By KAYLA HETRICK
2006 Somerset County Fair Queen
As my reign as the 2006 Somerset County Fair Queen reaches its end, I am overcome with feelings of sadness at its closure.
Since a very young age, the Somerset County Fair and its accompanying festivities have always meant something very special to me. Though I had attended the fair countless times as a young girl, I never imagined that the 2006 fair would be so different for me compared to fairs gone by. Not only did I spend a lot more time at the fairgrounds than as in years past, but I also attended more events at the fair than ever before.
I must admit that when I walked into that fair office bright and early Sunday morning and director Jeff Romesberg highlighted all of the events that I should definitely attend that day, I was a bit overwhelmed to say the very least. But with the constant help of many of the directors keeping me on task with positive encouragement, I can say that I made it through the entire week, rarely missing an event.
From Aug. 19-26, I attended event after event, many of which I had not experienced before. And even the events that I had already had the opportunity to participate in were very different with my new “importance” to the fair.
As the week progressed, I quickly discovered that I was not the only busy one in the area, especially when comparing my schedule with those of the 4-H and FFA animal exhibitors. These members are truly the people with the demanding schedules and I commend each and every one of them for their hard work and tireless effort.
Believe it or not, their involvement in agriculture is the reason that the Somerset County Fair holds such a high reputation in comparison to other fairs in the state of Pennsylvania. From animal shows to the pet parade, and grand stand events to frequent stops for a milkshake at the 4-H Dairy Bar, there was never a moment to spare while wearing the crown.
Though I enjoyed attending all of the events held at the Somerset County Fair, I would say that my favorite part was the influence that I had over young children. It is amazing how differently a small child reacts to a girl when she is wearing a sparkling crown and sash. I immensely enjoyed getting down on the same level of so many young, smiling faces obviously excited to be at the Somerset County Fair.
Beyond the children, I also enjoyed having an excuse to talk to everyone who attended the fair and to welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to the Somerset County Fairgrounds.
With such a busy schedule, the fair week flew by, but my duties as the Somerset County Fair Queen were far from over. Not only have I represented the fair in many parades and events since then, but I also had the opportunity to participate in the Pennsylvania State Fair Queen Contest held in Hershey. Although I was not a finalist and did not bring home the crown, I was able to walk away with many wonderful memories, a few extra pounds because of my vast intake of chocolate, and a sense of pride for my fair.
In the three days spent there, I was able to bond with the fair directors and their spouses, who showed me the greatest support in my quest for the state title. No matter how much time passes, I will never forget their kindness and all of their smiling faces.
Though the fair directors do seem like family, I must not neglect the fact that I do indeed have true blood relatives of my own. Through it all, my mom, dad, Aunt Patty, Uncle Jon, cousins and grandparents showed me more support than anyone could ever ask for. They believed in me more than I believed in myself and if it were not for their constant love, faith and support, I would not be writing this farewell right now. Without them, I would not have won.
And finally, to the lucky girl who will hold the title of the 2007 Somerset County Fair Queen: I only hope that you take this experience and have fun with it. Use it to meet new people, to learn about the Somerset County Fair and all those involved in it, and if nothing else, use it to get yourself a free chocolate milkshake at the 4-H Dairy Bar!
I can promise you that the 2007 Somerset County Fair will be one of the greatest (and fastest) weeks of your life. It will not be a disappointment if you remember to constantly smile, take a lot of pictures, and make the best of every situation that you encounter. Do not forget that those who are younger than you are looking up to you and watching your every move. In their eyes, you are a role model and that is a huge responsibility.
But most of all, remember that you only ever get the opportunity to be the Somerset County Fair Queen once in your life and you should cherish every single moment.