From top to bottom, left to right: Current Fair Queen Lacy Honaker, Becky Black, Morgan Belcher, Tracie Beard, Rhiannon Branch, Charli Decker, Emily Downs, Kanady Grzegorek, Amanda Jourdan, Hailey Phillips. Photo courtesy of Mike Williams Photography.
Marion County Fair Queen Pageant Preview
Pageant Director and 2003 Marion County Fair Queen Ashley Stanford says that the experience so far as been remarkable.
"It's been great...they've been an excellent group to work with, and they would all make excellent queens" said Stanford.
Contestant #1, 19 year old Charli Decker, is a Salem High School Graduate who says she wants to be fair queen in order to be an ambassador for her county.
"It's been a great experience. I've made a lot of new friends, everyone is really great. And I've learned to walk in heels pretty darn good, if I do say so myself" said Decker.
Decker is currently a student, studying Speech Disorders at Southeast Missouri State University. In her spare time, she volunteers for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Contestant #2, 16 year old Kanady Grzegorek, is a South Central High School student. Why does she want to be fair queen?
"I think it would be fun to represent our county and get those experiences" said Grzegorek.
She hopes to attend Florida State University after High School to study Pediatrics. In her spare time, she likes to hunt.
Contestant #3, 17 year old Emily Downs, is a student at Salem Community High School. She wants to be fair queen in order to learn more about her community. She hopes to go to KC after high school and ultimately wants to get her Bachelors degree in nursing from SIUE.
"One interesting thing about me is that I like working with kids who are Autistic and have emotional disorders. If I wouldn't become a nurse, I would want to be a speech pathologist" said Downs.
Contestant #4 is 20 year old Hailey Phillips, a graduate of Salem Community High School. Why does she want to be fair queen?
"I would be a good fair queen because I'm very positive. Life is too short to think of the glass half empty. I like to think of it as half-full" Phillips said.
She plans on transferring from Kaskaskia College to SIUE to get a bachelors in Early Childhood Education. She's been a vegetarian for four years.
Contestant #5 is 17 year old Rhiannon Branch, is a Salem High School student. She wants to be fair queen to spread the good word of the Marion County Fair.
"I've grown up on these Fairgrounds all my life, showing cattle, and I'm really passionate about what County Fairs mean to the state of Illinois and to the Agricultural world" said Branch.
She hopes to go to college to major in Agricultural Communication, and aspires to write for Ag Publications or in Ag Radio. She is active in 4-H and enjoys livestock judging and has been on a team that has won two national livestock judging contests.
Contestant #6 is 19 year old Amanda Jourdan, a Salem High School Graduate and current Kaskaskia College Student. She says she wants to be fair queen because of her involvement with the county.
"I would love to be a travelling nurse. I plan to transfer to Edwardsville and major in Nursing" said Jourdan.
In her spare time, she participates in charity events such as the Tour De Cure Bike Race for the American Diabetes Association.
Contestant #7 is 21 year old Becky Black, a Salem High School Graduate who wants to be fair queen in order to spread the word about how "awesome" the Marion County Fair is. She recently graduated from Kaskaskia College and hopes to enter the work world as a Dental Hygienist. In her spare time?
"I really enjoy running...so you might see me running around town!" Black said.
Contestant #8 is 20 year old Morgan Belcher, a Patoka High School Graduate. Why does she want to be fair queen?
"This fair and this pageant have been a part of my family for a long time...and I would be really proud to represent Marion County" Belcher said.
She graduated from Kaskaskia College in the Spring and plans to transfer to Greenville College to major in Elementary Education. She is an Americorps Volunteer at Patoka Grade School.
Contestant #9 is 18 year old Tracie Beard, a recent Salem High School graduate. Why does she want to be fair queen?
"I would like to be fair queen to get the opportunity to represent our beautiful county and to experience new things" said Beard.
She will be attending Southeast Missouri State University in the Fall on an academic scholarship. She acted in plays and musicals in High School and has been in 4-H for 10 years.
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