Chelsea Hancock "parks" herself as first Ski and Snowboard Club Fair Queen

As finalists came forth to share what they would improve about the West Lampeter Fair, most said something about broadening its scope or trying to engage a greater audience. Chelsea Hancock declared that the parking situation was "nerve wracking". And a few minutes later -- minutes that were probably nerve-wracking for those contestants involved -- Hancock, who represented the Ski and Snowboard Club as its first ever nominee, was named the 2015 West Lampeter Fair Queen.

"I'm a little teary," she says just after the result was announced. "It feels amazing. I can't wait to embark on this journey."

A fleet of convertibles arrived to
transport the candidates in the parade
The journey of the evening began over three hours before its conclusion, when candidates assembled in the faculty parking lot to form for the parade to the fairgrounds. Much to the delight of Mrs. Tina Shockey, Fair Queen coordinator, all 11 candidates arrived on time, the first that has happened in her five years.

"Don't be late," she says in regards to her top priority for the evening.

As candidates arrived, each tried to mask obvious nerves with the poise on which they would soon be judged for demonstrating. Their escorts also tried to project an image that they were unaffected by the emotions of the evening, but each clearly embodied nervous undertones.

The only ones not nervous were the club members who came to throw candy in the parade. They were ready to have fun.

And they did. At 7:00 PM, the parade left the faculty parking lot, and proceeded to the fairgrounds, with each candidate sitting atop a convertible, waving to the crowd.
Retired L-S teacher Matt Cooper was MC

The candidates processed along the parade route (see previous coverage) and into the show ring, where they formed a line, and one at a time, were introduced by Mr. Matthew Cooper, a recently retired L-S teacher who served as the Master of Ceremonies.

Each candidate proceeded to introduce herself, explaining her goals in the contest as well as some information about her club. Notably, Sam Ingram -- who represented the L-S Thespian Society -- shared that her mother had competed in the Fair Queen contest when she was in high school, and that the pair wore the same outfit. It was a moment of endearment, and the audience reacted with a hearty chorus of applause.

After the opening statements, Mr. Cooper asked each candidate an impromptu question; although each question was different, all had a common congruence in that they all gave candidates the opportunity to elaborate on their favorite parts of the fair. Most candidates spoke of tradition, including Megan Doolittle, who commented that it is "great to bring the community together", as it has been for all 91 years of the fair's history.
Brittany Balmer gave a speech about fairs

Once each candidate had answered an impromptu question, they left the stage while judges tabulated the results. Meanwhile, Brittany Balmer, the 2015 PA State Fair Queen Alternate and a judge for the 2015 West Lampeter Fair Queen contest, delivered a speech on the importance of patronizing local fairs. Then, Mr. Cooper announced that Hailey Rohrer, Maggie Johnson, Chelsea Hancock, Delaney Baker, and Sarah Rhineer comprised the finalists, and would return to the stage to answer another question.

For the second round, each candidate answered the same question: if able to improve a certain aspect of the fair, what would it be and why. Rohrer suggested the Fair should be longer in length to allow for greater participation. Johnson opined that its scope needs to be broadened to include people from surrounding counties in order to facilitate a true community feel. Hancock -- after those two serious answers -- quipped that parking was of major concern to her, and that she found it "nerve-wracking" as a newly licensed driver to park in the field. She went on to commend the community feel of the Fair. Baker argued for the need of more student involvement from high school students. Finally, Rhineer opined that more activities for children that are not "boring" would be in order.

External Video: Chelsea Hancock humorously discusses the "nerve-wracking" parking situation.

Thereafter, Sarah Sambrick, the 2014 Fair Queen, gave her farewell address, in which she said that she has thoroughly enjoyed the last year, and that anyone on stage would make a great successor.
The announcement of the winner and runner-up

Ultimately, that successor was Hancock, who looked stunned upon the announcement. Before, Baker -- one of just two junior in the contest -- had a similar reaction to being named runner-up.

Hancock, the senior class president and the Ski and Snowboard Club's first Fair Queen nominee, earned $50 for her club, $100 for herself, as well as a $500 scholarship. Baker earned $35 for her club, $50 for herself, as well as a $250 scholarship. All other candidates received $25 for themselves, and $20 for their clubs.
The finalists: from L - Hailey Rohrer, Runner Up Delaney Baker, 2014 Fair Queen Sarah Sambrick,
Fair Queen Chelsea Hancock, Sarah Rhineer, and Maggie Johnson

The Fair Queen contest remains a remarkable tradition at the West Lampeter Fair, which incidentally received laud from each of the candidates for maintaining that very commitment to honoring the tradition that made it what it is today.

Additional Content

VIDEO: YouTube playlist of introductory speeches and answers to impromptu question from winner and runner-up, as well as farewell speech of Sarah Sambrick, and announcement of the winner.

PHOTOS: Picasa gallery featuring the photos of Co-Director of Photography Ashley Crutcher and Local Editor Alyssa Van Lenten.

--Benjamin Pontz, Editor-In-Chief and Alyssa Van Lenten, Local Editor; Photos by Benjamin Pontz

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