During the past year, I was given the opportunity to experience the Clay County 4-H Fair from an amazing point of view -- as the 2009 Clay County fair Princess.
Throughout the past six years that I have been in 4-H, I have always looked up to the queen and princess and thought about how much fun it would be to wear a sash and crown and participate in all the fair activities.
I couldn't believe it when I heard my name called as this past year's princess. All I could think about was the fun-filled week that was ahead of me, and what a fun week it was!
When looking back to last year's pageant, I remember being unsure and nervous about presenting myself in front of so many people. I was undecided on participating in the pageant, but with encouragement from my friends and family I decided to give it a try. They told me the experience along would be worth it, and that is exactly what I learned.
Besides becoming the 2009 princess, I received much more than a crown. The skills you learn from participating in the pageant such as interviewing, being confident in what you say, and standing in front of crowds will stay with you and be helpful throughout your life. The most important thing I learned was to always be yourself.
I also realized being the 4-H princess doesn't mean to be perfect and proper all the time. To me, it means being a real, true person that younger girls can look up to and want to be like when they get older. It's definitely more than wearing a crown and getting to look pretty. It's also about being able to work hard and not be afraid to get a little messy at times. There were times during the fair when I got wrapped from head to toe in toilet paper, had eggs smashed on my head, and life savers were stuck to my face. To me, these were some of the best times I had out of many. The fair princess should have fun and take in every moment she can.
I can't believe the 2010 fair is coming soon and there are many wonderful young women competing in this year's pageant. My advice to this year's contestants is simple: be yourself and just have fun. That is the best and most rewarding thing you can do. Please join the 2009 Queen Hannah Van Horn and I on July 10 at 7 p.m., at the 4-H fairgrounds as we will crown the 2010 Clay County Fair Queen and Princess.