HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rhonda Carl of Hegins, Schuylkill County, was recently crowned the 2013 Pennsylvania Fair Queen at the annual joint convention of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs and Pennsylvania State Showmen's Association.
"Pennsylvania fairs celebrate the state's rich agricultural heritage and help to bridge the gap between farm to fork, producer and consumer," said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "The future of Pennsylvania agriculture is in good hands thanks to the 55 contestants in this program who advocate for fairs and the industry."
Carl, 17, the daughter of Robert and Carla Mae Carl, will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the state fair association.
A representative of the Schuylkill County Fair, Carl was crowned during a ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 26, by outgoing Pennsylvania Fair Queen Drew An Brubaker of Lancaster County.
Carl, a student at Tri-Valley High School, is a member of the National Honor Society, cheerleading squad and band, where she is majorette captain and feature baton twirler.
She is active in the Future Business Leaders of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers in her community and church, is a baton and dance instructor, and enjoys jet skiing, skiing and fishing.
Each of the 55 contestants prepared a brief speech highlighting the activities at her county or community fair. They also wrote an essay about the fair's significance in their life and local community. Each queen also gave a stage introduction during the fair convention annual banquet and was interviewed by three judges.
Contestants are evaluated on their public speaking skills and knowledge of the agriculture industry, as well as on their poise and personal presentation in an evening gown competition.
Five finalists were chosen and gave an impromptu answer on how they would encourage consumers to purchase Pennsylvania agricultural products.
Big Butler Fair Queen Sarah Wilson, 19, of Portersville, Butler County, was first runner-up. The daughter of David and Elizabeth Wilson, she is a sophomore at the University of Akron studying nursing and psychology. At college, she serves as a resident assistant and works in the Office of Admissions. She was active in FFA, 4-H dairy and goat clubs and works at the Big Butler Fair.
Rounding out the top five finalists were: Rachael Sue Grosvenor, Harford Fair in Susquehanna County; Christa Ziefel, Greene County Fair; and Brennen Register, Clinton County Fair.
Register was also named "Miss Congeniality," an award voted on by the other contestants.
The three judges were Dr. Jim Diamond, Ottsville, Bucks County; Jean Lonie, Easton, Northampton County; and Wanda Waugh, Glen Rock, York County. Master of Ceremonies was Kevin Bieber of Oley, Berks County.
Pennsylvania is home 108 county and community fairs. Carl, the 27th state queen, will travel the state representing Pennsylvania's rich agricultural heritage and serving as an ambassador for the fair association.
Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085
Editor's note: Visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on "Media" then "Photo Gallery" and "2013 PA Fair Queen" for high-resolution photos.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture