Fair queen sought to serve as role model
Lauren Overdorff wanted to be a role model. That’s why she was thrilled to be crowned the 2012 Indiana County Fair queen.
“I’d watched the queen contests every year and knew a lot of people that did it,” Overdorff said. “They were all just really good people, really good role models — and who wouldn’t want to wear a pretty crown?”
She described her selection as queen a “miracle.”
“I was surprised because I knew all of the girls (in the running) except for one. … I didn’t think I was going to win,” she said, noting that the other girls in the contest seemed more deserving of the crown.
She is the daughter of Bradley and Kimberly Overdorfff, of Brush Valley, who own and operate Lake View Farms in the same area. She graduated earlier this month from United High School, where she was dually enrolled with Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In the fall, she’ll attend IUP full time, studying criminology.
Overdorff was chosen through a cumulative score in three different areas, according to Sandy Martin, a fair queen committee member whose husband, Ray Martin, is fair board president.
The scoring criteria, Martin said, includes an application, r￩sum￩ and essay. Next the girls are judged on public speaking, then have an interview with judges later that day. All of these scores are combined to determine the winner.
As Overdorff’s term comes to an end this summer, Martin said the fair committee is pleased with the job she has done throughout the year.
“She’s represented our fair very, very well,” Martin said. “She’s very poised.”
During her reign, Overdorff said she performed many royal duties.
“Fair week was busy — a lot of running around,” she said.
She was required to be at all of the fair activities and shows, hand out crowns and have her picture taken with little girls at the fair and make thank-you cards for all of the vendors, just to name a few.
She’ll spend this summer visiting fairs, meeting different queens and seeing more of Pennsylvania — “all of that fun stuff,” Overdorff said.
The fair queen is expected by the fair queen board to be present for the entire fair and participate in area parades, especially Indiana’s Christmas, IUP Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day parades, Martin said.
And they’re expected to be a part of “anything at all to promote the Indiana County Fair — that’s their main goal.”
In addition, fair queens have the opportunity to participate in an annual state fair convention in January, where they can compete against all other fair queens in the state.
“It’s a huge, big thing,” Martin said. She added that winning the state title earns the queen a scholarship.
Although Martin said that Overdorff did “a fantastic job” at this year’s state convention, she did not place in the competition.
Overdorff said that during her time as queen, she has learned that people take agriculture for granted.
“You go to the market and buy your food and you don’t think of what goes into it,” she said.
She encourages girls to sign up to be the 2013 fair queen because of the experience they’ll have during their reign.
“You get to wear a crown and you get to wear pretty dresses,” she said.
She also said the fair board members are amazing, and welcomed her in to their “kingdom.”
Girls ages 16 to 20 who are either a resident of Indiana County, attend a school in Indiana County or are a member of an FFA club or 4-H club in the county may apply to be the 2013 Indiana County Fair queen. Applicants must present a three- to five-minute speech during a competition about “why you should come to my fair.”
All applicants must be able to be present during the fair, meet and greet visitors and local officials, and participate in area parades, attend dinners and regional festivals, according to the application.
It’s a great learning experience for them,” Martin said. “They’ll get to meet new people, get some exposure, develop public speaking skills — it’s really a great thing.”