The Vernon County Fair Board will again sponsor the Fairest of the Fair contest. The Fairest will serve as the official hostess for the Vernon County Fair, Sept. 15-19. The Fairest will also represent the Vernon County Fair in the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs contest held in January 2022.
Candidates must be residents of Vernon County or the majority of their fair activities take place in the county. They must be a resident of the state of Wisconsin for at least a year prior to entry. They must be 18 years of age by Jan. 1, 2022, since the candidate will be required to travel.
Candidates must have a sponsor for the contest. Any business, youth or civic organization may sponsor a candidate. The sponsor fee is $30.
This year, the fair board is adding a Junior Fairest of the Fair. Junior Fairest candidates must be between the ages of 14 and 16, a Vernon County resident, or participate in fair activities in Vernon County (the majority of the fair activities must be in Vernon County). Just like the Fairest of the Fair candidates, the Junior Fairest candidates must have a sponsor for the contest. Any business, youth or civic organization may sponsor a candidate. The sponsor fee is $30.
The contest for both the Fairest of the Fair and the Junior Fairest will be held June 12 in Viroqua at the Vernon County Fairgrounds. Due to COVID-19 and the pandemic, the program will be closed to the public. Only parents of the contestants will be allowed to attend.
Applications will be available beginning April 26.
To obtain more information and the official entry rules for the contest, contact the Vernon County UW-Extension office at 608-637-5276, Angie Hornby at 608-606-3167 or download from the web at www.vernoncountyfair.com. Entry deadline is May 12. There will be a contestant meeting May 22 at 1 p.m., with the location to be determined.
Hornby, Vernon County Fairest of the Fair coordinator, said the Fairest of the Fair contestants will do an interview, present a 30-second introductory speech, create a radio ad promoting the fair, answer an impromptu question and draw a card to promote a specific event at the fair.
“It’s more comprehensive than for the Junior Fairest candidates and is set up like the state Fairest of the Fairs contest,” she said.
Junior Fairest of the Fairs candidates, Hornby said, will do an interview, create a radio ad promoting the fair and answer an impromptu question.
She said the Junior Fairest of the Fair was added as a way to expand the Fairest of the Fair program and encourage young ladies who might be interested in being Fairest to get involved as a junior candidate. “We look to use the junior program as a (feeder) for the Fairest program.”
Hornby researched other counties that have a Junior Fairest, and learned that Junior Fairests can see what role the Fairest plays in promoting a fair and become more interested in running when they become of age.
“We want to try to promote it as the Junior Fairest works alongside and with the Fairest,” Hornby said. “We hope to have her work independently and make the role her own to get the most out of the experience. We want it to be a positive for her and an opportunity for personal growth. It’s a great learning experience.”
Hornby said plans are in the works to have story time during the fair with milk and cookies being served while the Fairest of the Fair and the Junior Fairest of the Fair read a book. “We’re looking for more ways to engage with the younger crowd.”
“We’re looking forward to having a successful contest,” Hornby said. “We hope ladies will be interested to try the junior role and find out what the Fairest is all about.”
She said the Fairest program is modeled as a PR position. “She’s a fair ambassador and promotes the fair.” She said the main event for the Fairest is the Vernon County Fair, and there are a few other events before and after the fair, and most years, five parades.
People are advised to watch the fair’s Facebook page for Fairest of the Fair and fair updates.
Angela Cina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.