Last year, Brittany Etters of Howard was crowned the Centre County Grange Fair Queen.
But this year, she will hand off the reign to someone new at 7 p.m. on the Southside Stage on the opening day of the Grange Fair. This is the contest’s 10th year.
Committee member Brenda Fetters said there are seven Centre County girls enrolled in this year’s contest that range from ages 16 to 20.
Fetters said the girls would be judged on a speech, an interview, their gown and numerous other qualities in front of an audience of hundreds. The three judges this year are from around the state, but not Centre County.
“Oh boy is it a big turnout,” Fetters said. “But we also make sure our judges are from as far away as possible so there is no bias.”
Fetters said last year, there was a judge from Florida. Most judges have prior experience judging beauty pageants, Fetters said.
Ten years ago, contest Chairwoman Virginia Letterman came up with the idea to hold a pageant and formed a committee who she said is “very committed to this event.”
Since then, Fetters said committee members meet throughout the year campaigning the event and advertising it in the five Centre County school districts.
“There are some years we’re just not sure how many girl we’ll get, but each year, they pull through for us,” Fetters said.
Each year, Fetters said the contest averages seven girls. Their peak, she said, was a few years ago when the contest had 13 girls enrolled.
To be eligible, each girl must be non-married between the ages 16 to 20 and from Centre County, and complete an application by the beginning of July that includes an essay on “What the Centre County Grange Fair Mean to My Community.”
“We’re really looking for local girls involved in their community and good role models for others,” Fetters said.
The winner will then be eligible to compete in the State Fair Queen Contest in Hershey in January against 52 others where she will continue to be a role model and good advocate of Centre County, Fetters said.
And by September, Fetters said planning for next year’s contest would begin.
“It’s a long process, but it seems to be successful each year,” Fetters said. “Brittany (Etters) did a good job with her title this year and so have the others.”