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Carbon, West End fair queens compete in Hershey

Royalty was in full mode last weekend in Hershey.

Fair queens from counties around the state competed in the 37th annual Pennsylvania Fair Queen Convention in Hershey.

Fifty-eight contestants were evaluated by a panel of three judges on their writing and speaking skills, knowledge of the fair and agricultural industries, and their poise and personal presentation in business attire.

Among them were Kiersten Gursky, the Carbon County Fair Queen, and Brianna Shupp, the West End Fair Queen.

For both, it was an experience quite unlike any other.

Kiersten Gursky

Gursky, of Palmerton, was the 2022 Carbon County Fair Queen.

She conducted fundraisers during the week of last year’s Carbon County Fair.

She said she sold raffle tickets, and raised more than $2,000 to attend the convention.

Gursky, a 2021 graduate of Carbon Career & Technical Institute, said the event was a learning experience for her.

“For me, going there was not my cup of tea,” Gursky said. “I don’t talk in front of a group of people; I’m shy. Being there was an amazing experience.”

“I met a bunch of amazing girls, and made forever memories,” she said. “From being there, I learned that I walked into Hershey as a queen, and I walked out of there as a queen with another title or not.”

Gursky said, “being there was one of the best moments I would say ever.”

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m happy that I had this amazing opportunity to go,” she said. “Making friends and talking to a bunch of girls from different counties; we talked about each other’s fairs and talked about what was different about each one’s fairs.

“Also knowing that everybody is there was like the same; we were all fair queens. Everybody was so passionate about each other’s fairs, everyone was equal, the same, everybody was so nice; it was a good environment to be in.”

Gursky is studying biology at East Stroudsburg University with plans on becoming a veterinarian.

“Thank you to the Carbon County Fair and Fair Queen Program for letting me have this opportunity for letting me compete in Hershey,” she said.

Brianna Shupp

Brianna, of Kunkletown, was the 2022 West End Fair Queen.

She said she was able to decide if she wanted to go to the convention.

“They register us; I had the choice,” Brianna said. “I said, ‘I would love to go,’ this is like an amazing opportunity.”

A junior at Pleasant Valley High School, Shupp said she was one of the youngest girls there.

“Definitely the speeches and interviews were very nerve-racking for all the girls,” she said. “This was huge; a really good opportunity to be very supportive, which they all were.

“Even the current Pennsylvania Fair Queen was always making sure the girls were calm. She was always talking to us about everything like what her experience was like.”

Shupp added that the event taught the contestants how to be ready for the new world.

“You made so many new friends, and just being social with everyone,” she said. “Knowing that you did when so many people have not went and talked in front of that many people; it was amazing.

“Just being able to represent our small little community and bring it to the attention to most people so hopefully they can come out to our fairs.”

West End Fair Queen Brianna Shupp, left, and Carbon County Fair Queen Kiersten Gursky shown during the 37th annual Pennsylvania Fair Queen Convention in Hershey. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO