Would you like to be the next Carbon County Fair Queen?

Young women between the age of 16 and 20 who live in Carbon County or West Penn Township are encouraged to apply for "2010-2011 Fair Queen" by the end of this week. The deadline is May 29.

Reigning Queen Kristy Rodgers, 17, will relinquish her title during the fair's opening ceremonies on Aug. 11. She encouraged young women to complete their application by the end of the week, and reflected on what her role as fair queen has meant to her over the past year.

In addition to attending and greeting guests during the 2009 county fair, Rodgers represented the fair and the region in parades, interviews, and local events. She appeared at this year's Special Olympics and the Penn's Peak Expo.

"The Special Olympics was definitely the highlight of my reign," she said. "I was able to be with kids my own age, and to be a part of something important."

She first heard about the fair queen program during 4-H meetings. Rodgers has been a part of the 4-H Exchange Club for two years and currently serves as club secretary.

The Exchange Club offers young adults a chance to travel, meet new people, and learn about the history and agricultural function of our region and other regions of the country. Each year the Carbon County Exchange Club hosts or travels to a fellow club from outside the state. They will travel to Texas this summer.

For Rodgers, the thought of representing the area sounded interesting. She first applied to be fair queen in 2008-2009, when she was named runner up. She was crowed fair queen during the 2009-2010 season.

"This has been a great opportunity," she said. "I learned new things, and I got to meet a lot of new people. It's a lot of fun. Even if you're not into agriculture, it's a great chance to represent your community and be a part of something."

Rodgers is the daughter of Allison Adams and William Rodgers, both of Jim Thorpe. She is a senior at Carbon Career and Technical Institute (CCTI). She plans to attend Delaware Valley College this fall to major in equine and livestock science and management a career path chosen after spending time at the fair and in 4-H.

"Being around the animals really made me want to work with animals," she said.

To enter the fair queen program, young women must complete the "Application for Fair Queen," available online at www.carboncountyfair.com. Applications are also available at local high school guidance offices.

After completing the application, contestants must complete a short essay on "What do you envision the fair will be in the future?" and submit a $25 application fee. They will also be asked to complete a personal interview with the judges on June 13. The fair queen program is not a beauty contest, but judges do consider appearance, presentation, and conduct when choosing a winner and runners up.

All applications must be postmarked by May 29.