifically in its food, sets it apart from other local fairs. “Nothing screams Lebanon County pride like a massive bologna sandwich,” Bomgardner said in reference to the record-breaking bologna sandwich constructed for this year’s fair.

Read More: Huge Lebanon bologna sandwich planned for Lebanon Area Fair as LCCM benefit

Madison Bomgardner delivers her prepared speech from behind the podium. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Sixteen-year-old Copenhaver was born and raised in Lebanon County and will start her senior year at Cedar Crest High School this fall. She is the current vice president of Cedar Crest FFA, competing in parliamentary procedure and participating in the ag issues team. She has also participated in the 4-H Friends Club since the age of 8 and is the president.

Copenhaver captured the fair’s wide range of events, entertainment, games, rides, livestock, exhibits, food vendors, and non-food vendors. Farmer’s night and vanilla peach sundaes were deemed her personal favorites.

Madison Copenhaver delivers her prepared speech away from the podium. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Eighteen-year-old Williams graduated from Annville-Cleona High School this year and will major in surgical technologies at Central Penn College this fall. She was involved in FFA, served as assistant secretary for the Lebanon County 4-H Livestock Club, and reigned as the 2022 Alternate Lebanon Area Fair Queen. She raises market hogs and other project animals on her grandfather’s farm.

Williams’ speech focused on the fair’s focus on agriculture, community, family traditions, new and trendy entertainment, and learning opportunities. She also described her experience as the 2022 Alternate Lebanon Area Fair Queen, through which she gained a behind-the-scenes perspective.

Kylee Williams delivers her prepared speech from behind the podium. (Lexi Gonzalez)

The three candidates then selected a slip of paper with a printed impromptu question out of a basket held by Chloe Bomgardner. The candidate silently read the question once before the 2022 Lebanon Area Fair Queen read it out loud twice, giving the candidate time to think before responding.

Madison Bomgardner’s impromptu question: “What do you think are your generation’s most beneficial assets for the agricultural industry?”

Madison Bomgardner’s response: Through 4-H and FFA, she is surrounded by incredible leaders, public speakers, and people who will help the county flourish when they are adults.

Copenhaver’s impromptu question: “If chosen as the Lebanon Area Fair Queen, how would you promote your fair and your community?”

Copenhaver’s response: Although the fair is already great at promoting, she would also reach out to local restaurants and businesses to see if they could post promotional flyers with tabs or QR codes. She would also reach out to local schools to see if they could pass out flyers, promoting the fair as an opportunity to learn about agriculture.

Williams’ impromptu question: “If you could change one thing about your fair, what would it be and why?”

Williams’ response: Although the Lebanon Area Fair already offers entertainment for people of all ages and backgrounds, she would increase the entertainment options to increase the likelihood that people would return to the fair throughout the week.

While the panel of judges deliberated, Shaw acknowledged other royalty in attendance, which included the 2022 Elizabethtown Fair Queen and the 2022 Alternate Elizabethtown Fair Queen. Shaw announced the scholarship recipients.

Six of the eight scholarship recipients. (Lexi Gonzalez)

Madison Bomgardner, Blayne Heisey, Erin Shuey, and James Voight each received a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by the Lebanon Area Fair barbeque committee.

Read more about these scholarship recipients:

Rachel Bohr, Grace Bomgardner, Shay Miller, and Aubrey Nolt each received a scholarship for the same amount sponsored by the Lebanon Area Fair scholarship program.

Read more about these scholarship recipients:

The audience stood to welcome Chloe Bomgardner, who was escorted by her father.

During her farewell speech, the former queen recognized the knowledge she gained, the leadership skills she developed, and the career in agriculture she readied herself for as she represented the Lebanon Area Fair at events, fairs, and parades across the state this past year.

She thanked her family members, Moore, and Schaeffer, and celebrated her friendships with Williams and other royalty.

Wagner and Horning played a medley of popular songs until the panel of judges returned. Shaw announced their decision to crown Kylee Williams as the 2023 Alternate Lebanon Area Fair Queen and Madison Copenhaver as the 2023 Lebanon Area Fair Queen.

The Lebanon Area Fair Board, Blue Mountain Farms, Grumbine’s Flowers, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Hair Affair, Tim McGowan Studios, and Hope Wagner also sponsored the 2023 Lebanon Area Fair Queen contest.

Coming to the 2024 Lebanon Area Fair is a princess contest for girls between the ages of 9 and 12 who are interested in participating in the queen contest in the future. More information will be posted on the fair’s website at the turn of the year.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Do you want to see more from LebTown?

Support local news. Cancel anytime.

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.

Lexi Gonzalez is a reporter for LebTown. She is currently completing her bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College.


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Your email address will be kept private.