WIND RIDGE – If you live in the western part of Greene County, going to the Jacktown Fair is just something you do, no matter how old your are.
Just ask Michaela Hildreth of Nineveh, the reigning Jacktown Fair Queen, who has been going to the fair “for as long as I can remember.”
The 18-year-old West Greene High School graduate, who will be a sophomore at West Virginia University in the fall after transferring from Waynesburg University, said as a youngster she spent much of her time in the livestock barns “seeing all the animals” and “riding the rides.” As she got older, her interests turned to events in the grandstands, like tractor and truck pulls, live entertainment and walking the midway with friends.
It’s safe to say, attending the Jacktown Fair, no matter what the draw, has become a tradition.
On July 15, Hildreth, daughter of William and Sharon Hildreth, will carry out another tradition. She will relinquish her title as 2013 Miss Jacktown Fair Queen and take part in crowning the 2014 queen, who will be named that evening.
Succeeding Hildreth will be either Tabitha Schiller, 18, a 2014 graduate of West Greene, or Taylor Horr, 17, who will be a junior at West Greene this fall.
Competing for the title of Jacktown Fair Queen was not right up there with Hildreth’s things to do last summer. “It was a last-minute decision; I really was not sure I wanted to do it but because I was in FAA and very interested in agriculture, I decided to do it to represent the fair and agriculture,” she said.
For Hildreth, the most difficult thing was delivering her speech on “Why you should come to the Jacktown Fair.” “I was pretty nervous because I wasn’t used to speaking in front of people,” she said.
Nonetheless, Hildreth must have impressed the judges because she won the crown, besting three other competitors. And thus began her busy yearlong reign.
It was a hectic year, but a rewarding one as well. “I got to go to the Washington County Fair and West Alexander Fair, meet new fair queens, attend Rain Day, the Covered Bridge Festival and ride in parades,” she said.
But her responsibilities did not end at the conclusion of fair and parade season. In January, she competed in a state pageant in Hershey that all county fair queens must attend.
“There were 56 contestants and the first night we had to give our introductions. There must have been a thousand people in that ballroom,” she said, but her Jacktown Fair Queen experiences gave her more confidence when it came to public speaking.
“I was just fine,” she said. “I have changed a lot in the last year,” she said. “Being queen helps you grow up and take on responsibility.”
Hildreth admits she has mixed feelings about the passing of the crown. “I am both excited and sad,” she said.
So, what advice will she give to her predecessor? “Don’t be nervous and have fun, even though the days will be long. Most important, be yourself, be happy and take a nap when you can.”