Editor's Note: The following was written by Hannah Van Horn, winner of the 2009 Clay County 4-H Queen crown.
Being raised in a 4-H family meant that every summer of my youth thus far has included at least a week of the Clay County 4-H Fair.
Looking back as an alumni 10-year 4-H member, I would not have changed a thing.
As a young girl, I enjoyed looking at all the animals, watching the shows, and eating a snow cone each and every night of that week, but two individuals always caught my eye the most.
Those young ladies were the Clay County Queen and Princess.
To me back then, being a queen or princess meant that you were the "fairest of them all," and you were the one who got to look pretty and wear the big shiny crown. Now, I see that the title of Clay County Fair Queen and Princess is much more than that.
A queen should be a role model for those younger than her. She should be outgoing, friendly and engaging in the activities in which she is participating. It's not all about just looking pretty.
In fact, times arose when I was covered with mud and sawdust throughout the 2009 fair week, and I had no choice but to chase down those children and cover them with mud as well.
Most of all, the queen should have fun, and fun she shall have.
With a little encouragement from a close friend of mine, I became a queen candidate last year. I met girls from across the county and made new friends throughout the weeks leading up to the pageant.
I was able to come out of my shell and step out of my comfort zone just enough to prove to myself that nothing could stop me from achieving my goals. I wanted to set an example for young girls of this county to show that perfection is not necessarily beautiful.
Luckily, I got my chance and now someone else will get the opportunity to represent Clay County and have the time of her life.
The 2010 fair is quickly approaching. Members of the 4-H program are working on projects and activities for the fair are being organized.
Crowning a new Clay County Queen is just around the corner.
If you are between the ages of 16-21 and you have an interest to represent Clay County, become a contestant for the 2010 Clay County Fair Queen title.
You do not have to be in 4-H to be a contestant in this pageant.
Applications are available by going to http://www.purdue.ces.clay and going to the 4-H youth info area.
You can also call 812-236-5622 with any questions.