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Fair queen, court discuss their goals
Saturday, August 6, 2011
By Jane Elling Staff Writer
The 2011 Clearfield County fair queen, Melanie Swartz, and her court, Misti Bruner, Chelsea Folmar, Victoria Garner and Kristi Rindosh, have spent fair week carrying out the duties of promoting the 151st Clearfield County Fair for the Park and Fair Board. This includes introducing grandstand acts and those on the David H. Litz Grove Stage plus greeting fairgoers.
But, Fair Queen Committee Chairman Bob Swales says the queen and her court are not just here for fair week.
Now they are looking forward to a year of achieving their goals and focusing on one of their most important activities, raising funds for the Queens for Kids program that benefit the Janet Weis Pediatric Hospital through the Geisinger System's Children's Miracle Network. Since the project began in 2001, the Fair Queen Committee has been the largest donor of funds and in June the total was $120,000.
During an interview with The Progress on Wednesday at the Queen's Office in the Expo II Building, Swartz and her court talked about what they hope to accomplish this year.
Swartz, 19, of Ginter is a sophomore at Penn State DuBois studying to be a physical therapy assistant. She was second runner-up in the 2010 contest, where she said she attended every event. She talked about the activities during the first days of the 2011 fair, being part of Monday's fair parade, where each young lady had a separate vehicle, dancing on stage to the music of Bad Daz, the watermelon-eating contest, then looking forward to the rest of the year with the great girls in her court. She said she expects to achieve a lot.
Each one was asked if they have any specific ideas. Swartz would like to see them sponsor a car show that could then become an annual event and be held in different places in the county.
She will receive a lamb in the spring from former state Secretary of Agriculture Sam Hayes that will be shown at the 2012 fair and sold at the 4-H/FFA Junior Livestock Auction. Proceeds are equally split between the 4-H/FFA Scholarship Fund and the Queens for Kids program.
Swartz has two older sisters and a nephew, Ethan, 4, who says "Hi, Mel" and listened to her speech many times when she practiced.
Swales said, "Strong family support is important and makes the program stronger."
First runner-up Misti Bruner, 19, of Curwensville is a freshman at Clearfield County Career and Technology Center studying culinary arts. She does this in memory of her grandmother, Linda Marie Fenton, who taught her how to bake. Her personal goal is to open her own bakery. She said she will help Swartz to achieve her goals and one of hers is to have music and art days in area schools where there have been cuts in subsidies and the young ladies would go in and help.
Bruner has two older and two younger brothers, plus two younger sisters who were excited about her winning. Her sister, Justice made signs and helped her go over her speech and correct her.
Chelsea Folmar, 16, of Luthersburg is a junior at DuBois Area High School and is an active member of 4-H and Girl Scouts and is active in sports. She hopes in the future to be a veterinarian.
She has three horses, including one she has raised since he was 2 years old, and Apollo, an American Quarterhorse, is now 5.
Folmart wants to help with the agriculture part of the fair and learn and help Swartz. She said her idea for raising funds is giving pony rides and have a day when the youth and local farmers could come and meet the queen.
Her sister, Cassandra, 12, is excited about the contest and made matching T-shirts complete with a crown for her and her sister.
Top 5 finalist Victoria Garner, 17, of LaJose is a senior and is home-schooled. She plans to attend DuBois Business College to take political science and Web design courses.
She has been active in Clearfield County 4-H Hot Shots and invited her fellow court members and Swartz to attend the Nov. 20 event.
She plans to assist Swartz with future events such as the Music Fund Fest and the pancake breakfast that will be held Nov. 12 in the Expo II Building. She said she wants to get experience so she can compete in the 2012 contest.
Top 5 finalist Kristi Rindosh of DuBois is a freshman at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and plans to pursue a career in special education as a teacher. During the interview she talked about her interest in working with Special Olympics students as a counselor at Camp Confidence at Camp Mountain Run. She wants to raise awareness of their needs.
In addition, she wants to get more experience in agriculture and suggests that as the queen and her court are working at various events to raise money they set a specific goal for the amount.
Swales listed the many activities that are already planned beginning with the Aug. 13 car show at the Super 322 Drive-In Theatre at Woodland, where they will sell 50-50s and receive the proceeds.
On Aug. 14 at Altoona, along with the Children's Miracle Network staff, they will talk with children before the ball game and be introduced. Halee Kephart, 2010 fair queen, will represent them at Clearfield Day.
Every month there are additional events that will be announced including the annual Fund Fest and Pittsburgh Steelers game. In November and December, Swartz will begin to focus on the state convention, where she will compete for the title of Pennsylvania State Fair Queen.

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