Long, hot afternoons, tours of the barns, tasty funnel cakes, ferris wheel rides, bright lights and humid evenings every third week of August left me in wonder as a young girl. The Somerset County Fair, incomparable to any other event, drew me in each year. I loved every aspect of the fair, every sight, taste, and aroma. But more than anything else, I, like most young girls, admired the fair queen.
As I grew older I realized the reason why I made the girls my role models. They, for me, represented the essence of the fair, pride in Somerset County. As citizens of this region, we are proud of not only our history, but also continuance of agricultural excellence. As America’s County, we also have a strong sense of community, which is displayed each year at our friendly and family-oriented fair.
For six years, I lived and thrived during my weeklong stay at the fair. I raised and showed my swine, hoping one day to be one of the members of the court that handed me my hard-earned ribbons. Last year my dream came true as I was named the 2008 Somerset County Fair Queen at the age of 16. Every emotion from nervous to joyful surged through my body, but more than anything else, I knew that I was in for the time of my life.
It seemed that the time flew by as I participated in almost every event listed on the schedule. I was able to introduce shows, play with the children at the family games, call bingo, let little girls try on my crown, hand out trophies to astonished faces and was even duped into participating in the Dash for Cash at the Mud Bog on Tuesday night. However, even as my exhausting week came to a close, I knew that my fun was not yet over.
In January, I traveled to Hershey for the state competition. I met 53 amazing fair queens from across Pennsylvania. I became friends with many of the girls and was able to learn about their fairs. During my trip, I fostered a new love and appreciation for my hometown fair.
I have also had many other rewarding experiences as queen this year. I gladly presented my speech at the Berlin Community Fair Queen Contest. I also enjoyed riding in numerous parades and speaking to young children about the fair at the Boys and Girls Club in Somerset. Overall, my time as the Somerset County Fair Queen was amazingly wonderful.
I have many people to thank for a successful year. For their continued love and support, I would like to thank the fair board. I am so very glad that I was able to see first hand all of the hard work you put into the fair. Every one of you was generous, helpful and kind whenever I needed help or guidance. I would like to give special thanks to Jay for his chauffeuring skills and Mike for his ability to always make me smile.
To Byron and Judy Glessner, I am so grateful to have grown closer to you. You are truly amazing people that I can now happily consider part of my “fair family.”
To Danielle Shaffer, you have been a fantastic friend and truly an inspiration to me through out the years I have known you. Thank you for all of the fun memories that we share.
To “Uncle” Donnie and Debbie Miller, I cannot thank you enough for your help. You cared for my every need, whether it be calming my nerves or providing a quiet place for me to crash.
To Darlene and Amy Fullerton, thank you for your wonderful job with the fair queen program. Darlene, I especially appreciate you and your red Corvette when we ride in parades together.
To Larry and Gale Hay, I would not be where I am today without you. Thank you for your patience and the confidence I gained because of your help.
To MJ and the Knapp family, I am so thankful that I have gotten to know such terrific people. You have been nothing but caring and supportive in all of my endeavors.
To Aunt Sandy, thank you for your assistance in the “beauty department.” You always make me look and feel beautiful.
To my grandparents, thank you for attending every important event in my life. I hope that I can always make you proud.
To my brother Garrett, thank you for your unusual and sweet encouragement. You always make me laugh at all the right times. Although you are already taller than I am, I take pride in saying that you are my little brother.
To my parents, there is not enough space in this entire book to thank you for all that you have done. You have been the model parents, always willing to run me to any meeting or practice. You have taught me to believe in myself and to never give up. I am so thankful for your wisdom, support and love. I promise that I will forever be your little girl.
I now look forward to attending the fair again this summer. I know that from the moment that I arrive, the fair will embody the very same spirit that it did for me as a little girl. So now, I ask you to go and take pleasure in the beauty of the events for yourself. Take in every enchanting sight, taste, and aroma. Remember, the fair only comes once a year. Enjoy every minute.
2008 Somerset County Fair Queen,                                              GET QUEEN CONTEST INFO HERE
Shelby Baird