Not the typical beauty pageant, the fair queen is chosen from several factors.
“It’s based on activities, poise and posture, character and how you’re going to promote the fair, and how involved with the community,” said Lynn Harting, Jessica’s mother.
Perhaps unapparent because of her skill at reading lips, Jessica is deaf, a disability that doesn’t diminish her poise or her ability to take part in 4-H and school activities.
Jessica is a state 4-H ambassador, a member of the state fashion board, she shows lambs and goats, sews and cooks, is president of her 4-H club and vice president of the junior fair board.
Jessica is also captain of Notre Dame’s cheer squad, captain of the tennis team and a member of the varsity swim team.
Jessica will be a senior at Notre Dame High School this fall. She is 17, but 4-H counts her as 16 because of the age she was on Jan. 1 for the new 4-H year.
“While the fair is going on she goes to all the shows and all the concerts,” Harting said. “And to give awards to all the winners at the fair.”
In addition to the Scioto County Fair, the fair queen travels to other events, representing Scioto County.
“I go to fairs around the state, and festivals like River Days,” Jessica said.
Every day at the county fair is a busy day for the queen.
“Today, there’s the lamb show, and then the pet show, and the rabbit show. And then the goat show this afternoon, and then the concert,” Harting said, describing Tuesday’s activities, which her daughter must attend as fair queen.
Although Jessica’s hearing impairment does present her with challenges, she has learned to cope and does not let it keep her from doing the things she loves or from communicating with others.
“Basically, I try to pay attention to everything everybody says around me. If I think I am missing something I just ask them to repeat themselves,” Jessica said.
“Every day is a struggle, but she works very hard,” Harting said. “We’re very proud.”
Jessica is very happy about being crowned the Scioto County Fair queen.
“I’m very excited about it!” Jessica said. “I’m very proud of myself. I want to continue to be as active as I am now (in 4-H) for another two years.”
HEATHER DUMAS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org.