Danielle Shaffer

2007 Somerset County Fair

 

 

2007 Somerset County Fair Queen Danielle Shaffer

 

As a young child, I can remember the excitement we felt for the approaching fair week. I cannot begin to describe the importance of the Somerset County Fair to myself and my family. This year was extremely special for us as I held the position of 2007 Somerset County Fair Queen. It has been both an honor and a joy to serve as a representative both of the Somerset County Fair Association and of every person who enjoys and supports the Fair. As many of you may recall, we received a great deal of rain during the 2007 Somerset County Fair held August 18-25. Unfortunately, a few events were cancelled but we all battled on through the rest. I often over pack for events, but this was one event where my bad habit served me well. Although I had to change my attire often, I greatly enjoyed handing out ribbons and visiting with guest and friends. It was a special privilege to award the special banners during the livestock shows, especially when they went to the young children I knew through the 4-H program. I was disappointed when the Mud Bog was cancelled. I was greatly looking forward to the Dash for Cash, but I enjoyed another muddy event instead during the rodeo. My partner and I won the barrel race, thanks to my trusty steed. Before we proceeded to the track, his wife heavily warned him about dropping me, especially since I was wearing a white shirt. Special thanks for not dropping me. I never imagined how many special memories I could acquire in one week, but many things are possible at the fair. During my interview at the state competition, I was asked a very interesting question If you were to construct a quilt of your fair, what would you include? At first, I considered what was important to me, for those would definitely need to be included. But then I realized that every single aspect of the fair would need to be included for the quilt to be a true representation. The comparison to a machine is often used as an example in situations such as this. The fair is no exception. For every part is important and if everything works together to run smoothly, the end result will be a success. Directors, volunteers, exhibitors, entertainers and visitors all contribute to make the fair great. What really sets our fair apart from others is the high level of agricultural exhibits. We can take pride in the large variety of excellent exhibits. Not only does our fair showcase these events, we also have a great opportunity to educate the general public about this industry. Through a better understanding, we can find a deeper level of respect and appreciation for those who are a part of this industry. I certainly love to eat and therefore greatly thank all those who work hard to provide a safe and abundant food supply. The role of any fair queen is to promote this vital industry. Every January, the State Fair Queen competition is held in Hershey, Pa., to select an individual who will adequately represent the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs and Pennsylvania Agriculture. I improved many personal skills through this process and enjoyed the time spent with our directors and other queens from across the commonwealth. To date, five talented young ladies from Somerset County have attained the title of Pennsylvania State Fair Queen. This tradition sets high standards for those who have followed. This year, I fell short of this honor by a very short margin. Although I did not win the crown, I place in the Top 5 of 53 other capable contestants. If not for my family, I would never have become involved in this exciting event. Although they are at times very trying, they definitely do not lack support. My family is quite a crew; sometimes Im pretty sure they have things a little backward. Most of the adults take off work during the week of the fair and sometimes we go to the beach. It seems as though we have never had a real week of vacation. We either work or find some way to be constantly busy. Our fair work has always begun much earlier in the year than most others, with constant phone calls beginning in January. I have grown up surrounded by the many fair board directors. For years, both my family and the directors have been mentors and supporters to me. This year has been no different. Im sure a simple thank you doesnt quite cover everything, but I still must say it. I must especially  thank my grandfather, Byron and my grandma, Judy. It has always been said about their involvement as its just in their blood.  I think Ive got a little of that too.I must also thank everyone who helped during the week. Thanks to my Aunt Christie for helping me get all dressed up for the contest and helping with my dress. She really does work miracles. Thank you to all who constantly fixed my crown when it shifted. Thanks to all who helped me with my livestock exhibits, especially my (first) steer. It was difficult at times just to get to the barn to feed. Thank you to Darlene for taking me in parades this past summer. Most importantly, thank you to everyone who had to deal with me when I was stressed out, I hope to someday become as patient as you all had to be. I hope I have made you all proud. To the 2008 Somerset County Fair Queen, I wish you the very best. Enjoy the special position you hold and view it as a learning experience. Dont stress when things begin to get difficult. If you ever need anything, I promise I will help you. Remember to bring duct tape; it came in handy for me. Enjoy every moment of our fair and every event you will attend after, the year goes very quickly. Smile always, even when your lips begin to quiver. Good luck in the State Competition in Hershey. At times it will seem as if being queen is all about you, but it is truly about the people of the fair community that you represent. They are very special people and I am sure a very special person will represent them this year.