stage decorated with white lights and flowers served as the backdrop
for the 77th Logan County Fair Queen Pageant.
Logan County Fair Board President Dean Bruns welcomed everyone to
the 80th anniversary of the fair and said he had been to almost
every fair. Bruns said he loves the fair and wished the contestants
As the evening's festivities began, master of ceremonies Cameron
Kurtz introduced 2015 Queen Lizzie Ford as her father drove her to
the grandstand area in a white convertible. Ford welcomed this
year's contestants and told everyone to cheer them on loudly. 2015
Little Miss Preslee Sherren thanked Ford, the fair board, and
pageant directors for a great year, and wished the new little miss
"best of luck."
For the opening number, the seven queen candidates danced across the
stage to "Can't Stop the Feeling."
The seven candidates vying for this year's title were:
Alexis Beard, 17, Lincoln, daughter of Chris and Jamie Beard, will
attend Lincoln College this fall.
Jessica Maxheimer, 18, Mount Pulaski, daughter of Douglas and Angela
Maxheimer, will attend Lincoln Land Community College this fall.
Meg Meeker, 19, Emden, daughter of Bob and Diane Meeker, attends the
University of Illinois in Champaign.
Kaitlyn Nelson, 21, Lincoln, daughter of Jake and Kenda Kitner, will
attend St. John's College of Nursing this fall.
Michelle Paulus, 20, Lincoln, daughter of Kent and Lynn Paulus,
attends University of Illinois in Champaign.
Jade Stewart, 16, Mount Pulaski, daughter of Jason and Angie
Stewart, attends Mount Pulaski High School.
Lexi Tibbs, 19, New Holland, daughter of Pamela Tibbs, attends
To display their communication skills, contestants spoke on a
subject of their choice with the contestants discussing topic such
as how FFA helped them develop skill sets, rising up to a challenge,
the need to respect police officers, family traditions at the fair,
turning a passion into a purpose, not letting the sun go down on
your anger, and life lessons such as positivity, strength, and
For the pop question, contestants were asked to express their
opinion about whether the judges should be able to see the
contestants' social media pages as a part of judging. All of them
said the judges should be able to see their social media pages
because social media can "show how we represent ourselves," "show
who we are," "it is how the world sees us," and "it helps them find
out more about us."
The other parts of their score are based on an interview done
earlier in the day with the judge, a swimsuit competition to show
beauty and physique, and an evening gown competition to show stage
As always, the Little Miss contestants, who ranged in age from five
to eight, provided some cute and sweet moments as they introduced
themselves and told what they liked best at the fair. Their
favorites included "the rides," "the Octopus," "the swings," "the
big slide," "the pageant," "Ritchhart's Exotic Animals," "corn
dogs," "cotton candy," "eating," "hanging around with family and
friends," and "everything."
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The fifteen Little Miss contestants were:
Jaelyn Anderson, 8; Paisley Baker, 7; Myah Bowman, 8; Mia Clark, 8;
Aleaha Crane, 7; Lydia Doolin; 6, Brooklyn Edwards, 5; Paisley
Holmes, 5; Kaeli Jones, 7; Aliannah Kodatt, 7; Charlotte LaForge, 8;
Eva Leonard, 6; Rosie Polen, 5; Bralan Werner, 6; and Ellie Wrage,
Little Miss contestants were judged on an interview done before the
fair, which is 75 percent of their score and on their stage
presence, which is the other 25 percent of their score.
Special guests filling the time between the various sections of the
competition included this year's Queens, Jr. Misses, and Little
Misses from several different Illinois counties and several former
Logan County Fair Queens. Past Logan County Queens present ranged
from years all the way back to 1941 Queen Irma (Kaesebier) Leesman,
who marks her 75th anniversary since being queen.
Many wished the contestants well and said what a great opportunity
being queen represents.
Amy Cherry and Deanne Mott, who have been pageant directors for the
past fourteen years, are stepping down and were recognized for their
years of service.
Before the 2016 queen was crowned, outgoing Queen Lizzie Ford gave a
teary eyed farewell as she spoke of what she learned and thanked the
fair board for the experience. Ford also thanked the pageant
directors, Little Miss Preslee, the Guzzardo's, her family, her
teacher Mr. Allen, and many friends for all their help and support
over the past year.
Finally, the judge's decisions were announced.
Michelle Paulus was crowned Miss Logan County Fair 2016 and Paisley
Baker was chosen as the new Little Miss Logan County.
Other awards for the queen contest were presented to Meg Meeker,
First Runner-up; Alexis Beard, Second Runner-up; Michelle Paulus,
Crowd's Choice; Lexi Tibbs, Miss Congeniality; and Kaitlyn Nelson,
contestant who connected with the most businesses.
Other awards for the Little Miss contest were presented to Charlotte
LaForge, First Runner-up; Myah Bowman, Second Runner-up; Jaelyn
Anderson, Third Runner-up; Ellie Wrage, Fourth Runner-up; Bralan
Werner, Crowd's Choice and Most Photogenic; and Paisley Baker, most
raffle tickets sold.
Queen Michelle Paulus is the daughter of Kent and Lynn Paulus.
Paulus attends the University of Illinois in Champaign and is
working towards a bachelor's degree in Finance Agribusiness with a
minor in Leadership Studies. She plans to then pursue a master's
degree in Agriculture and Applied Economics. Travelling,
volunteering, helping with hot air balloons at the balloon festival
are some of her favorite hobbies. Paulus has taken two separate
mission trips to Africa and climbed Mount Kilamanjaro.
Little Miss Paisley Baker is the daughter of Eric and Teresa Baker
Queen Paulus, joined by Little Miss Baker, will reign over the Logan
County Fair attending many events and presentations and handing out
ribbons during the remainder of the fair. They will represent Logan
County at various other events during the year and Paulus will also
compete in January for the title of Miss Illinois County Fair.
Their experiences will undoubtedly be cherished for years to come.
2010 Logan County Fair Queen Bethany (Rea) Rademaker, who is now
pageant director, has said being queen gave her "a new appreciation
for the fair and the county as a whole."