Queen, princess crowned at Westmoreland Fair

| Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

A Mt. Pleasant girl was named princess at the Westmoreland Fair on Friday night while a teen from New Florence is the new queen.

Twelve ladies vied for the chance to be crowned the 2013 Westmoreland Fair queen, but the crown went to Hattie Henderson, 18.

“I was shocked,” Henderson said. “They were all such a great group of girls.”

Friday was opening night at the fair. It runs through next Saturday.

The contestants each showed off their evening gowns during the competition and then gave a short speech on the title “Why you should come to my fair.”

“The fair is about the friendships that can be made and the fun that can be had, and the lessons that you learn.” Henderson said.

After the speeches, the contestant field was narrowed to four. Those contestants were asked: “If you were to become the new Westmoreland Fair queen, what would you do to promote agriculture in Pennsylvania?”

“If I were to become fair queen, I would promote agriculture in Pennsylvania by making an effort to educate people and to talk to people about what agriculture is all about,” Henderson said. “The fair is a great place for them to learn.”

Henderson lives on a farm with her family and has been involved in 4-H for many years.

The new queen shows several different animals at the fair including horses, chickens, goats and lambs and enjoys dancing, quilting and working with her animals.

Judge Jason Probst said while it was a difficult choice, Henderson stood out because of her demeanor.

“Her poise stood out and she is very confident,” Probst said. “She is also very passionate about what she represents.”

Judge Chrissy Leichliter said the decision was tough.

“She was very confident and she has great speaking ability,” Leichliter said, adding all the contestants should be proud of their accomplishments.

“I have judged many fair queen contests and I can honestly say that this is the best group of girls that I have ever seen,” Leichliter said.

Henderson said that she is ready to begin her week and looks forward to the festivities. She is excited to be wearing the crown that she has wanted since she was a child.

“I have always (looked) up to the fair queen,” Henderson said. “It's something that I dreamed of being one day.”

Henderson is the daughter of Carol and Randy Henderson of New Florence.

The new fair princess is Hannah Dillon of Mt. Pleasant.

The first runner-up is Tessa Ives of Level Green and the second runner-up is Lydia Kepple of New Alexandria.

Other contestants included Sarah Rowe, Balley Czapko, Amanda Kowalczyk, Lauren Androstic, Hannah Pelger, Alexxys Sheedy, Emily Penich and Erin Bruce.

The 59th Annual Westmoreland Fair opened to the public Friday in a revved-up version that will feature added tractor pull contests and hot air balloon rides. Activities this weekend include monster truck races, animal judging and a lawn mower tractor demolition derby.

The fair continues until next Saturday. Most days are expected to be sunny with temperatures in the 80s; a chance of showers is predicted Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Entrants led their animals to the fair by rope leash Friday, preparing for a week of competition.

Other activities throughout the week include a bull ride on Monday, tractor pulls on Tuesday and band performances.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer. Renatta Signorini, Trib Total Media staff writer, contributed.

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