By CAROL ANN GREGG
Farm and Dairy correspondent
MERCER, Pa. — After much deliberation, judges selected Lena Aiken as 2009-10 Mercer County Dairy Princess. She is the daughter of Dave and Carol Aiken, New Wilmington.
The alternates, both from the Grove City area, are Alisha Henry, daughter of Alan and Beverly Henry and Elizabeth Weber, daughter of Rick and Brenda Weber. All three girls are 16.
After rigorous competition where each girl presented a dairy-related skit, an informative speech and answered an impromptu question, judges Sherman Allen, George Greig and Christine Waddall, all of Crawford County, retired to another room to deliberate.
It was apparent to the audience at the annual dairy pageant that the judges were having a hard time making a decision when it took such a long time for them to return to the auditorium.
All three girls will be representing the Mercer County dairy industry until June 2010.
Aiken will participate in the state seminar for county dairy princesses from across the state. This intense training experience helps prepare these spokespersons for the challenges they will face as they make public appearances.
She will also compete for the position of state dairy princess in September.
The Mercer County pageant, held at the Leslie N. Firth Education Center includes participation by girls from 5 to 16.
The youngest group, Dairy Darlings, included Christa Ealy, daughter of Dan and Sherry Ealy, Sharpsville; Rebekah Leise, daughter of Pete and Elaine Leise, Greenville and Hannah Sturgin, daughter of Raymond and Paula Sturgin, Fredonia.
The three primary school girls performed a song with dairy promotion lyrics.
Three upper elementary girls, Dairy Delights, each performed a skit promoting the nutritional assets of dairy products.
These included, Elena and Josie Canon, daughters of Mark and Marie Canon, West Middlesex and Jocelyn Snyder, daughter of Todd and Paula Snyder, Greenville.
Prior to the evening event, the Dairy Maids presented speeches to the judges.
Alyssa Miller, daughter of Chris Miller, Greenville and Melissa Miller, Sandy Lake, won a certificate for her outstanding speech “Farmer in the Recession” and the honor of presenting her speech during the pageant activities.
Sarah Slater, daughter of Bruce and Cheri Slater, Clarks Mills, and Samantha Weber, daughter of Rick and Brenda Weber, Grove City, also participated as Dairy Maids. These girls also had to answer an impromptu question.
Amanda Minor, daughter of Steve and Heidi Minor, Grove City, participated as a Dairy Ambassador. Her speech was about dairy competition and the economic importance of the dairy industry to the state and the community.
The Dairy Ambassador and the Dairy Maids are often called on to participate in dairy promotion activities through out the year.
Abbie Trotter, 2008-09 Pennsylvania State Second Alternate Dairy Princess, Brittany Trotter, 2009-10 Beaver/Lawrence County Dairy Princess and Robert Dixon, a member of the board for the state dairy princess program attended the event.
Janet McDougall, Mercer County extension director, served as mistress of ceremonies for the event.