2009 Somerset County Fair Queen Emily Maurer

                The sun was beating on my sun burnt skin, the ice in my lemonade was melting into water, and I smelled like a barn, but through all of these imperfections I was exactly where I wanted to be.  I have called the Somerset County Fair home during the final week in August for almost ten years now.  As a child, I kept a countdown until the fair and I looked forward to all of the events the fair had to offer.  However, there was one major event that I have not missed since day one, the crowning of the fair queen.

            Like every other young girl, I would search for the queen throughout to week just to catch a glimpse and admire her movement and interaction with everyone, she was always so graceful.  Somewhere between the sparkling crown and her contagious smile, I got lost.  I longed to be just like her.

            As I grew older I began to understand the true meaning of the fair queen.  The fair queen embodies the Somerset County Fair at its best.  She exhibits pride not only in America’s County, but also in the agricultural excellence our fair demonstrates.  I felt that as an active member of 4-H, it was my duty to compete for the title.

            My dreams of wearing that crown and sash came true last August when I was crowned the 2009 Somerset County Fair Queen at the age of 17.  The feeling of accomplishment had flooded my body at the previous queen and close friend of mine, Shelby Baird, placed the beautiful crown on my head.  Although the preparation and practice for the contest was over, I knew my journey was just beginning.

            From the moment the crown was positioned on my head, I threw all of my daily routines to the side and even became somewhat nocturnal the week of the fair.  My experience of the Somerset County Fair during my reign as queen was completely different from the years before.  I had attended almost every event possible, awarded hardworking 4-H and FFA members with ribbons, announced different activities, and I was even able to speak on the radio.  The fair flew by very quickly as I rose with the rooster and finally went to sleep around midnight.  However, I knew my adventure would still continue.

            I traveled to Hershey as a competitor in the state competition in January.  Although terrified, I played it off as I met 59 amazing young ladies who all hoped for one thing, the title of the Pennsylvania State Fair Queen.  Along with my knowledge of the many different fairs in our state, I returned to Somerset County with the recognition as placing in the top 5 of 60 girls.  I was so thankful for the opportunity placed upon me, to represent this great county.

            I have also had many other gratifying experiences as queen.  I was able to ride in numerous parades and I was rewarded the opportunity to speak at different conventions where I would share interesting facts and memories of the Somerset County Fair.

            There are many people I owe a huge “Thank you” to for my success.  I would first like to thank the fair board.  With your support and complete dedication, you truly made me feel like royalty.  I never realized how much time and effort was put into making the fair what it is today, and with your continuing contributions, the fair is an even bigger success each year.

            To Jeff and Jill Romesberg, you both have been there for me the entire week of the fair and beyond.  From the free milkshake passes to rides in the VIP golf cart, your generosity has overflowed.  You are two of the most welcoming and caring people I have met.

            To Shelby Baird, you were always such an amazing friend to me.  I want to thank you for the inspirational talks we have shared at 4-H State Days, you are such a strong person and I admire your ability to walk against the wind.  You have represented Somerset County as queen very well.

            To Donnie and Debbie Miller, your continuing support for me was such a help through this whole process.  From the day of the contest, you have both been my “cheerleaders,” and my drive to keep going.

            To Amy Fullerton, thank you so much for being such an amazing coordinator.  I am thankful for your youthfulness and knowledge of the contest and without your support I could not have excelled like I have.  I might have gotten lost on my way to your house, but the support you gave in return was completely worth it.

            To Larry and his favorite wife, Gale Hay, I would have never been a competitor at the state level if it was not for you both.  Although you pointed out every little imperfection, I realize now that it truly made a huge difference.  Not only have I used your advice for the contest, but I have applied it to my daily life.

            To my grandparents, thank you for being witnesses and supporters during this journey of mine.  Looking out and seeing you both in the crowd filled me with so much confidence and made me strive to make you proud.

            To my brothers, I know the whole pageant thing was not your cup of tea, but regardless you were there in support of me.  Thank you so much for being such great helpers at the fair, and I am kind of sad there is not an excuse for you to wait on me this year.

            To my sisters, you both have made huge impacts on my life.  Megan, you have given me such knowledge and strength not only in this contest, but in my life.  Sarah, your wit continues to amaze me and I know that I can turn to you for a quick laugh.  I enjoyed spending almost every second at the fair with you because when I felt like I was falling through, you made my day so much better.

            To my princess, Daniele Sechler, I am so glad to have met a person like you.  You remained at my side, day and night, when you did not have to.  I also enjoyed the chicken dinner provided by your mom, a break from the fair food was just needed.

            To Sarah Hemminger, Rachel Sanner, and Abby Gindlesperger, you were such an awesome court.  You did not have to help as much as you did, but you stuck it out.  I am so grateful for your optimism, kindness, and effort put into making my week less stressful.  Words cannot thank you all enough.

            To my paparazzi, Branden, you took amazing pictures!  Thank you for being my “noble steed” and helping me with anything and everything I needed.  I am going to miss you following me with your camera.

            To my parents, everything I did, I did for you.  You watched from the sidelines as I attended all of the events that came with being queen and you both were so supportive.  Without your complete love and motivation, my dreams of being the fair queen would have never come true.  I love you both so much and I will always be your princess.

            I will return to the fair this year with the same eagerness as when I was a young child.  Knowing that I have dedicated my time and talents to my fair, I feel a sense of achievement.  I have made many new memories and met so many new people that have positively changed my life.  My reign as the 2009 Somerset County Fair Queen was one of the most rewarding experiences that I was blessed to have.  I am so thankful to represent our county and fair.

            2009 Somerset County Fair Queen, Emily Maurer