MORRIS – With a wave of the hand and an occasional thumbs-up tiny contestants took the stage just before 6 p.m. after power was restored to the pavilion where the 2014 Miss Grundy County Pageant took place on Wednesday night.
The night started out with the cutest baby contest, won by Leah Jones. Then the Prince and Princess contestants took to the stage, the boys in their dapper vests and hats, the girls in glitter and frills.
The title of prince was given to KC Mack and, princess to his sister, Grace Mack.
2008 Miss Grundy County Fair and pageant director Carissa Faletti said the contestants learn about being comfortable in front of people.
“From my personal experience, I made my best friends through the fair pageant,” said Erica Nelson, who held the title of Miss Grundy County Fair in 2001 and has been the director since 2003. “It’s also helped me with job interviews as I pulled from my interview experience with the pageant.”
Little Miss contestants, age 6 to 10, took the stage for speech and question, where questions like favorite food were answered with answers like “tuna, because it’s so fishy.”
Following the Little Miss contestants were the Junior Miss contestants, who gave a one-minute speech about why they are special, the crowd gathered to cheer them on heard how some were special for their constant drive to better themselves, their roots in Grundy County and the love of math.
“Karate has taught me to not only defend myself, but it also gives me enough confidence to be on stage,” Makenzi Eberhard said.
The highlight of the evening, the title of Miss Grundy County Fair Queen, was determined based on private interviews, an evening gown and swimsuit competition, speech and pop question.
Five contestants competed for the crown, Annaleah Emm from Ransom, Madison Schlegel from Channahon, Ashley Hadley from Minooka, Rielly Sanders from Mazon and Megan Mantia from Dwight.
The girls took the stage in bright purple, pink and red one piece swimsuits that displayed their physical fitness as well as evening gowns that glittered and sparkled like the red carpet in Hollywood.
It wasn’t just their gowns that glittered, their personalities shined through as they talked about FFA, goats, teaching voice, the positive and negative influences of social media, and the most important thing a woman should possess.
“Children grow up to fast,” Madison Schlegel said during her speech. “Childhood is the true golden time of life.”
This year’s Miss Grundy County Fair is Rielly Sanders.
“I’m speechless,” she said. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little girl.”
The queen will partake in fair activities, ride on floats and compete at the state level during their one year reign.