POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Fair crowned Marlee Bruner the 2020 Mason County Fair Queen earlier this week.
Bruner was the 2019 queen as well, which makes her the first queen to reign two consecutive years.
The pageant directors, Aimee Stein and Andrea Henderson told the Register, they felt having a pageant was “nearly impossible” with the guidelines set by the governor and CDC. They also said they felt as though Bruner did not get all the experiences that the fair queen typically would.
In arriving at their decision, the directors said, the Mason County Fair Board was very supportive, hearing the options put forth by Stein and Henderson, and providing input.
“Marlee has done a tremendous job representing Mason County and we wanted to be sure that she was able to get the full experience as the Mason County Fair Queen,” the directors’ response said. “We felt that she deserved to ride through the fair parade as the Grand Marshal, have the OVB reception in her honor, have a party with this year’s contestants, deliver her farewell speech to a packed house, and all the things that the Fair Queen gets to do when giving up her crown. For all of these reasons, we decided to extend her reign for an additional year.”
Bruner, who is a last year 4-H member, said she missed out on multiple fairs and festivals throughout the state.
“There’s been multiple events that I haven’t been able to attend and I also feel like if there were to be a new queen that were crowned she also would have missed out on the entire fair week,” Bruner said.
Bruner will be continuing her duties as queen by attending the three-day livestock show and sale Aug. 12-14 at the Mason County Fairgrounds.
“We didn’t ask very many sponsors for support this year because we knew that many of them had faced hardships of their own in these trying times,” Stein and Henderson said in a statement. “We wanted Marlee to have a new crown and sash. These items were provided by Siders’ Jewelers and Deal Funeral Home, respectively. When asked, these long-time sponsors agreed to help without a moment’s hesitation. Given the circumstances, we did not ask Ohio Valley Bank to donate their usual sponsorship amount. However, Mario Liberatore of OVB showed up at Marlee’s crowning and presented a check to her in the amount of $600. It was a wonderful surprise! This just goes to show that Mason County has the most generous and thoughtful businesses who support their community.”
“I feel as if it is an honor under the circumstances that there are, that I will be the first in history as a two consecutive year fair queen,” Bruner said. “I’m super excited for the livestock show and sale, that way individuals can show their hard work off in the ring.”
Due to updated eligibility guidelines in regards to the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bruner will also have an opportunity to compete again at the annual West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals pageant held each year in Charleston in January.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.