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Local women finalists for state fair crown

The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs held its 112th annual convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Jan. 20-22.

One of the highlights of the annual event is the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant, which was held Sunday, Jan. 22. Among the 15 finalist were Miss Christian County Fair, LaurenPhillips and Miss Pana Tri-County Fair, Faith Maxwell.

Paige Van Dyke of Lewisville, 20, was crowned the 63rd Miss Illinois County Fair Queen. Paige represented Clay County. She is the daughter of John and Katrina Van Dyke and is currently attending Oklahoma State University majoring in ag communications with a minor in special education.

She hopes to someday start an agriculture program for special needs students.

Van Dyke will be a summer employee of the Department of Agriculture. She will travel to about 30 county fairs and will be the official hostess of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair. As queen, Van Dyke’s main duty is to emphasize the importance of agriculture and county fairs to Illinois.

Caroline Smith of Edgar County was named the first runner up, Avery Osman of Union County was named second runner up, Kyla Epplin of Perry County was named third runner up, and Charlie Weishaar of Schuyler County was named fourth runner up.

The top 15 finalists were: Allison Stewart of Macon County; MacKenzie Moyer of Macoupin County; Charlie Weishaar of Schuyler County, Bailie Krause of Mason County; Madeline Blaesing of Warren County; Abby Riechmann of Okawville Fair, Caroline Smith of Edgar County; Avery Osman of Union County; Mollie Bennett of Henry

County; Paige VanDyke of Clay County; Kyla Epplin of Perry County; Faith Maxwell of Pana Tri-County; Lauren Phillips of Christian County; Naomi Dolan of Vermilion County and Selah Brimmer of Coles County.

Non-finalist awards went to: Bekkah Schemonia of Williamson County, Ruby Crum Memorial Award; Maci McCoy of Boone County, Best Personal Interview; Morgan Wilderman of Bond County, Best in Communication Skills; Julia Kerkhoff of Moultrie- Douglas County, Best in Stage Presence; Anna Cerrell of Effingham County, Best in Beauty and Physique competition. Sydney Schnitker of Washington County was the People’s Choice Award Winner.

EarlierattheIAAFannual convention, Talent Show winners were chosen. Winner in the senior division went to Cristian Gibbs of Lake County with a vocal solo.

In the Junior Division Talent Show, Macy Waters of Calhoun County was the winner with a jazz dance.

In total, this year’s convention had more than 2,500 in attendance.

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