POINT PLEASANT — Life is more interesting in threes – the Bee Gees; bacon, lettuce and tomato; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; the Jonas Brothers; Destiny’s Child; Alvin, Simon and Theodore; Earth, Wind and Fire; and the Workman sisters…to name a few.
Mary Grace is the youngest of the Workman sisters and she grew up looking up to her two older sisters, Rachel and Hannah. As older sisters tend to do, they blaze a path for themselves and their siblings by default and in the Workman family this has created an interesting tradition when it comes to holding the Mason County Fair Queen title.
This year, Mary Grace took the fair queen title, following in the footsteps of Hannah who was crowned in 2009 and Rachel who won the title in 2007. Though it’s unclear whether or not this unique occurrence has made history state-wide or even nationally on the pageant circuit, it has most certainly made history in Mason County.
Aimee Stein and Andrea Henderson are the pageant directors for the Mason County Fair Queen Contest and both were pageant directors for all three Workman sisters. The directors both praised the Workman sisters and family.
“We think this is beyond special,” Stein and Henderson remarked. “It is something pretty unique that not very many people get to be a part of. In our 13 years as directors, this is definitely one of the highlights.”
Mary Grace said as a kid she grew up at the fair, along with her sisters, and “always wanted to be fair queen.” She said she was in elementary school when she watched her older sisters win the title which was pretty “amazing” as was watching them “juggle” all the fun and responsibilities that come with that.
“It inspired me to want to do it,” Mary Grace said, though she joked she did feel a bit of pressure about not winning and therefore possibly being the only sister who lost the title. She said even people at her church would come up to her prior to the pageant and ask to be introduced to the next fair queen. Before she was old enough to compete people would tease her she was “next in line.”
“If I lose, they’ll be all disappointed,” Mary Grace said about feeling the pressure to win but knowing if it didn’t happen for her, she would try again next year.
However, that would not be necessary. When she heard her named called as this year’s fair queen, Mary Grace said she was “really relieved and stunned…it was a dream come true.”
Mary Grace was joined on stage by her sisters after winning the title but this time, Mary Grace was at the center of the photos. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have former fair queens to advise the new queen on how to have a great reign, with Mary Grace saying Rachel and Hannah have encouraged her to be more outgoing and suggested she go to everything she could at the fair because “the more you do, the more fun you’ll have.”
Still, even if she didn’t win, Mary Grace said she would’ve been at the fair day and night because it’s a family tradition with she and her sisters all involved in livestock shows in the past. Mary Grace even showed the reserve champion market goat this year.
Though she has her sisters to advise her on how to be the best fair queen, Mary Grace already has her own plans of wanting to “represent the fair well.” She said, “I want to make people want to come to the fair.”
She added, “I have a heart for Mason County and we’re going to do this for a whole year and it will be amazing. I want to get out more into the community and of course have more one-on-one interaction with people because I love Mason County.”
The three Workman sisters all won the fair queen title the year they graduated high school. For Mary Grace, August has been a whirlwind month with her winning fair queen and going to Marshall University which has taken her a little further from home but home is never so far you can’t go back.
One of Mary Grace’s favorite moments so far has been being in the fair parade and the reception of the people along the route. Her parade float had a “Wizard of Oz” theme and she played Dorothy. As Dorothy might say, and Mary Grace would agree, “there’s no place like home…and the fair.”
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.