Illinois Director of Agriculture Bob Flider is pictured with newly crowned 2013 Miss Illinois County Fair Amelia Martens. (Photo courtesy Illinois Department of Agriculture)
By Carrie Muehling
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The new Miss Illinois County Fair is Amelia Martens of Orion in Rock Island County.
Martens is the daughter of Patrick and Annette Martens. She is a student at the University of Illinois majoring in agricultural communications. As the new Miss Illinois County Fair, Martens will be the official hostess of the Illinois State Fair and Du Quoin State Fair.
"I'm so passionate about agriculture. I want to share the message of agriculture and farming and why it's so important to our daily lives with as many people as I can," said Martens. "I saw this as such a great way to spread the message even more."
Seventy queens competed for this year's title. First runner-up was Miss Jersey County Fair, Diane Murray of Jerseyville. The judges selected Kristin One of Vernon Hills, Miss Lake County Fair, as second runner-up.
Other top finalists were: Miss Stark County Fair, Jozie Allen of Wyoming; Miss Georgetown County Fair, Hayley Lockwood of Catlin; Miss Mercer County Fair, Emily Mills of Milan; Miss Marion County Fair, Ashton Burroughs of Iuka; Miss Henry County Fair, Kaci Storm of Geneseo; Miss Moultrie-Douglas County Fair, Kayce Patton of Tuscola; Miss Perry County Fair, Alyssa Reinhardt of Murphysboro; Miss Okawville Fair, Lexey Deterding of Okawville; Miss Macon County Fair, Allison Mowry of Decatur; Miss Sangamon County Fair, Natalie Foss of Springfield; Miss Logan County, Danielle Juilfs of Lincoln; and Miss Menard County Fair, Kristin Sidwell of Oakford.
Non-finalist competition awards were presented to Miss Marshall-Putnam County Fair, Kaitlyn Doyle of Henry, for best non-finalist in Interview Competition; Miss McHenry County Fair, Samantha Boet of Lake in the Hills, for best non-finalist in Communication Skills; Miss Iroquois County Fair, Katie Roselius of Crescent City, for best non- finalist in Stage Presence and Miss Williamson County Fair, Chandler Short of Marion, for best non-finalist in Beauty and Physique.
The Ruby Crum Memorial Award for charm and enthusiasm is presented as the Spark Plug Award. Miss Ogle County Fair, Emily Hanlin from Byron was honored with the 2013 Spark Plug Award.
The Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant is held each year during the annual convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. Martens received a $1,000 scholarship from Prairie Farms and other gifts for winning the competition.
"I really hope to focus on all of the hard working people, especially farm families in Illinois, who are working to produce the food, the fiber and the fuel that all of us need. I think it's important to remember that we have faces in agriculture, in this industry, and I just want to highlight that," said Martens.
Martens hopes to pursue a career with John Deere after graduating from the University of Illinois.
The 2013 Illinois State Fair runs Aug. 9-19 in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair Aug. 24- Sept. 3.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.