Jackson County Fair queen set for this weekend’s state competition


With the experiences of being the 2018 Jackson County Fair queen behind her, Emma Zabor has her eyes on the next prize.

This weekend, she is competing in the 2019 Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant at Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

On Friday, she went through the interview portion of the contest. Today, all of the county fair queens will do formal wear and professional wear modeling and give a one-minute speech.

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Then Sunday, they will all gather again in hopes of being one of 16 competing in the finals.

No matter what happens this weekend, Zabor, 18, of Seymour said she is going to make the most of the experience.

“Just getting to spend the whole three days with (the other) contestants, it’s not often that you get to hang out with that many girls from that many different areas of the state at one time, so I think it’s going to be cool to see how they are taking on the entire experience and maybe building some new friendships,” the 2018 Brownstown Central High School graduate said.

Zabor said half of the points come from Friday’s interview. To prepare, she said she went through interview questions so she could focus on giving a good answer.

“It’s different because you can’t know what they are going to ask, so you just kind of have to take a guess and gamble of what you need to refresh in your mind, ‘How should I answer that?’” she said. “Throughout high school and job interviews, I had a great opportunity to have been through a few interviews, so I understand whatever question is thrown at me, I will be able to articulate an answer.”

Today’s preliminary judging at 5 p.m. and Sunday’s finals are open to the public. General admission tickets are $10 for ages 6 and older and free for ages 5 and under. There is an $8 charge for parking.

To prepare for those portions of the competition, Zabor said she spent time practicing her speech and picking out the perfect dress and outfit.

She hopes all of her efforts pay off and she makes the finals.

“I think it will take confidence and poise and just showing the judges who I truly am,” she said. “I just have to keep myself grounded and know that I’m basically doing the same thing I did in the county. It’s obviously a bigger audience, but if I keep myself poised and just go out there and show the judges what I can do, then I will do well.”

Zabor said she is grateful for the support of her family, including parents Greg and Susan Zabor and sister Ellen Zabor; Brandy Hampton, who helped get her dresses; 2017 Jackson County Fair queen Brycelyn Ruddick for helping in a variety of ways; and Mariah Eggersman, Jeanette Hackman and Fayeann Hurley, who run the county fair queen contest.

Getting to see the Jackson County Fair from a different perspective last summer was a highlight for Zabor.

She said the grandstand activities were her favorite part. That included the demolition derby, where she had fun watching the kids compete in the Power Wheels division before the large vehicles took center stage.

“I had never been to an actual demolition derby. It was really exciting,” Zabor said, adding that she and the three members of her court talked about getting their own minivans and entering the competition this year.

She also said it was fun spending all hours of the day at the fairgrounds.

“Walking around the fair during the day, it’s just kind of eye-opening to see all of the people that are still there during the day,” she said. “Walking through a barn, you see how dedicated people are to their farm animals. By being fair queen, I was able to be there and see that.”

The week involved early mornings and long nights, but Zabor said it was rewarding and honoring.

“It was rewarding to be able to be at the fair so much and see so many different aspects of it that I hadn’t even dedicated time to see in previous years of my life,” she said. “It was also honoring to wear your sash and crown and walk around with the other three (on her court) and representing the county.”

Zabor and her court also participated in parades during the Seymour Oktoberfest and Fort Vallonia Days in October. She said it was her first time attending Fort Vallonia Days.

Zabor now attends the University of Indianapolis, where she is studying psychology and sociology with plans to join the pre-occupational therapy program.

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What: 2019 Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant

When: 5 p.m. today (public preliminary judging; doors open at 3 p.m.) and 1 p.m. Sunday (finals; doors open at 11 a.m.)

Where: Indiana Farmers Coliseum, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis

Cost: General admission tickets are $10 for ages 6 and older and free for ages 5 and under; $8 for parking

Information: 317-927-7601


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