HERSHEY, Pa. — Butler Fair Queen Madeline McEachin, 18, of West Sunbury, Butler County, was crowned as the 2017 Pennsylvania Fair Queen Jan. 21, at the annual joint convention of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs and Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association.
The daughter of Paul and Karla McEachin and a 2016 honors graduate of Butler High School, McEachin is attending the Pennsylvania State University pursuing a degree in accounting.
McEachin now serves as Pennsylvania State 4-H Council president. In that capacity she served as co-emcee of the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show opening ceremonies in Harrisburg.
She also rode for the Grove City Area Equestrian Team and served as 2015 North Washington Rodeo Queen.
McEachin will receive a $2,500 scholarship from the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs at the conclusion of her reign. She was crowned by outgoing Pennsylvania Fair Queen Darby Kasper of Tioga County.
Each of the 60 contestants — tied for the highest number of queens in the competition’s history — prepared a brief speech highlighting the activities at her county or community fair.
They also wrote an essay about the fair’s significance in their life and local community. Each queen also gave a stage introduction during the fair convention annual banquet and was interviewed by three judges.
Contestants are evaluated on their public speaking skills and knowledge of the agriculture industry, as well as on their poise and personal presentation in an evening gown competition.
Five finalists were chosen and gave an impromptu answer on what they see as key components to building a successful fair.
Clearfield County Fair Queen Rachel Duke, 20, of Clearfield, Clearfield County, was selected as Alternate 2016 Pennsylvania Fair Queen.
An agricultural science major at the Pennsylvania State University, she serves as an upper-class senator of the Student Government Association and as campus club coordinator.
Duke has been involved with the Clearfield County Fair since she was four years old, and has competed in horse events at the fair each year.
Other top five finalists were Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair Queen Emma Spackman of Port Matilda, Centre County; Elizabethtown Fair Queen Madison Rivera of Elizabethtown, Lancaster County; and Harford Fair Queen Jolie Winemiller of Harford, Susquehanna County.
Winemiller was named Miss Congeniality by fellow contestants.
Judges were Mary Amoss with the Miss Maryland Agriculture program, Fallston, Maryland; Timothy Bigham of the New York Farm Bureau, Franklinville, New York; and Tiffany Painter Newland, director of the Shenandoah County (Virginia) Fair scholarship pageant, Edinburg, Virginia.
McEachin will travel the state this year, serving as an ambassador for the fair association.