Lauran Bailey was crowned 2021 Champaign County Fair Queen during the grandstand ceremony on Sunday.
The title of first runner-up was given to Mallory Blakeman and Kaylynn Wilhelm received second runner-up.
The daughter of Tony and Amy Bailey, Lauran will be a senior at Graham High School.
Being nervous beforehand, Lauran was shocked and relieved to hear her name announced as queen, stating she never believed she could win.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity,” said Lauran. “I really can’t wait to represent Champaign County not only here, but at other fairs. This is a great feeling.”
Speaking from experience, she explained the importance of learning and trying new ideas even when intimidated.
“Try something new,” she encouraged. “I have tried so many different species and I have had fun with everything. I tried this queen competition and it has really worked out great for me.”
Lauran’s favorite fair memory was the year she competed against her brother in swine showmanship. She remembers they worked as a team, anticipating either one’s win a success. “He ended up beating me, but I was still really proud of him,” she said.
“Swine is my favorite,” she said. “I am really competitive, so I have always had fun being in the competition.”
Lauran is appreciative of the Vernon Funeral Homes staff, her family and friends for making the competition possible.
“They have done so much for us, I couldn’t be here today without them,” she said.
“This feels unreal,” said first runner-up Blakeman, “I never expected this to happen, I did not think I could do it. It took a lot of self-confidence and practice.”
The daughter of Brian Scott and Kelly Blakeman, she is a 2021 Mechanicsburg High School graduate.
Blakeman said that through the competition, she was able to meet new people and make new friends. She said that her journey last year was tough due to COVID-19 and is grateful that restrictions have been lifted.
“The hardest part was when our show rings were blocked off and no one could come to the shows. It was hard. Because of my supporters, I have been able to make the most of my time here.”
Blakeman said her biggest role model is her sister. “She has autism and has taught me to live every moment to the fullest,” she said.
Second runner-up Wilhelm, living in Clark County, said, “Being out of town has been hard, I was born and raised in Champaign County. everyone has been so welcoming and nice to me.”
Wilhelm said Lora Current has been her inspiration, watching her become Champaign County Fair Queen, Ohio’s Fair Queen and current Miss Ohio.
“Even if you’re from a small town,” said Wilhelm, “you can still do big things.”
Daughter of Debra and Bobby McClure and Chris Wilhelm, she will be a senior at Greenon High School.
2020 Champaign County Fair Queen McKenzie Hoewischer
Hoewischer gave words of encouragement as she passed the title of Champaign County Fair Queen to Bailey.
“It feels great to be here after what we went through last year,” said Hoewischer. “The greatest thing I have learned this year is to make the most out of every situation. COVID put a big halt on our lives. My excitement for having a full fair this year is through the roof. Even though I have had a very different experience than most past queens because of COVID, it has made me more motivated to make the most out of every event and fair I visited. ”