Rhonda Carl, Ashland, was named 2013 Pennsylvania Fair Queen at the state competition held Jan. 26, at the annual joint convention of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs (PSACF) and Pennsylvania State Showmen's Association at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.
"The PA Fair Queen Program is considered a great leadership program for the young women in Pennsylvania," said George Greig, state Department of Agriculture Secretary, who attended the convention.
Carl, 17, is the daughter of Robert and Carla Mae Carl, and a senior at Tri-Valley High School. She is involved in the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, cheerleading, band, majorette captain and feature twirler, as well as other activities.
She represented Tri-Valley High School at the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference in central Pennsylvania, and then went on to represent the region at The World Leadership Conference in Chicago.
She enjoys volunteering in her community and church, and likes to jet ski and fish.
Carl, who represented the Schuylkill County Fair, is the first person in the history of the fair to win all of the royalty contest titles from Little Miss 2006, Princess 2009, and Fair Queen 2012.
She now becomes the first Schuylkill County Fair Queen contestant to not only place in the state competition's top five, but to have the honor of winning the state title. She was crowned on Saturday by outgoing Fair Queen Drew An Brubaker from Lancaster County.
Carl will now travel throughout the commonwealth, making appearances with legislators, the agri-business sector, and the general public as she shares about the importance of Pennsylvania fairs, agriculture and tourism.
State-sanctioned events will include Cornucopia, Ag Progress Days, Farm-City Day, the 2014 Pennsylvania State Farm Show, and the 2014 PSACF/PSSA Convention, along with numerous fair visits.
She will receive a $2,000 scholarship at the conclusion of her 2013 reign, sponsored by PSACF.
Each of the 55 contestants in this year's state competition had to prepare a brief speech that convinced others to attend her county or community fair, an essay about the fair's significance in her local community, and a stage introduction during the PSACF annual banquet.
The contestants were also interviewed by a panel of three judges. Contestants are evaluated on their written and public speaking skills, knowledge of the fair and agricultural industries, and poise and appearance.
Five finalists were chosen during the coronation and then had to give an impromptu answer on how they would encourage consumers to purchase Pennsylvania agricultural products. Carl's answer emphasized educating the growing population on the role Pennsylvania products play in their daily food life.
In addition to Carl, finalists were Sarah Wilson, representing the Big Butler Fair, was named first runner-up; Brennan Register, representing the Clinton County Fair; Christa Ziefel, Greene County Fair; and Racheal Sue Grosvenor, Harford Fair. Register was also named "Miss Congeniality," an award voted on by the other contestants.
This year's judges included Dr. Jim Diamond, Bucks County, former dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College; Jean Lonie, Northampton County, senior manager of marketing communications for the Pfizer Animal Health beef segment; and Wanda Waugh, co-owner of Glen Ridge Farm. Master of ceremonies was Kevin Bieber of the Oley Valley Community Fair.