CHARLESTON — Three young ladies will be representing Mason County at this weekend’s West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals Pageant in Charleston.
Representing the Mason County Fair will be Fair Queen Katherine Deem; representing the Battle Days Festival will be Battle Days Queen Jocelyn Wilson; representing the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta will be Regatta Queen Bridgett Dudding.
These local queens will be competing with 78 contestants representing various fairs and festivals throughout West Virginia. The pageant consists of three areas of competition, including Event Promotion, Personal Interview and Evening Gown. Saturday evening will culminate in the crowning of the 2017 West Virginia Fairs and Festivals Queen who will reign over the West Virginia State Fair in Lewisburg.
Deem will be accompanied by Aimee Stein and Andrea Henderson, pageant directors of the Mason County Fair Queen Pageant, some past fair queens and family, as well as the pageant committee. Wilson will be accompanied her pageant director, Brandy Sweeney and family members as well. Dudding will be accompanied by Delyssa Huffman, pageant director, members of the Regatta committee and many friends and family.
Another local connection for the event this year is the president of the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals, Jacob Hill of Point Pleasant.
This is Hill’s first year as president of the event. He explained, to become president as the Association, included going through a formal interview process, followed by a nomination committee which reviews all the recommendation letters and resumes of people who are interested in being on the board. Once that is completed, the committee meets to decide who to recommend to the attendees at the business meeting and a formal vote takes place. Hill, who also heads up the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta, was chosen from the other field of candidates to lead the Association.
As for this weekend’s pageant, Hill said: “This event is important because all the young ladies who have won member titles now have a chance to compete against each other to become the queen for the state fair. It’s the best of the best from all over the state. Fairs and festivals are extremely important to each community and provide people many different events and great family activities. Fairs and festivals play a major roll in the state’s economy by bringing in money and tourists to each event.”
Hill continued: “In my first year as president, I’m looking forward to attending this year’s annual convention to meet new people and hear about their events. I get to take on the role as president and listen to people’s concerns about the fair and festival industry and try to get them the help they need and pointed in new directions. The event is a great place for everyone to get together and exchange ideas and learn from each other along with the educational workshops that are provided.”
The pageant actually begins on Thursday, when contestants arrive in Charleston and attend a meet and greet along with an orientation to learn their pageant group. They will also have their first practice. Then, on Friday, it’s the Event Promotion Competition. This is the first phase of competition and will be conducted on Friday afternoon. During this competition contestants are judged on natural beauty, poise and presentation. Contestants will also be judged by giving a 30-second timed presentation about their event.
Then on Saturday, it’s the Judges Interviews. This is the second phase of competition. Each contestant will be interviewed by a panel of judges. At this time, the judges will consider poise, personality, and natural beauty. Then, it’s time for the evening gown competition which is the third phase of competition. Judging is based on poise, personality and natural beauty.
From the tabulations of the three competitions (event promotion, interview, and evening gown) 15 semi-finalists will be chosen and interviewed from their fact sheets.
There is a Saturday night only ticket for $25 per person for anyone wishing to attend the Saturday night evening gown competition. The tickets will only be sold at the box office. Doors will open at the Charleston Civic Center at 5:30 p.m.