Ogle County fair royalty crowned after hiatus from pandemic

Miss, Jr. Miss, Young Miss, and Little Mr. and Miss chosen despite the heat, humidity

OREGON - Ninety-degree temps combined with 96 percent humidity may have been “no sweat” for the 40-some contestants at the 2021 Miss Ogle County Pageant, but it was a steamy Wednesday night for the 150+ crowd that sat through the 5-hour event.

“We all are tired of the ‘P’ word and I don’t mean ‘pageant’, ” quipped Pageant Director Michelle Jozefowicz late Wednesday night as she spoke before the 2021 Miss Ogle County was crowned.

Jozefowicz, a teacher in the Meridian School District, said once it was learned that there would not be a state pageant or state fair in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision was made to keep the 2019 Ogle County royal court for another year.

“We decided to pause everything for our current court. But once it was past us we moved forward with hope of what would be,” Jozefowicz said. “My school year got even crazier, more bizarre than what I ever thought possible, but we came through on the other side and here we are.”

Jozefowicz praised the Ogle County Fair Board for fighting through a difficult year that also included the sudden death of longtime fair president Harlan Holm. The Oregon farmer and ardent volunteer for the fair passed away last fall.

“We had a huge loss this year in losing Harlan,” said Jozefowicz who asked for a moment of silence for Holm. “It was a shock and left a huge hole in the fair family.”

Outgoing 2019 Miss Ogle County Adrianna Costa of Byron said it had been an honor to represent the county for 2 years.

“Thank you for letting me be your queen for 2 years,” said Costa.

The event started at 5:30 p.m. and ran until 10:15 p.m.

Little Mr. and Little Miss were the first winners announced with Little Miss going to Alayna Doane, 8, of Monroe Center and Little Mr. to Luke Gehrke, 7, of Byron,

Both Doane and Gehrke had to remove their cowboy hats before being crowned.

Young Miss was Addison Dakota and Junior Miss was Ruby Melvaney, 15, of Stillman Valley.

Emma Thurow, 18, of Davis Junction, was named 2021 Miss Ogle County and Daysha McLain, 20, of Oregon, was named runner up.

Contestants ranged in age from 5-21. The pageant mimics the Miss Illinois Queen Pageant where the 2021 Miss Ogle County will compete for the title of Miss Illinois County Fair Queen.

The “Queen” is judged on the following: personal interview with the judges; 1-minute speech; physical fitness; on-stage questions; and evening gown stage performance.

The pageant, along with carnival rides, and tractor pull, kicked off the 5-day fair. Upcoming events include 4-H livestock judging, a pro-stock tractor pull on Thursday night, a rodeo on Friday night, a demolition derby on Saturday night and a horse show on Sunday.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.