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Her Reign Continues: Grange Fair Queen to Wear Crown Through 2021

by and on August 21, 2020 5:00 AM

When Morgan Bair was named 2019 Grange Fair Queen, she was honored and excited to spend a year promoting two of her favorite things — the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair and local agriculture.

Little did she know her reign would come during one of the strangest years on record.

Now, with the 2020 Grange Fair canceled because of the pandemic, she will continue her reign as queen until next year’s fair, and she will do it with the help of Roselyn Weaver, who was named the fair’s official queen ambassador on Aug. 9.

“When I became the 2019 Centre County Grange Fair queen last August, I had no idea what a crazy ride this year would be, but I could not be more thankful for the opportunity,” said Bair. “My role as fair queen is to promote our fair and advocate for agriculture. While the circumstances during my reign were unexpected, my drive to fulfill this role remained the same. I have used this unique opportunity of reigning through a pandemic to think creatively and work even harder, doing my best to provide hope to others. Serving as Grange Fair queen during this strange time has still been a joy, an honor and an experience I will always cherish.”

The 2020 Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair was originally scheduled to be held beginning this week and continuing into next — Aug. 21-29.

Bair is headed off to Bob Jones University in South Carolina this fall to pursue her degree to become a physical therapist. While she is away, Weaver will step in to represent the fair at promotional events; Bair will attend some events virtually. Weaver said she is excited to take on her new role after serving on the fair queen court over the past year.

“Stepping into this position is something I never thought I would have the chance to do, but being given this opportunity to go out and promote something that you truly believe in and hoping to make an impact on someone is an amazing thing. I am honestly so blessed to have this opportunity to promote agriculture, but also getting to do it with some amazing people,” said Weaver, a graduate of Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District. She is also heading off to college this fall, but in a location close to Centre County at Susquehanna University, so she will still be able to make it to events when the duty calls.

Weaver said when she heard the fair was canceled, “My heart broke, not because I wouldn’t get to spend nine amazing days at the fair, and not because I wouldn’t get to eat some pretty amazing food and see all the fairgoers; it broke for all the 4-Hers and FFAers who dedicate all their time and energy into their livestock in hopes for it all to pay off when they get the chance to step in the arena and show the community all the blood, sweat and tears they put in over the year. Yes, my heart is broken over the other things as well, but the youth and our farmers is where my mind and heart went first.”

“When I first heard that the fair was canceled, my heart was flooded with several emotions. For a moment, I felt sadness. Sadness for our over 200,000 visitors who eagerly await the fair each year to make memories with their friends and family,” Bair added. “Next, I felt concern. My heart went out to each of our 4-H and FFA members who work year-round to exhibit at our fair, each vendor who relies on our fair to make ends meet and so many more who would be affected by this.

“However, the last emotion I felt was thankfulness. I was so thankful to our hard-working committee members who made the difficult decision to cancel our fair for the sake of others. They love our fair more than anyone and I knew that they were looking out for the health of each fairgoer. I also know that they will work hard to make the 2021 Grange Fair the best one yet.”

While they both said they will miss many aspects of the fair, from the food to the competitions, they agreed that the sense of community is what they will miss most.

“I think that the thing I will miss most this year in not having a fair will be the community that it brings together. No matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you do, our fair brings people together, offering something for everyone,” said Bair.

“I’m going to miss seeing the community gather every night to support each other,” said Weaver. “Whether they are buying some chicken tenders from Snyder’s Concessions or walking through the buildings and barns to see artwork or livestock, they support the community which is truly what the Grange Fair is about — community.”

Although they will be busy with their studies, both Bair and Weaver have big plans for their roles over the next year. Bair plans to make the most of her second year as queen.

“I am so thankful for this opportunity I have to serve as queen for a second year. There are several goals that I plan to accomplish. … When I am back home during December and May through August, it is my goal to attend as many events in our community as I possibly can, from Christmas activities to children’s carnivals, parades, other fairs and more,” said Bair. “In addition to all of this, I have planned several ways to engage the public, despite there being no fair this year. I am currently working on turning my state fair queen competition speech, ‘Why Come to My Fair,’ into a children’s book. I have a few video projects I would like to do that will help to educate others on the importance of agriculture, along with some that will highlight our past fair queens. I know that with hard work, nothing can stop us from representing our amazing fair and the incredible importance of agriculture in each of our lives.”

And although she will miss this year’s fair, Weaver said she cannot wait until next year when she feels the fair will only come back stronger.

“When everyone gathers (next year) it will be like this big family reunion, bigger than other years,” she said. “The smiles on each other’s faces and the joy in the children’s voices as they’re doing the chicken dance and playing on the playground. The vendors will be rewarded also by seeing the excitement on the visitors’ faces as they bite into that fair food we’ve all been waiting what seems like a decade for. It’s these little moments and memories that will make next year’s fair the most rewarding yet.”

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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