Jackson County Fair queen set for state pageant Sunday

The 2022 Indiana State Fair queen pageant will be unique in that winners of the 2020 and 2021 county fairs will compete.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in some counties choosing to cancel their fair and just offer 4-H competition two years ago. That included Jackson County.

Last year, the county fairs returned, including Jackson County.

That’s when Kylee Wischmeier, a Crothersville resident who graduated from Brownstown Central High School in 2020 and was a 10-year 4-H’er, was chosen queen from the 17 contestants. She was sponsored by Spirited Young Farmers.

The pandemic still impacted this year’s state pageant, as organizers opted to have the 110 contestants do interviews and 1-minute prepared speeches for a panel of judges virtually in January.

Back in person Sunday, the rest of the contest will be conducted at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis.

Preliminary judging of professional wear and formal wear will start at 1 p.m., and then top 16 semifinalists will be announced. At 6:30 p.m., they will compete again in professional wear, prepared speech and formal wear before the crowning of Miss Indiana State Fair 2022.

“I’m excited,” Wischmeier, 20, said. “I’m ready to meet the other girls. We’ve been in communication. We have a group chat, and we talk about how excited we are and things we’re nervous about, how we’re preparing, things like that. I was most nervous about my interview, but I have that out of the way now, so I’m just excited to go up there.”

During the virtual meeting in January, Wischmeier said the contestants shared information about themselves and why they would want to be the state fair queen.

For her 1-minute speech, she shared some history of Jackson County, including the round barns, Medora Covered Bridge, Reno brothers train robbery, Katie Stam being crowned Miss America in 2009 and Seymour native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp attending last year’s county fair queen pageant.

“I was glad that we were able to still meet and have our interviews,” Wischmeier said. “It was a little different. We were supposed to have 1-minute interviews in person, but since it was online, we ended up having a panel, so that was a little different. I would say it was kind of challenging to read body language and things of that nature just because they were so far away. The conversation was really good, and it went well overall. I was confident.”

Since then, Wischmeier has picked out her dress for formal wear and business attire professional wear.

She’s ready to compete.

“I think they’re just looking for an overall well-rounded individual, someone who is confident and can communicate well with others,” she said. “As the Indiana State Fair queen, you are the face of the state fair, so you have big shoes to fill. I’m hopeful, I’m excited and I’m honored to represent Jackson County.”

She said it will help to have her family, including parents Tim and Kandy Wischmeier and sisters Kelsey Jo and Kassidy Wischmeier, and members of the county fair queen pageant committee in the stands.

“I’ve gotten so much community support throughout this whole experience, and I’ve met so many new people, so it’s really awesome knowing that I have so many people supporting me,” she said. “It really encourages me to try my best.”

Wischmeier plans to graduate from Indiana University Southeast with a degree in psychology in May. Then she will begin the teaching program called Teachers of Tomorrow.

If you go 

What: 2022 Indiana State Fair queen pageant

When: Sunday (1 p.m. preliminary judging; 6:30 p.m. finals)

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

Who: 110 contestants (winners of 2020 and 2021 county fair queen pageants), including 2021 Jackson County Fair Queen Kylee Wischmeier

Tickets: $15 (free for ages 5 and under); purchase at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office or online at ticketmaster.com/event/05005C5C3F6F7704

Parking: $10 per vehicle per visit

Seating: General admission