Madison Kovach, 17, daughter of Jeff and Renee Kovach of Jefferson, can't say enough good things about the adventures she's enjoyed after becoming the 2018 Greene County Fair Queen.
"I wish I could be queen for another year because it was such a rewarding experience," she said.
Kovach said no longer being queen will be a big change, largely because she won't have so many events to attend. Since winning the crown, she said she's attended close to 50 events representing the fair, including fairs, festivals, car shows and parades.
Her royal duties over the past year included going to all the agriculture shows and handing out ribbons to the winners. At the Demolition Derby, she introduced herself and welcomed everyone to the event. She also met with different state representatives who came to the fair.
As to why she wanted to run for queen, she answered the judge's question saying her best friend, Julie Policz, was queen the year before her and that her journey as queen influenced her in that she wanted to have the same experience.
"I feel the fair, which has an agricultural base, provides income for farmers and vendors," she said. "It's also a lot like a reunion in that it gives folks the opportunity to meet up with others they haven't seen in a while."
To qualify for the title, she had to write an essay on what the fair means to her community and give a speech on the same subject.
Part of the competition also involved an interview with the judge who asked her about her agricultural and farm activities, why she wanted to run for queen and how she would use her title to promote the queen program and 4-H clubs.
As secretary for the local 4-H rabbit club, she's been raising New Zealands to sell at auction for meat and Mini Rexes because she likes how soft their fur is. Now in her 8th year raising rabbits, she currently cares for 30 rabbits on her family's 13.2 acre farm. She was also a former 4-H horse club member until the club disbanded, but she continues to care for two horses on her family farm.
Her least favorite thing was traveling by car to all the different events she attended over the past year. Kovach said her favorite thing about being queen was going out into the public and seeing all the little kids think she was a princess.
"It made me feel good about myself and feel that I'd accomplished something," she said.
Besides being presented with a crown and sash, she also received a gift basket of items collected from the community by the previous fair queen.
When the new queen is crowned at this year's fair, Kovach will give a farewell speech, then place the crown on one of three candidates vying for the title.
This fall, she will be a senior at Jefferson-Morgan High School,. After graduating, Kovach plans to attend the University of South Carolina, one of her favorite places, to study early childhood education.
"I always wanted to be a teacher ever since my younger sister Grace was born," Kovach said. "(I) always seem to connect well with little kids."