Community Fair contest stirs prize-worthy memories

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Jaclyn Jones, the 2012 Unionville Community Fair Queen, poses with her mother, Laurie Jones.

Fair Queen, Princess hopefuls explain what makes event special

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Anyone who has ever wondered why the iconic Unionville Community Fair sustains its cherished status should have attended its kickoff  Thursday night – the program to crown the Fair Queen and Fair Princess.

Part of the presentation at Unionville Elementary School included short speeches by eleven poised contestants who responded to questions about what the fair, about to enter its 88th year, means to them and to the community –  a litany of treasured memories in which cow-pie Bingo figured prominently.

In the end, 16-year-old Jaclyn Jones received the 2012 Fair Queen’s crown, and Monica Sylvanus, 14, was named Fair Princess. Among the Queen contenders, Ginny Jackson, 17, was selected as Miss Congeniality, and Ilsa Mroz, 16, was named Queen alternate. In the Princess category, Carly Rechenberg , 15, got the nod as Miss Congeniality and alternate.

Fair Queen alternate Ilsa Mroz (from left), Fair Queen Jaclyn Jones, Fair Princess Monica Sylvanus, and Princess alternate Carly Rechenberg celebrate their selection.

The two-hour program, ebulliently emceed by Leon Spencer, a Kennett Square Borough Council member and former mayor, opened with a welcome by Jayne Shea, the Fair’s president, and a crowd-pleasing rendition of the national anthem by Unionville High seniors Natalie Walden and Victoria Provost.

During a brief break for the judges to confer and make their decisions, Spencer shared some of his favorite fair memories, such as beating Rep. Chris Ross in a celebrity milking contest and learning that the cow used in the Bingo game is treated to a regimen that includes a special diet. “I find the science of that very interesting,” he said.

Spencer complimented the contestants for their impressive stage presence and insightful reflections on why the fair maintains its appeal. In addition to serving as an ambassador for the fair and agriculture, the Unionville Fair Queen is awarded a cash scholarship of $500, the Queen Alternate receives $300, the Fair Princess receives $100, and the Princess Alternate is awarded $50.

Jones, who was crowned by Becky Jones, the 2011 Fair Queen, will go on to the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs (PSACF) Queen contest in Hershey in January 2013.

Besides Jones, Mroz, and Jackson, the queen contestants were Alexandria Coleman, 17, and Marcia Manzone, 17. Joining Sylvanus and Rechenberg in the quest for Princess were Hana Graybill, 14; Samantha Tracy, 14; Helen Nichols, 12; and Shannon White, 14.

Emcee Leon Spencer credited Holly Manzone, a member of the Fair Pageant Committee, for his role as master of ceremonies.

Hosted this year by Landhope Farms, the Unionville Community Fair and Farm Show, which is affiliated with the Pennsylvania State County Fair Association,  will begin Oct. 5. It boasts the largest display of community agricultural products, handcrafts and arts in Chester County.

Most exhibitors are local residents, competing for ribbons and awards during the three-day event, which will include local food, live music, children’s activities, a lip-synching contest,  and a rodeo. For a schedule of fair events, visit http://ucfairinc.org/fair_schedule.html.

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