In advance of 100th anniversary, fair pageant celebrates history

As the Shenandoah County Fair is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary with big name acts such as Dwight Yoakam and Martina McBride, one event is getting ready to take place prior to the fair’s start: the Shenandoah County Fair Scholarship Pageant.

The pageant will be held Aug. 19 at Central High School and will feature girls and women 2 to 22 years old competing for their place in the Shenandoah County history books and the pageant titles.

Tiffany Newland, one of the pageant directors, said they are focused on bringing the event back to the fair queen concept.

“Not just a pretty face on the fairgrounds, but a girl who values and appreciates the aspects of the county fair.” Newsland said.

Both Newland and Bridgette Fisher, the other pageant director, emphasized that this year’s pageant is special because it’s not only the 100th anniversary, but they both want to stress the history of the fair. Newland explained a special part of this year’s pageant.

“The whole concept of this year’s pageant is about celebrating the 100 years,” she said. “We are working to invite back all 56 former Miss Shenandoah County Fairs, and as of right now, we have information for 49 of the 56. We have been using our social media vigorously trying to get mailing addresses for that last group of people we don’t have information for.”

The addresses Newland is still seeking are the following pageant winners:

• 1964 – Brenda Williams Haley

• 1966 – Pattie McFarland Jennings

• 1967 – Elizabeth Wilson Cassady

• 1969 – Carolyn Elizabeth Rogers

• 1970 – Carolyn Palmer Painter

• 1973 – Joann Orndorff Miller

• 1980 – Mary Wilkins Freeman (her current name is Mary Ann Davis)

Along with being crowned Miss Shenandoah County Fair, the winner will also go on to compete in the Miss Virginia Association of Fairs Scholarship Pageant where she will compete for $2,000 in educational scholarships. Shenandoah County has had seven past winners win Miss VAF.

Newland just wants to make sure that people aren’t overlooking the pageant, since it takes place prior to the fair, and to also stress the responsibilities of the pageant queen.

“You need to be approachable, you need to be sociable,” Newland said. “You’re going to have little girls come up to you and call you a princess and they’re going to want their picture with you. But then you’re also going to have the older generation that likes to sit behind the grandstands every night, they’re going to want to stop you, want to give you hugs, talk to you, learn about you. We want that all-around girl that can represent our fair, not just during fair week, but throughout the next entire year.”

Registration is open to the public and registration and pageant details are as follows:

• Registration deadline is 6 p.m. July 23. To register, visit www.shencofair.com/#tabr6 and download the application from the website or visit the fair office Monday through Friday to apply in person.  Information: shencofairpageant@gmail.com

• Open to Shenandoah County girls and women, between the ages of 2 and 22.

*Information session: 5 p.m. July 23 at the fairgrounds.

*Information session for Miss Division (17-22): 3 p.m. July 23 in the fair office.

If You Go

When: Aug. 19

Where: Central High School

When: Morning pageant for ages 2-9 starts at 10 a.m.  Evening Pageant for ages 10-22 starts at 5 p.m.

Admission: $5 for each pageant, program books are $7 each