2014 Somerset County Fair Queen

JULIA HAY    

    After a week spent with my best friend, caring for her livestock, riding the swings, eating cheese fries, and admiring the queen, I fell in love with the Somerset County Fair. Every aspect fascinated me; the senior exhibitors who made showing their livestock seem effortless, the fair queen navigating the muddy fair grounds with beauty and grace, and the smiling faces of every person I met. I knew I would never want to spend the last week of August anywhere else.

 

    At eleven years old, I showed my first market goat at the Somerset County Fair. That year, I also dressed as a “Future Fair Queen” with Joece and Jancy Lynn in the Pet Parade. We admired the fair queen so much, even our goats wore tutus and sashes. Something about the sparkling crown, contagious smile, and passion for the fair made me want to be just like the queen.

 

    My dream came true last August when I was named the 2014 Somerset County Fair Queen at the age of 17. It is a feeling I can’t even describe when a dream becomes reality. I was thankful, honored, and excited for the journey ahead of me.

 

    The next morning I awoke to my crown beside my bed and my picture in the paper, but it still felt surreal. My experience at the Somerset County Fair during my reign as the fair queen was unforgettable. I attended every event possible with the help of my princesses, awarded hundreds of ribbons to deserving 4-H and FFA members, announced all the events, and spoke on the radio. Even with my busy schedule, I was nominated by a young 4-Her and participated in the trending ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, showed my pigs and won Champion County Born and Raised Market Swine, and judge the swine portion of the Supreme Showmanship Contest. My week was magical.

 

    When the fair drew to a close, my journey was just beginning. In January I traveled to Hershey for the Pennsylvania State Fair Queen Contest. I met 57 other beautiful and talented young women from across Pennsylvania who share the same passion for their fairs as I do. I left states with countless new friends and a greater appreciation for my fair and hometown.

 

    Throughout my reign I have been blessed with opportunities to share my love for the fair. I rode in parades, spoke at events, and interacted with elementary school children, teaching them about agriculture and the fair.

 

    I owe a huge “thank you” to so many people for contributing to my success as fair queen. First, I would like to thank the fair board. Because of your hard work, dedication, and passion the fair is a success every year. You make it all possible, thank you!

 

    To Jeff and Jill Romesberg, Jay and Dutch Hemminger, and Byron and Judy Glessner, thank you for supporting me through my entire journey; from the fair to states your support was unconditional.

    To Paul and Stacy Wheeler, thank you for everything. Stacy, thank you for telling my parents when I was ten that getting a goat was a good idea, and for everything you have done for me since. And Paul, thank you for being my escort for the queen contest and calling me "little Queenie" all those year, preparing me for the real thing.

    To Amy Buterbaugh, thank you for being a wonderful queen coordinator. I am grateful for your support, knowledge, and advice during throughout everything.

    To Emily Maurer, thank you for being one of the fair queens I admired so much as a young girl. I am so thankful for all your knowledge, advice, and support!

    To Gale and Larry Hay, the skills I learned from you not only helped me to be successful in the fair queen contest, but in all aspects of my life. Thank you for everything!To my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, thank you for supporting me and being my cheering section.

    To my sister Emily, thank you for being there through it all and for being my personal hair stylist from the fair to states. I could not have done it without you!

    To Branden, thank you for taking thousands of pictures and for always being there when I needed a good laugh!

    To my princesses, Janna, Aubrey, Amy, and Ashley, thank you for all your help throughout the week. I am grateful to have always had at least one of you by my side!

    To my fair family, Jill, Dave, Joece, Jancy, and Colton Lynn, Bob and Cindy Decker, and Lacey Murray, I can’t thank you enough for taking me under your wing years ago! I truly attribute my passion for our fair and the livestock industry to you.

    To Nolan, thank you for everything. Thank you for sharing all your public speaking secrets with me and giving me the confidence I needed. Thank you for feeding my pigs when I wore dresses, bringing me and my princesses food, and for being the best fair queen boyfriend I could have asked for.

    To my parents, thank you for always allowing me to chase my dreams. When we knew nothing about raising animals and I wanted to show a goat, thank you for not telling me no. Thank you for your undying love and belief in me. I attribute my success to you. Thank you. I love you.

    The Somerset County Fair will always hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to the upcoming fair, but I know it will be bittersweet. Every minute of my time as the Somerset County Fair Queen was everything I ever dreamed of and more. I am blessed to have had this opportunity and will cherish it forever.

 

2014 Somerset County Fair Queen,

Julia Hay