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Maria Hoover named Franklin County Fair Queen

August 20, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Maria Hoover will have to get used to the weight of a tiara on her head - quickly.

The 17-year-old Greencastle, Pa., resident was crowned Miss Franklin County Fair Queen Monday night, but as part of her new duties she will be back at the fairgrounds most days this week, announcing performances on the midway stage and handing out ribbons at the dairy judging, said Tiffany Stahl, Fair Queen adviser, and the 1997 Franklin County Fair Queen.

Hoover was also named Miss Photogenic just prior to being announced this year's Fair Queen.

"I'm thrilled. I couldn't believe it. It was a surprise when they called my name for Miss Photogenic, and then for Miss Franklin County Fair, it was, 'wow,'" she said shortly after being crowned.

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Six county residents between the ages of 16 and 20 competed in the annual contest Monday.

Erin Showalter, 17, of Waynesboro, Pa., was named runner-up, and Amanda Timmons, 17, of Chambersburg, Pa., was selected as the alternate.

Also competing were Ruthie Dell, 16, of Shippensburg, Pa., Melissa Rodgers, 17, of Chambersburg, and Shannon Rendel, 17, of Greencastle.

The competition began with each girl giving private speeches to the judges about what fairs and farm shows mean to the community, and how as fair queen she would promote agriculture, Stahl said.

The public portion of the pageant kicked off at 8 p.m. with a patriotic number. "God Bless America" was the theme, and the girls wore red, white or blue evening gowns.

The contestants answered impromptu questions in front of an audience of about 200 people at the fairgrounds, and were judged by a three-person panel on poise, speaking ability and other criteria.

Hoover was asked what is the greatest gift: Faith, hope or love.

"Love is most important because if you love your neighbor, they will love you, too. Also, God loves us and that's why we are here today," said Hoover, who is a senior at Greencastle-Antrim High School and active in the band, choir and drama club.

In addition to her responsibilities at the fair for the remainder of the week, Hoover will also appear throughout the year in local parades, and she will compete in the state pageant for the title of Miss Pennsylvania Fair Queen in Hershey, Pa., in January.

The Franklin County Fair Queen crowning is a staple of the fair.

"It's been around forever and ever, probably as long as the fair," Stahl said.

The fair opened Sunday at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club off of Pa. 995 near Williamson and continues through Saturday.

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