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Royalty on parade at Fulton County Fair

August 23, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - Like the passing of the crown, wisdom also is imparted from one Fair Queen to another.

"This will be the most exciting year of your life, trust me," 2005 Fulton County Fair Queen Kayla Wright said to her successor. But it was with a sigh that Wright offers these words of wisdom to 2006 Fair Queen Carrie Swope.

Carrie, of Harrisonville, Pa., who is a student at McConnellsburg High School, accepted the crown on Sunday night to become the 2006 Fair Queen for Fulton County. Like other county fair queens, Carrie's life has become a whirlwind since the crown touched her long brown hair.

"This didn't hit me until I got home that night," she admitted.

The 16-year-old counted on her fingers while she listed the tasks she has to perform as queen of the Fulton County Fair, among them, competing at the state competition in January. She also admits that in the last few days she has barely glanced at the materials for the state contest.

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"I have to be at all the fair events this week, so I've been busy," she said. "Like next, I hand ribbons to the hogs."

As Carrie focuses on the week ahead, Wright counseled her on preparing for the state contest.

"Revamp your speech, learn your Fair board, and research Fulton County's main agricultural product," Wright instructed. "But remember that this is not a beauty pageant."

The two Fair Queens, Carrie and Wright, met for the first time outside of the contest on Tuesday evening for the first Fulton County Fair Little Miss Fair Queen contest. The contest was the work of Wright.

"I thought it would be cute to have a little girl follow me around all year," Wright said. "But I was told that we didn't have one (Little Miss Fair Queen), so I created the contest."

Judges on Tuesday chose 6-year-old Ariel Mellott of Warfordsburg, Pa., to be the first Little Miss Fair Queen for Fulton County. Like Carrie, Ariel was excited by the honor, so excited she could not stand still.

"I am happy," she said as she bounced around the stage. "And my mommy is surprised."

Both Carrie and Ariel consider their new titles to be honors.

"This is an honor and a privilege," Carrie said. "I just hope I can represent Fulton County well."

For Ariel, the honor is a little different. "I can't wait to ride in the parade," she says.

Both queens will hand out ribbons at Fair events all week.

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