Reading Fair brings back the queen

Fair-goers will see one longtime tradition resurrected for the celebration of the 160th year of the fair with The Reading Fair Queen Contest.

This will be the first year the Queen Contest will be held at the Fair’s new location at the Reading Fairground, 1216 Hilltop Rd., Leesport.

“We have talked about wanting to start [the contest] up again... to do something fun,” Jaimie Shipe, chairperson of the contest, said about the contest’s beauty pageant history. “It’s much different than it used to be.” Originally, the contest followed the standard setup, conducting an interview and swimsuit competition. The winner would then showcase cars on the old race track with the winners of the races were graciously granted a kiss from the Reading Fair Queen.

In the 1980s, winners of the county fair pageants would then qualify to compete for the Miss Pennsylvania crown.

With today’s contest, the winner becomes a qualifier for the Pa. State Fair Queen Competition. The competition for Pa. State Fair Queen is held in January.

“Every fair in Pennsylvania is entitled to have their own contest,” Shipe said about the guidelines. Competitors must be ages 16 to 20, have a knowledge of agriculture and the fair industry, and of course, thoroughly enjoy attending the Reading Fair.

The contestants must compose an essay explaining their love of the fair prior to the competition. On stage, they are presented to the audience wearing an evening gown to demonstrate their ability to poise themselves.

State Senator Judy Schwank, Jessica Mangold, fair member, and Jacki Heffner, Schuylkill County Fair Queen leader severed as judges for the competition.

Reading Fair Alternate Queen – Lindsay Fessler

Lindsay is the 18 year old daughter of Mark and Leslie Fessler. She attended Conrad Weiser High School and graduated in May.

She served as President of the Spanish Club at school. Lindsay participated in cheerleading since she was in first grade and also was active on the school’s yearbook committee. She is a Berks County 4-H Beef and Dairy Beef Club member and participated in Conrad Weiser FFA Chapter.

Her hobbies include dancing, fishing, and photography. Lindsay spends a lot of time working at a local lemonade stand and fast food restaurant.

Lindsay’s involvement in the Reading Fair began when she was 6 years old – she was serving as the Berks County Little Dairy Princess and decided to start showing livestock. Over the years she has brought her Dairy Beef, Beef and Dairy project animals to the fair to exhibit. She has received the awards of Champion Showman and Champion Fitter at the fairs.

Lindsay will be attending Shippensburg University in the fall. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Spanish.

She is excited to serve as the Reading Fair Alternate Queen because the Reading Fair has always been close to her heart and has shaped her into the person she is today.

Reading Fair Queen – Caitlyn Pool

Caitlyn is the 19 year old daughter of David and Martha Pool. She attended Conrad Weiser High School and graduated in May of 2012.

Caitlyn is involved in many community and college organizations. She belongs to the Pennsylvania Holstein Association, Berks County Holstein Association, the National Red and White Association and the American Jersey Association. She was a member of the Conrad Weiser FFA Chapter, and belongs to Marion Grange and the Berks County Dairy Princess Promotion Services. At Penn State University she is active in the Dairy Science club, Block and Bridle and Collegiate Cattlewomen.

Her hobbies include line dancing and attending truck and tractor pulls. In the summer she enjoys working with her show cows and attending the local fairs. Caitlyn has officially worked on her parent’s dairy farm, Fantasyland Holsteins since the age of 16. She has also been employed by Wexcon Utility Inc. as a flagger and has made lemonade for Country Lemonade.

Caitlyn has been exhibiting and participating in the annual Reading Fair for 12 years. She has brought her dairy animal projects to be shown and more recently has included produce exhibits as well. As a Conrad Wesier FFA member she helped with the Farmer for a Day Tent and volunteered time at the 2014 Pet Expo held at the fairgrounds. Caitlyn is currently attending Pennsylvania State University. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and a minor in International Agriculture. She has made the Dean’s list for three semesters. Caitlyn hopes to enter the work force promoting and advertising the agriculture and dairy industries, as well as returning to her home farm.

Caitlyn is excited to serve as the Reading Fair Queen because the Reading Fair has made an enormous impact on her life. She feels she will be able to give back to those whom have given her so much while having the opportunity also to promote the fair and the agriculture industry.

About the Author

Emily Thiel

Emily Thiel is the editor of The Southern Berks News and is the Community Engagement Editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. Emily joined Berks-Mont in March 2013. She graduated from Kutztown University in 2011 with a degree in English with a concentration in Cultural and Media Studies. Emily is a native of Allentown, Pa. Reach the author at ethiel@berksmontnews.com or follow Emily on Twitter: @sthrnberksnews.